Deer Bone Stock

Roy was hunting over on the outer coast north of Sitka on his annual trip. Since I wasn’t getting many deer in, I asked him to save me any leg bones they weren’t going to use, so I could make stock. He dropped an 80 lb fish box off of nice leg bones early this morning when the ferry stopped in Juneau on its way to Haines. The hunters left me extra meat in places like the shanks, and that’s even better. I looked around on the internet for recipes and found many for making the broth, but not many on how to prepare the bones before roasting. I went to the garage and saw my loppers on the wall. They are Fiskars something like the photo.

That was just the ticket. They cut right through the bones. I’ve tried cutting slippery bones with a meat saw or reciprocating saw, and it’s not easy – especially by yourself. Plus, the loppers don’t create the bone dust the saw does.

For the front leg, I cut through the shoulder blade where it meets the shoulder joint, being sure to actually cut through the end of the flat shoulder blade itself to expose the marrow. Then I cut the other bones on either side of the joints to expose the marrow.

This quickly reduced the volume of space taken up by the bones. I loaded a roasting pan with the bone pieces and roasted them in the oven for an hour at 400 degrees. After roasting, I loaded the bones into my 2 large canning pots. I filled the pots with water, brought the water about to a boil on the stove, and transferred the pots to the wood stove to simmer for the day.

By 2:30 pm, the stock looked about right, so I poured it into other pots to cool. I saw that the bones still had plenty of marrow in the bones and meat and collagen on the bones, so I refilled the pots and put it on the stove to simmer again. We left for Thanksgiving dinner at Jeff and Teri’s. When we got home about 8:30 pm, I skimmed off the hardened fat that had cooled on the surface of the first batch of stock, then poured the stock through a wire strainer. I packed the stock into Costco nut jars, which held about 8 cups of broth each, and put the jars in the freezer.

The second batch I did the next day  I pulled the bones out of the pot one at a time and pulled any remaining meat off and shook out any remaining marrow. After all the bones were out of the pots, I strained out the meat and put the stock out to cool. I filled up the pots again with water to float any remaining fat and put them on the wood stove. In the evening,

In the evening, I pulled off the layer of fat on the stock and left it overnight. It was about freezing that night, and the next morning the stock had jelled. Was this right, I thought?  I looked it up online and found out – that’s what’s supposed to happen. I guess I never fully refrigerated any before pouring it into jars for the freezer to see this before. Since the stock was now like jello, it was very easy to spoon it into bags and vac pack. That worked great.

For the meat, I drained about 2/3 of it, and then vac packed several pounds of it into bags for the freezer. It looked just like “pulled pork” meat. With the rest, I made soup. I took out all the leftovers from the past week’s meals that had lots of fresh and cooked vegetables as my vegetarian niece was here. And, we had lots of sweet potatoes left over from Thanksgiving dinner. I put all these in the pot with the meat and stock water, heated it, and then put the mixture in the blender for a cream soup.  That should do us for lunch and some dinners for the coming week.

Lots of work and lots of food just for the asking.

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