What are Marrow Bones? How to cook the original Paleolithic Food
MARROW BONES - ON THE MENU SINCE PRE HISTORY!
Watch a pride of Lions or a pack of wolves devour their prey on National Geographic and you will notice they instinctively go straight for Marrow Rich Bones and Organ meats before muscle meat. This natural instinct is not an accidental quirk of Mother Nature, it is for a reason - long term survival!
Similarly, archeology and hand paintings from pre-history have shown us that Paleolithic man has been feasting on the nutrients, energy, and taste of Raw Bone Marrow for at least 400,000 years.
Despite falling out of fashion in recent decades due to the misjudged fear of ‘Fat making you Fat’ and the post war industrial-level production of cheap processed food, Marrow Bones are now thankfully back in demand!
So what makes Marrow Bones so special and coveted by man for so long and why the rise in popularity again?
In this Article, TruBeef will explore:
- What are Marrow Bones and where do they come from?
- What does Bone Marrow Taste Like?
- Is Bone Marrow Good for you?
- Why the recent popularity in Marrow Bones and Bone Broth?
- How to Cook Marrow Bones? 2 Basic Recipes.
- How to eat Bone Marrow?
- Where and How to Buy Marrow Bones?
- Difference between Broth Bones and Marrow Bones
- Why buy Marrow Bones from a clean organic grass-fed source?
- Marrow Bones for your dog.
WHAT ARE MARROW BONES AND WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
A Marrow Bone is the culinary and butchery term for either the Femur, Shank or Tibia bone of a steer that is cut for eating. As the Femur is the largest bone in the animal, it has the best Marrow to Bone ratio. As the Femur Bone is straight, this allows for easy and uniform cuts for Butchers and easy cooking fo the precious Marrow.
Image Credit: University Of Kentucky
WHAT IS BONE MARROW?
Image Credit: Dynamicscience.au
Bone Marrow is the soft spongy light yellow colored material found in the hollow central core of the Marrow Bone ‘Pipe’. The Pipe is a Butchers' term for the straight section of the bone where yellow marrow is most plentiful and the bone at its thinnest.
Yellow Bone marrow is high in fat and produces stem cells which in turn create mature red and white blood cells. Bone Marrow is the lifeblood of all mammals on earth.
WHAT DOES BONE MARROW TASTE LIKE?
- Bone Marrow has a rich, creamy, nutty flavor due to the high-fat content and a subtle umami beefy taste.
- Bone Marrow, when roasted, needs nothing more than salt and pepper for its taste to elevate
- Bone Marrow texture best described as a Thick Beefy Butter hence the nicknames “ Meat Butter” or “Butchers Butter”.
- Raw Bone Marrow will smell fresh and slightly sweet. When cooked, its aroma deepens considerably to that of roasted fatty beef.
- In true primal spirit, Bone Marrow is also eaten raw by many on a Paleo or Carnivore Diet in particular. In this case, Raw Bone Marrow has a clean fatty taste with a hint of meatiness.
WHY ARE MARROW BONES POPULAR AGAIN?
There are several factors for the resurgence of Marrow Bones including:
- The Taste. Bone Marrow is simply Delicious!
- Diet Changes. The popularity of high fat/protein diets and elimination diets such as the Paleolithic (Paleo), Carnivore Diet, Keto and AIP Diet.
- Social Media. Thought leaders in animal based / carnivore diet, exercise, and biohacking such as Dr. Paul Saladino, Ben Greenfield, Shawn Baker MD, and Dave Asprey have enlightened a new breed of consumers to the benefits of Marrow Bones and Bone Broth.
- Bone Broth and The Slow Cooker Revolution. Sales of Slow Cookers / Instapot have exploded in the past 5 years. Making homemade Bone Broth and with Marrow Bones and Neck Bones has never been easier, quicker, or more popular.
- The Rise of Organ Meats and Alternative Cuts. Consumers have begun to value alternative cuts of meat again as part of a more sustainable nose-to-tail approach to meat eating and are now enjoying Organ meats, Suet, and Marrow Bones just as our Great Grandparents did.
- Re-Connecting with Real Food. American consumers for many decades became disconnected and distant from real food. They are now much more educated on the pitfalls of the processed sugar and carbohydrate-intensive American diet. Consumers are simply becoming more open to real food again and embracing great food sources like Marrow Bones and nose-to-tail eating of Offal meats like Beef Liver for their health.
- Popularity of Nose to Tail eating. This has been a hgge factor in the resurgance of Marrow Bones as consumers are quickly becoming more aware of the health benefits, cost savings of eating nose to tail therefore things like bones are now back on peoples plates.
IS BONE MARROW GOOD FOR YOU?
Yes, especially if sourced from a clean Organic Grass-Fed and Grass-Finished source. Bone marrow is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, high in calories and satiating fat for clean energy.
Bone Marrow contains protein, collagen, and conjugated linoleic acid ( CLA) which have been shown to boost the immune system function, maintain bone density during aging and reduce inflamation. Glucosamine is another compound found in Marrow that is widely used and shown to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis, reduce joint inflammation and relieve joint pain.
The vital peptide Adiponectin is also found in Bone Marrow.
Adiponectin is widely used as a medical biomarker for increased risk of insulin resistance (IR), cardiovascular diseases, bone loss. It is stored in Bone Marrow yellow adipose tissue and it's key role in the body is to protect against insulin resistance and diabetes. Studies have shown low levels of Adiponectin levels play a central role in the development of Diabetes and Obesity.
Bone Marrow Macro Nutrition
Just one tablespoon (14 grams) of bone marrow provides
- Calories: 110
- Total fat: 12 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbobydrate: 0 grams
“Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food”
TOXIN ACCUMULATION IN MARROW BONES: THE IMPORTANCE OF AN ORGANIC SOURCE.
You are what your food eats! There is no denying this.
If the cattle that you get your Marrow bones from are being exposed to Glyphosphate, Artificial Fertilizers, Pesticides, Antibiotics, Hormones and/or Heavy Metals, these toxic substances will cross into and become stored in visceral fat, and bone marrow which is mostly adipose tisue (yellow fat).
Research has demonstrated toxic chemicals and heavy metals when injested or absorbed from the outside environment will lead to their bioaccumulation / storage in adipose tissue in bone marrow.
Consuming Bone Marrow , especially Raw Bone Marrow with accumulated and concentrated toxic material is far from ideal for obvious reasons.
More than ever before, it is vital to eat muscle meats, fats, offal meats and bone marrow from clean organic grass-fed and grass-finished cattle whose food is untainted by toxic chemicals.
HOW TO COOK MARROW BONES? 2 Basic Recipes
Cooking with Marrow Bones could not be more simple. You essentially have two super easy ways to prepare and enjoy a marrow bone recipe.
1. Roasting Method – As Easy as it gets!
- Place your cut Marrow Bones on a Roasting Tray.
- Sprinkle with coarse Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- Set Oven (or Air Fryer) to 450 F (232 C)
- Into the Oven or Air Fryer for 20 minutes until marrow is soft and brown in color. Enjoy!
TruBeef Tip - if you use an air fryer to roast Marrow Bones, place some aluminum foil at the bottom of the fryer tray to capture any tasty fat that renders out during cooking.
Slow Cooking Method for Bone Broth (and a common mistake)
Want to make the best tasting Organic Bone Broth?
Do you use Marrow Bones in a recipe for soup or as a base for stews?
You may be missing a trick! Most folks, place their cut Marrow Bones directly into their slow cooker, add water, some garlic, veggies, and kosher salt, then press the start button.
While this method is not wrong and you will still enjoy a nice rich bone broth ,you are missing out on some BIG extra flavors in your bone broth.
The secret to an incredible Bone Broth with deep natural beefy umami flavor notes is to roast the Marrow bones before you slow cook in liquid.
Roast the Marrow Bones in the oven or Air Fryer first for 20 mins then into the slow cooker with liquid. All that caramelized goodness in the roasted marrow and on the bones will carry over and enhance your Bone Broth flavors twofold.
So Just follow the Roasting Method above first then into the slow cooker. You will thank us later!
HOW AND WHERE TO BUY MARROW BONES?
When buying Marrow Bones, you will generally buy them as raw Marrow Bones, frozen, sold by the pound (lb) and pre-cut into two distinct shapes.
Cross Cut Raw Marrow Bones – the femur bone is simply chopped into 2” cross-sections along the pipe of the bone. These cross cut sections of Marrow Bone are then frozen to maintain freshness.
Canoe Cut Raw Marrow Bones – the femur bone gets split in half lengthways by a butchers saw in sections approximately 6” long. When the raw Marrow is cooked and scooped out, the remaining bone looks like a canoe, hence the name. Canoe Cut Marrow Bones are also generally sold frozen.
Cross Cut versus Canoe Cut Marrow Bones - Which is better?
Both ways end up with the very same tasty results. Cross Cut Marrow bones are perhaps quicker to cook, allow easy access to the precious marrow and give better portion control.
You Can Buy Good Quality Marrow Bones in the following locations:
- Wholefoods stock cross-cut frozen Marrow Bones from Grass-Fed Cattle (and sometimes Grass-Finished Organic)
- Trader Joe's does stock Marrow Bones on a seasonal and regional basis.
- Craft Butchers are a dying breed but if you live near one, they should be able to sell you Raw or Frozen Marrow Bones as cross-cut or canoe cuts.
- TruBeef Marrow Bones are an extremely clean choice. Verified Grass-Fed , Certified Organic and Non GMO Project Verified so you are sure of the highest possible standards.
What to look for:
Wether you buy marrow bones from a Butcher, a Grocery store or online, we strongly suggest you opt for bones from a certified organic source that is independently verified as 100% grass-fed and has a legitimate and recognized animal welfare certification. These three factors will ensure you will eat the cleanest possible source of marrow.
HOW LONG WILL FROZEN MARROW BONES LAST IN THE FREEZER?
Frozen Marrow Bones will keep perfectly for at least 12 months if kept in a freezer friendly bag and stored in your freezer at a temperature below freezing ie 32 degrees F ( 0 Celcius).
Raw Marrow Bones or Thawed from Frozen Marrow Bones should be kept in the refridgerator and used within 3 to 4 days.
Can I cook Frozen Marrow Bones? - yes, if you choose not to defrost first, just make sure to double the normal roasting time to 35/40 minutes at 450 F (232 C) in the Oven or Air Fryer.
HOW TO GET AT AND EAT THE MARROW FROM THE BONE – Literally!
If you use Marrow Bones to make bone broth or soups, the marrow will dissolve into the liquid and leave you with clean bones after slow cooking your bone broth.
If you roast marrow bones, we recommend you start with a teaspoon to scoop out most of the tasty roasted bone marrow then use a knife to scrape off more of the good stuff.
We like to get even more interactive by going all out Caveman to finish by picking up the marrow bones by hand to suck the last of the rish creamy marrow off the bone 😊
For more refined and formal eating of bone marrow, you will be given a marrow spoon in a restaurant but we honestly prefer the finger lickin' caveman style best!
BEST WAYS TO ENJOY MARROW BONES?
- The traditional way to enjoy marrow for centuries is still our favorite: Roast the Marrow Bones, the cooked marrow is scooped out of the bone and spread on some toast with kosher salt. The crispy texture and neutral taste of toast is a wonderful pairing with the rich creamy natural marrow.
- A customer of ours recently shared a simple yet highly nutritious Marrow Bone recipe: she scooped out the roasted marrow and mixed it into scrambled eggs for a delicious keto/paleo meal.
- Raw Bone Marrow has become extremely popular amongst the Carnivore and Ancestral eating communities. Raw Bone Marrow is surprisingly palatable, clean tasting, easily digested and pairs well with a sprinkle of Kosher salt.
- Spread roasted marrow on top of Ribeye or Tenderloin for a purely decadent meat lover's experience.
- As a rich and nutrient-dense Bone Broth.
- As the key ingredient in the Italian dish, ossobuco which is a braised shank marrow bone recipe slow-cooked to a rich stew.
BROTH BONES VERSUS MARROW BONES- what is the difference?
Broth Bones are generally Neck Bones, Knuckle Bones, or Rib Bones.
Marrow Bones are Femur Bones, Tibia and Shank Bones.
All three main broth bones contain plenty of marrow, collagen, fats, and micronutrients but due to their size and irregular shape, the marrow is not easily accessible to eat directly which you can in round straight Femur Bones or Tibia Bones.
Neck bones are by far the most meaty out of Neck, Knuckle and Rib Bones with plenty of meat and collagen like mini oxtail bones.
Broth bones are therefore suited to slow cooking to make bone broths. Despite being slightly cheaper, Broth Bones will still make an incredible bone broth.They just dont have the long circular 'pipe' like a in a Femur bone and not as much marrow.
We also highly recommend roasting Broth bones first for 20 minutes at 450F before slow cooking the Broth bones to dial up the umami flavors of your bone broth.
MARROW BONES FOR DOGS!
Marrow Bones have proven to be an extremely popular product for us at TruBeef, far more than we ever anticipated. After some emails and telephone calls to customers to gain more insights as to why, it turns out we have some fans who are real Marrow Bone Connoisseurs we never even knew about ( but should have). Dogs!
Our customers buy our Frozen Marrow Bones not only for themsleves but also for their four Legged family members ..... Beef Marrow Bones for dogs....why of course!
Top quality raw marrow bones are a highly beneficial part of a dogs physical and mental health. As Marrow Bones from the Femur are so hard, they are an ideal bone for dogs to gnaw and chew on without the danger of splintering or digestive tract damage.
Health Benefits of Marrow Bones for Dogs
- Dogs are instinctive hunters so chewing and gnawing on a nutrient dense marrow bone appeals to their own innate and natural primal nature.
- Just like for us humans, raw marrow bones for dogs are a natural source of fats and collagen, vital for dog growth, repair and healthy coat.
- Chewing on a hard marrow bone for dogs is an optimum way to maintain healthy teeth in dogs , prevent plaque build up and promotes stong healthy gums. Dental Calculus ( Tartar) in this study was shown to reduce by over 70% after just 12 days of femur bone chewing.
- Raw or Frozen Marrow Bones for dogs have also been shown to release the feel good endorphin dopamine, promote mental stimulation and a feeling of calm.
MARROW BONES SUMMARY
- Marrow Bones come from the Femur, Tibia, and Shank Bones of Steers.
- Bone Marrow has been consumed by man for thousands of years.
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, collagen, glucosamine, and CLA’s
- Rich, creamy mouthfeel with a subtle beefy taste.
- Marrow Bones regained popularity in tandem with Keto / Paleo / AIP / Carnivore Diets.
- Commonly sold as Frozen Marrow bones and cross cut or canoe cut.
- Easy and quick to prepare with modern high-pressure slow cookers.
- For the best bone broth results, roast marrow bones first for 20 minutes.
- Marrow Bones are best enjoyed spread on toast, eaten after roasting, in bone broth or a rich stew-like ossobuco.
- Raw Bone Marrow is gowing in popularity amongst the ancestral and carnivore diet communities.
- Frozen/ Raw Marrow Bones for dogs are a healthy, natural and stimulating treat.
What is your favorite way to eat Marrow Bones? Let us know!