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Old 07-28-2013, 06:45 AM   #1
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Can you buy chicken bones (for broth) ?

I like to make bone broth frequently, but we just don't eat enough chickens to have a steady supply of bones. Is it possible to buy just bones, and if so, would supermarket meat departments have them? (Turkey bones would be even better, but turkey seems to be available only seasonally.) Has anyone done this? Thanks.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:36 AM   #2
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I like to make bone broth frequently, but we just don't eat enough chickens to have a steady supply of bones. Is it possible to buy just bones, and if so, would supermarket meat departments have them? (Turkey bones would be even better, but turkey seems to be available only seasonally.) Has anyone done this? Thanks.
This is something I'd like to do, too. I've had to add store-bought broth into my diet because I need to take a break from all the chicken I was eating to get the bones. I keep meaning to ask at Costco if they'll sell me the bones from their roast chickens that they use the meat for other things.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:42 AM   #3
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I haven't made broth in awhile. I used to be able to find chicken backs at Publix. They were really cheap. Neck bones worked well also.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:43 AM   #4
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I have never seen chicken bones for sale.

Do you make stuff like chicken drumsticks or thighs? You can use those bones along with a few good beef bones.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:53 AM   #5
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Get wings and necks. They're practically all bone anyway.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:06 AM   #6
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I've never seen necks or backs for sale. I'd love to find thigh bones for sale, but they probably throw them away.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:25 AM   #7
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You don't have to make stock with just bones. You could buy cheap leg/thigh combos when on sale and use those.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:19 PM   #8
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I make stock frequently. Super easy to do.

Buy chicken thighs or leg quarters in an economical pack. I can get 8 quarters for about $7. $4-5 when they have them on sale.

Remove excess fat and skin but leaving some skin on for moisture.

Put all in crock pot and add herbs and salt/pepper, onions, carrots, celery what ever I happen to have on hand.

Cook for about 6-8 hours on low.

Pull chicken and put on tray. Debone chicken meat and set aside for a meal. I use the meat for enchiladas, soup or whatever I want. I have bags frozen for a future meal.

Put all bones back in crock pot broth and add 6 or so cups of water and any additional herbs or seasonings.

Cook all night on low.

In the morning I cool the stock and pour through a colander to separate the stock from the bones. Put stock in the fridge or cooler with ice. Scrape of the fat at the top and then use the stock how you see fit. My family loves my homemade soups. Since starting LC, I like to just drink the flavorful stock. I have been known to add extra boullion cubes for additional flavor.

I actually have some quarters in the fridge right now and will be adding them to my crock in the next little bit.

*stock is the term for the broth when made with the bones (Thanks Alton Brown for that tidbit )

Last edited by Mom2AandE; 07-28-2013 at 12:23 PM..
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:33 PM   #9
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I always just use the bones after I buy a rotisserie chicken or cook a turkey. That way the broth/stock doesn't cost me anything except the energy. I don't have a crock pot so I just simmer the bones in a large covered pot for about 12 hours. I don't want to cook the chicken that way because it cooks all the flavor out of the meat. Anyway, I thought if I could just buy the bones, that would be perfect.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:35 PM   #10
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You could just cook the leg quarters for about 45 minutes, then take the meat off and continue cooking the bones. That way you're not cooking the meat to death (lol) but you can still carry on with the broth.
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:43 PM   #11
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Note that "bone broth" is different from just broth. The main difference is that you simmer the bones for at least 20 hours for chicken bones, and several days for beef, etc. There are apparently some nutrients that only come out after that amount of time.

Every time I remove a bone (for example, when de-boning some chicken thighs), I throw the bones in a plastic bag in the fridge. I might cook a rib-eye with the bone on, but I'll cut it off before eating, and put it in the bag. When it's full, I make bone broth.

I've never seen chicken bones for sale. The "pet bones" at the store are more expensive than they should be.

Last edited by PianoAl; 07-28-2013 at 12:45 PM..
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:51 PM   #12
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Note that "bone broth" is different from just broth. The main difference is that you simmer the bones for at least 20 hours for chicken bones, and several days for beef, etc. There are apparently some nutrients that only come out after that amount of time.
My understanding is that it's also important to add a small amount of an acid, too. I always add a tablespoon of natural acv.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:55 PM   #13
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I used to buy chicken backs from whole foods for 99 cents a lb to make broth and chicken soup. It was the only organic chicken part I could afford! But there was usually just enough meat left on there to add to a chicken veggie soup.
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:22 PM   #14
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Yes, I know how to make bone broth and have made it many, many times.

Strawberry, thanks for the tip. Do you have to ask for the chicken backs at the meat counter or are they out in packages?
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:17 PM   #15
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Our local meat market sells beef bones that are already cut up in slices (I believe this allows more of the glucosamine, gelatin, etc. to leach out of the bones). They refer to them as "soup bones". If you could use beef instead of chicken you shouldn't have any trouble finding them. I believe you can also use the "knuckle bones" that people buy for their dogs. They are very inexpensive at the meat market.
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:34 PM   #16
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I make bone broths all the time - meaning, I've almost always got a pot of some kind brewing!

I buy the cheapest bone product I can find; I saw some (I know, it sounds gross!) fresh split pig tails at Walmart that made a delicious bone broth. I've also used oxtails (beef and the occasional pork ones I can find). I've used lamb shanks. I LOVE using the bones from beef rib roasts when they have the roasts on sale. The butcher will almost always sell me the trim bones AND throw in the trim fat (yum!) for next-to-nothing. I do occasionally use poultry necks or wings, but turkey wings are a bit too fatty for me, and makes work to skim it. Only part of it, but still. If you have a "real" butcher, not just the chain grocers, you can usually get them to put aside any "trim" or waste bones for you if you ask. Someone told me pig "trotters" and chicken feet make good broth... but I haven't worked up my nerve to that yet! I will use the carcass from rotisserie chickens or whole turkey roasts, too.

With any of these, I always roast the bones first. I season them very heavily, since I don't salt-and-pepper the broth while it's simmering. If the bones are very meaty, when they're tender, I take them out and scavenge the meat and make meat salads from it, then return the bones to the pot. Also, I find it makes a lot less work if I put all my veggie trimmings that I'm incorporating into a cheesecloth bag and tie it up. That makes it really easy to remove when the broth is "done." If I want veggies in it, I add fresher ones at the end.

I've also found a great storage resource: I buy disposable "souffle" cups from a restaurant supply. The ones I use are 5.5 ounce - just enough for a half-cup serving with a bit of head space. I put them in the freezer and can label them and always have a variety of different bone broths to pick from.

Almost as good as the broth itself is the marvelous perfume of its cooking! Between that and the bacon we cook at least once a week (the whole package, I mean!), the neighbors are always passing by like hounds on a scent with their noses in the air! LOL

Why would anyone choose *NOT* to eat this way?!?
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:09 PM   #17
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I save carcasses, necks etc. you can buy bags of frozen backs at WF, they are in the freezer section. Our organic farmer sells chicken feet which make great soup, but she also includes the heads and those gross me out!!! I made DH remove them.

In a pinch I buy a big package of wings. They are nice for soup, too.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:15 PM   #18
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Why would anyone choose *NOT* to eat this way?!?

Lazy/stupid/complacent/brainwashed ?
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Why would anyone choose *NOT* to eat this way?!?

Lazy/stupid/complacent/brainwashed ?
Well, there's also real life issues like working two jobs and not having the time to do a lot of cooking at home. Or not having the the money or equipment.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:10 PM   #20
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Thats the best part! Bone broth can be cooked overnight. Requires a pot, some water and cheap (often free) by-products and maybe a few spices. And SOOOOO good for you!
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:18 AM   #21
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I bought DH an electric pressure cooker for his birthday and it's an awesome soup machine. I throw the ingredients in, press the "soup" button, and in about an hour I have delicious, clear bone broth that tastes just like Mom's. (She always used a pressure cooker). Now I can make it any time without a lot of planning. I can even toss frozen chicken/bones in. It will take a little longer, but not much.

It was a bit pricey, but worth it.
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:56 AM   #22
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Some stores ship their meat in pre-packaged. The trick is to find a store that actually uses a meat dept butcher. I can't get bones at the 'modernized' stores near me, but the little family-owned non-chain grocers are happy to sell me chicken backs and beef bones. If I culd find a butcher who would sell me chicken skin, I might marry him.
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:57 AM   #23
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I get chicken carcasses through my 'natural' meat supplier. They are free range & organic and the beef bones are grass fed. I also save bones in the freezer until I am ready to make a batch of bone broth.

I reduce the broth and then freeze the broth that I am not using right away.

I have never tried this (intend to) but apparently one can use the oven to simmer the broth instead of the stove top.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:43 AM   #24
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I'm with you, emel! I've been searching and begging for chicken skin for a long time. I'm told the only place I might get any is through the original processing plant... and although I haven't tried to do that, I suspect it wouldn't be very productive. They probably sell that stuff for pet food or fertilizer or who-knows-what. Even if I could get any, I'd bet there would be some outrageous minimum quantity that probably only a restaurant would have the space to store!

I haven't given up, tho. I may have to see if there's some contact link on of the processors' sites.

If you find any, I'd love to know about it!

I'm contemplating-from-afar the concept of making bone broth from chicken feet. I just last weekend worked up the nerve to buy a big package of pig tails, and it's made a really amazing broth! I had also seen split pigs' feet, but I wasn't quite ready for that. I'm encouraged now though... I'm thinking of the wing tips that they typically trim off when making drummettes and flats, too. That should make nice soup/broth.

I tend not to want much meat in my broths, so I don't go for the meaty bones as much, but I am curious about the packs of livers and gizzards. I'm sure I wouldn't use them exclusively... but I think they might be good additions to broths, since organ meats like that are purported to have good nutritional benefits. Do any of you use these in your broths or soups?

Last edited by exotec; 07-31-2013 at 08:49 AM.. Reason: added commentary
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:24 AM   #25
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I have turkey necks in the crock pot right now, actually. I discovered that the Mexican grocer carries them. They are really cheap!

They aren't in a convenient location, so I buy a bunch and throw the in the freezer when I do go.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:40 AM   #26
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Try the local Hispanic or Asian supermarket. They often have chicken feet, backs, necks, etc. (I came home with goat meat yesterday, when I only went in for miso paste... I love trying new things)
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:34 PM   #27
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I saw a big pack of mixed chicken backs and necks for about $2.50. Looked like about 4 lbs so that was pretty cheap. I have enough for my next batch in the freezer, so I didn't buy it.

It was Food Lion.
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