How To Cook Bone Marrow On The Grill

how to cook bone marrow on the grill

When asked to describe his last supper, famed global food enthusiast Anthony Bourdain said:

“Roast bone marrow with parsley and caper salad, with a few toasted slices of baguette and some good sea salt.”

The deliciousness of roasted bone marrow is not a delight to be missed in this life. Beef bone marrow is an affordable and luxurious treat when made at home. For many years, it has gone largely unnoticed in the United States.

Thanks to the efforts of some restaurateurs, it’s begun to make a resurgence. Out to eat, this treat may cost you a pretty penny.

At home, it’s simple to prepare and enjoy (similar to beef tongue).  Here’s how to cook bone marrow on the grill (and elsewhere!)

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Prepping Bone Marrow

Bone Marrow

Bone marrow will contain small amounts of blood, which can make some diners squeamish. If you want to remove the blood and produce a more aesthetically pleasing finished product, you can soak the marrow overnight – or up to a day before – in salted ice water.

Every four to six hours, swap the water. This process will also slightly bleach the bones, resulting in a more uniform appearance. 

How Do You Season Bone Marrow for Cooking on a Grill?

Bone marrow is delicious on its own and requires no seasoning to prepare it for grilling. However, if you’d like to enhance the flavor, you can certainly season it. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Mix minced garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. Slather over the marrow before grilling. 
  • Rub the marrow with sliced garlic and top with minced fresh thyme. 
  • Freshly cracked pepper and salt – top the finished marrow with fresh mint and serve alongside lemon wedges. 
  • Mince garlic and lightly drizzle maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar over the marrow. 

There are many possibilities for preparing tasty marrow. Much like salmon, trout or mushrooms, many different flavors pair with marrow. Experiment and see what you love best. 

So, How To Grill Bone Marrow?

Before grilling, make sure the bones are dry if they’ve been soaking.

Bone marrow roasts over high heat. Since it’s fatty, it runs the risk of pooling out of the bone and creating flare-ups. You can prevent that challenge by roasting them in foil or in a cast-iron skillet (just not a disposable grill). 

For a wood-fired grill or charcoal grill, create a three-zone fire. This method will place coals on each side, surrounding a fire-free section in the middle.

The middle section is where the bones will go. The radiant heat from either side will help roast them evenly. 

For a gas-fired grill, preheat to 400-450 degrees. 

Keep an eye on the bones as they roast. Depending on your bones, it can take 10-15 minutes for the marrow to be ready.

You want the marrow to get hot and soft and to develop a jelly-like consistency. It will start to liquefy around the edges and bubble, but you don’t want it to melt away entirely. 

An excellent way to test the roasted bone marrow to ensure doneness is to use a thin skewer and poke it into the marrow. If you encounter resistance, it needs a few more minutes. If it slides right through like a bowl of jello, it’s ready to eat. 

If everything else is ready to go, serve your marrow immediately. It’s best to time it so that the marrow can go directly from the fire onto the plate.

If you must wait for other items to finish, keep the marrow near the fire to stay warm. 

What Do You Serve with Grilled Bone Marrow?

Bone marrow could be considered a condiment or a course all its own. You can slather it over toasted bread (especially a sourdough), spread it over a toasted bun for a particularly dazzling burger, or layer it atop a sizzling steak for an extra meaty punch of flavor. 

Serve it with caramelized onions to boost the umami delights, or balance the richness with lively salad full of herbs and citrus (e.g., lemon juice) – Anthony Bourdain’s side of choice.

You can also use roasted marrow bones to enhance soups and stews or make a vibrantly rich broth. 

For a memorable finish, you can drink a shot of Irish whiskey straight out of the bone to finish off the remnants of marrow. Use the marrow to fashion an unforgettable cocktail for a less messy version. 

How Else Can You Cook Bone Marrow?

You can also roast marrow bones in the oven. To do so, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. In a roasting pan or baking sheet with a lip, arrange the bones, so the cut side is up.

Roast until the marrow is soft and jelly-like. This method will take somewhere around 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of your bones.

To test for doneness, insert a pick or skewer through the marrow. It should slide right through like jelly; if it doesn’t, roast for a few more minutes. You want to remove the bones before the marrow melts entirely into liquid. Serve immediately. 

Why Eat Bone Marrow? 

If you’ve never experienced the unctuous delights of bone marrow, it may seem strange to cook and eat bones (though we also like pork neck bones). Bone marrow is fatty tissue in the hollow center of most bones. When cooked over high direct heat, the fat melts and becomes soft enough to spread.

The marrow itself is nutrient-rich. It contains vitamins A, B12, and E and nutrients like iron, riboflavin, protein, and plenty of collagen. In short, it’s a tasty treat that offers plenty of nutritional benefits. 

What Does Bone Marrow Taste Like?

Roasted marrow brings an umami flavor with a hint of nuttiness. Umami, which means ‘a pleasant, savory flavor’ in Japanese, is the flavor profile found in ingredients like mushrooms, parmesan, salmon, and miso.

Marrow, therefore, could be described as hearty and savory. The texture is soft and creamy, with a hint of sweetness to balance every rich, buttery mouthful.

You’ll sometimes hear bone marrow described as ‘God’s Butter,’ which should prepare you for how buttery and indulgent this marrow is. 

Where Do You Source Good Marrow Bones?

The best place to locate marrow bones for eating is the local butcher. Some local grocery meat counters will also carry marrow bones.

Call ahead to inquire – even if they don’t put them out in the display cases, they may have some available. You can have the bones split lengthwise or crosswise. 

Ask the butcher to remove any meat from the bones. The marrow will be slightly pink in color and smell faintly meaty but should not have a strong odor. 

FAQs about Bone Marrow

How do you know when bone marrow is done on the grill?

The bone marrow is considered done on the grill when the marrow starts to gently bubble on the surface, which usually takes around 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the bones and the amount of marrow they contain. To achieve this, place the marrow bones cut side up in a cast iron skillet and grill them. Once the desired bubbling is observed, remove the bones from the grill immediately.

Does eating bone marrow have health benefits?

Eating bone marrow has health benefits as it contains collagen that enhances the health and strength of bones and skin. Additionally, it is abundant in glucosamine, a compound that aids in combating osteoarthritis, alleviating joint pain, and decreasing inflammation in the joints.

How long do you leave bone marrow in water?

The bone marrow should be left in a brine mixture of salt and water, with a ratio of 1 teaspoon of salt for every cup of water. Make sure there is enough water in the mixture to cover the bones. Allow the bones to brine and refrigerate for a period of 24 hours. This process will effectively extract impurities from the bones and result in white, clean marrow.

Should bone marrow be thawed before cooking?

Bone marrow should be thawed before cooking. To achieve the best results, it is recommended to remove the marrow bones from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking. Thawing the product on a dish in the refrigerator is also advised.

Does bone marrow melt when cooked?

Bone marrow does not melt completely when cooked, but it can become too soft if overcooked. To prepare roasted bone marrow, remove the bones from the brine and place them marrow side up on a cast iron pan or baking sheet. Sprinkle some sea salt on top and cook the marrow bones for approximately 25 minutes. It is important to avoid overcooking the bones, as this can cause the marrow to become excessively soft and lose its desired texture for consumption.

How long to leave bone marrow in salt water?

The bone marrow should be left in salt water for a period of 12 to 24 hours in order to remove the blood. To do this, place the marrow bones in a large dish of ice water, ensuring they are fully submerged, and add 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt. Refrigerate the bones for 12 to 24 hours, making sure to change the water 4 to 6 times during this time and adding an additional 2 tablespoons of salt to the water with each change.

Is cooked bone marrow healthy?

Cooked bone marrow can be a healthy addition to your diet as it has been shown through research to provide various benefits for your immune system, heart, joints, digestive system, cognitive function, blood health, bone strength, skin renewal, and weight control.

Can you eat too much bone marrow?

While bone marrow is a nutrient-rich source of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and collagen, it is important to consume it in moderation, particularly for individuals with heart disease or high cholesterol, due to its high-fat content.

Does cooked bone marrow taste good?

Cooked bone marrow has a delicious taste. It is often described as having an umami flavor and a buttery, creamy texture due to its high fat content. When prepared correctly, it offers a slightly sweet and savory taste that is full-bodied.

What meat is best for bone marrow?

The best meat for bone marrow is typically beef or veal. This is because their larger size allows for more marrow, and the long, straight femur bones are particularly ideal as they contain the most marrow and are easily accessible.

Is bone marrow good leftover?

Bone marrow is a great leftover that can be enjoyed in various ways. One option is to roast it in the oven and spread it on toast, similar to butter. Another idea is to incorporate bone marrow into gravies, sauces, or broths to enhance their flavor. Additionally, once the marrow has been consumed, the leftover bones can be utilized to create a delicious bone broth.

Do you have to soak bone marrow before cooking?

The bones do not have to be soaked before cooking bone marrow, but it can be beneficial for removing any remaining blood. To do so, place the marrow in a bowl of salted ice water and refrigerate it for up to twenty-four hours, ensuring to replace the water every four to six hours.

How do you clean bone marrow before cooking?

To clean bone marrow before cooking, you can start by soaking the bones in salted water for at least 24 hours. This should be done one day in advance and the bone marrow should be kept in the refrigerator during this time. By doing so, any blood spots and bacteria can be effectively removed.

How do you make bone marrow taste good?

To make bone marrow taste delicious, you can enhance its richness by using ingredients that have a strong umami flavor. Consider incorporating anchovy, Stilton cheese, Marmite, miso, or confit shallots. Similar to Fergus Henderson’s parsley salad accompaniment, complement the bone marrow with fresh and sharp flavors to balance out its richness.

Why do you soak bone marrow in salt water?

The reason for soaking bone marrow in salt water is to extract any impurities from the bones, resulting in a clean and white marrow. To achieve this, a brine mixture is prepared using 1 teaspoon of salt for every cup of water, with enough water to cover the bones. The bones are then seasoned with oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the marrow starts to separate from the sides.

What are the benefits of eating bone marrow?

The benefits of consuming bone marrow include boosting immune health, improving heart health, supporting joint health, enhancing digestive health, promoting brain health, increasing bone health, improving skin health, and aiding in weight management.

What is the best way to eat bone marrow?

The best way to eat bone marrow is by scooping it from the bone with toasted crusty bread. When roasted, bone marrow becomes luscious and creamy, with a delightful nutty, beefy, and buttery flavor. It is simply delicious and worth trying if you haven’t had it before.

Should you eat the skin of a marrow?

Marrow can be prepared by steaming, baking, boiling, frying, or roasting. The edible stripy skin can be enjoyed, but if you prefer roasting or frying, it is recommended to remove the seeds and stringy middles to fully savor the flesh.

Do you eat the inside of bone marrow?

The marrow inside the bones is safe to eat as long as the meat is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F, which should be measured with a food thermometer before removing the meat from the heat source. This applies to all raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks, chops, and roasts.

Does bone marrow taste like steak?

Bone marrow does not taste like steak. Many individuals claim that it possesses an umami taste and has a buttery and creamy texture due to its significant fat content. When cooked correctly, it offers a slightly sweet and savory flavor that is rich and full-bodied.

Is bone marrow fat good to cook with?

Bone marrow fat is good to cook with as it provides chefs with a rich and distinctive flavor. Those who are enrolled in online cooking classes should definitely consider exploring the unique texture and flavors that bone marrow offers. Chefs have discovered numerous intriguing and delicious ways to incorporate this fatty substance extracted from the interior of bones into their dishes.

Is bone marrow better than meat?

Bone marrow is superior to meat due to its numerous health advantages. Research indicates that it contains a higher concentration of essential vitamins and minerals compared to muscle meat. Additionally, the presence of stem cells in bone marrow can stimulate the production of both red and white blood cells within your own body.

Is bone marrow high in cholesterol?

Bone marrow is high in cholesterol due to its rich fat content. The cholesterol levels vary depending on the animal, with cattle bones having the highest amounts. If you decide to incorporate bone marrow into your diet, it is advisable to consume it in moderation.

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