This Smoked Pork Bone Broth post involved the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my relatively young career as a low carb food blogger — convincing my family to cut the meat off their ribs and not devour it like a pack of hyenas. In this case, those bones had a higher calling.
Thankfully my family, who is used to humoring my weird food projects, was happy to oblige. It wasn’t that hard with my nearly fall-off-the-bone ribs. Eventually we worked our way through three racks of ribs and added some bones from smoked thick-cut pork chops to the bag of pork bones growing in our pull-out freezer.
Like a fair amount of my posts, this is a recipe that really emerged from pure tinkering and was not originally designed to be written up on the site. Despite the fact that I am sure that it would have resorted in a lot of web traffic on the site, I resisted in the idea of sharing a bone broth recipe. There are just too many that cover that ground too well, and plenty more that are too derivative. I like the idea of having a lot of unique material on the site and wasn’t sure I had a lot new to contribute.
For those of you you who aren’t familiar, bone broth is essentially what you know of as “stock” — meat and vegetables simmered until they give up all their flavor and collagen to the water surrounding them. This yields a delicious liquid with all the lip-smacking mouthfeel of melted gelatin, because that’s basically what it is. There is so much gelatin in the resulting liquid that it will either partially or completely set up in the fridge once cold.
It makes a great base for soup. It’s long been a tradition in our house to make bone broth with the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers and use it as a base for our customary Christmas Eve mushroom soup.
In this case, we are using an electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot is just one brand) to speed up the process of simmering the mixture to produce our flavorful liquid. The Instant Pot/electric pressure cooker approach is much faster and keeps all of the flavor in the liquid and not up in the air and all over every surface of your house. I like bone broth, but I don’t like my house smelling like it for weeks.
Pressure cookers have been around for a long time, but the Instant Pot and its ilk have resulted in something of a renaissance in their use. Manual models were fussy to use and required constant babysitting on the stove to maintain a constant pressure. If you are like me and have multiple cats and children running around, you can see how that can produce a dangerous situation even if you do know what you are doing. An electric pressure cooker does all this heat management for you and is much safer and easier to use as a result.
I wanted to avoid a heavy smoke taste or smell to the bone broth. A broth that smelled overtly smoky would also be very bitter. The flavor I was going for with this bone broth was a little darker than usual. It smells and tastes a lot like pork sausage. In other words, it’s superbly delicious and won’t make your relatives ask what is burning.
There is a ubiquitous ingredient in typical bone broth recipes that you may notice is missing — apple cider vinegar. It’s stated reason for inclusion is always something along the lines of dissolves minerals, blah, blah, blah. Well, listen — that’s nonsense. The actual reason to include it is that the little bit of acid rounds out the rich taste of the bone broth.
I accomplish the same thing with some macerated lemon rounds in the serving mug if you are drinking it on its own. I don’t always want that acid for what I am using it for, so it makes sense to add it upon serving.