Roasted Bone Marrow Recipe

This roasted bone marrow recipe is just marrow bones sprinkled with salt and roasted until rich, unctuous, and irresistible. Simply the best.

Roasted Bone Marrow Recipe

Author Jennifer McLagan loves roasted bone marrow. And she finds it, in her words, “encouraging to know that this odd bit once consigned to the soup pot, tossed to the dog, or thrown in the garbage is now finally being appreciated as a dish in its own right.” Ain’t that the truth. Now that good fat is back on the table (though for some of us it was never off the table), marrow is seemingly everywhere. McLagan reminds us that “Many people avoid roasted bone marrow because it’s fat, but it should be remembered that marrow is 69 percent unsaturated fat. It’s also a very nutritious food, containing iron, phosphorus, vitamin A, and trace amounts of thiamin and niacin. There’s even more good news for marrow lovers: science has shown that the fat of ruminants contains substances that boost and maintain our body’s immune system. So the Victorians were right—it is a health food and definitely way too good for the dog.” Amen to all that. This recipe has been updated. Originally published January 17, 2013.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Buy The Best Bones for Roasted Bone Marrow

Author Jennifer McLagan knows her beef marrow bones. She also knows how to get what she wants. Here, her tried-and-true tactics and tricks for procuring the best bone marrow from your butcher:

• Marrow bones can be cut to any length you want. Ask your butcher for pieces cut from the center of the leg bone, where the ratio of marrow to bone is highest.

• It’s tricky to judge how much marrow you will get from any bone as it ranges widely depending on the thickness of the bone: a 3-inch (7.5-centimeter) bone will yield anywhere from 3/4 to 3 ounces (20 to 90 grams), but usually it averages around 1 1/2 ounces (40 grams).

• The bones should already be free of meat and should smell clean and faintly meaty. The marrow itself should be whitish pink in color; don’t worry if you can see blood spots on the surface—that’s normal.

• Buy extra bones to be sure you have enough. Bone marrow freezes well in or out of the bone.

• You can also have the bones cut lengthwise: this makes the marrow easy to get at with any spoon—no need for a silver Georgian spoon.

Roasted Bone Marrow Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 25 M
  • Servings Vary

Ingredients

  • Marrow bones (see note above)
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions

  • 1. Place the bones in a bowl of ice water with 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt per 1 cup water and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, changing the water every 4 hours and replacing the salt each time. Drain and refrigerate until you are ready to cook the marrow. This removes the blood from the marrow. Be sure to use it within 24 hours or freeze the drained bones for up to 3 months.
  • 2. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
  • 3. Drain the bones and pat them dry. Place them in a roasting pan. If the bones are cut crosswise, place them standing up; if the bones are cut lengthwise, place them cut side up. Roast for 15 to 25 minutes, until the marrow has puffed slightly and is warm in the center. To test for doneness, insert a metal skewer into the center of the bone, then touch it to your wrist to gauge the marrow’s temperature; the roasted bone marrow should be very hot. There should be no resistance when the skewer is inserted and some of the marrow will have started to leak from the bones. Serve the roasted bone marrow immediately with spoons.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Anna Scott

Dec 26, 2016

What an elegant treat this roasted bone marrow was! New Year’s to me is all about decadent food that’s comforting at the same time. I was excited to have the opportunity to make this recipe last night to ring in the New Year, especially since I’ve had this dish in several French bistro-style restaurants but never at home. This dish is the epitome of classic French cooking to me—simple ingredients and methods with outrageously delicious results. And oh so impressive! Served alongside a warm baguette, this appetizer was a real winner. Rich, creamy bone marrow spread on a piece of crusty bread—you can’t get much more decadent than that. It’s nature’s equivalent of butter on bread. In addition, I loved the introduction and information the author gave on the topic of bone marrow itself. I never knew you had to soak the bones in salted ice water before preparing them, but it makes sense because you need to remove some of the impurities found in the bones themselves. Notes: I sprinkled the tops of the marrow bones with kosher salt right when they came out of the oven for a little added flavor. A fancy, coarse sea salt would work well, too. Secondly, I cooked my bones at 450°F for 30 minutes, and the marrow came out perfectly. My grocery store always seems to carry bone marrow, so believe me when I say that one of my New Year’s resolutions is to treat myself to this culinary delight many more times this year!

Deb Russell

Dec 26, 2016

Although I personally thought the recipe was too long-winded—I’ve made roasted marrow before without the soaking—it turned out perfectly and we thoroughly enjoyed eating it.

Comments

  1. mmmm….one of my favorites! Lightly toast slices of baguette. Make a small salad of parsley, chopped green onions, rough chopped capers and lemon zest. Squeeze in a bit of lemon juice at the last minute and sprinkle with a good quality of salt. Smear the roasted marrow over the bread and scatter a spoonful of the salad on top. The acid and salt from the salad perfectly complement the richness of the marrow!

    1. Lovely tip there; though I think you should do justice to Fergus Henderson by crediting him for his recipe in his book “Nose to Tail Eating.” Anthony Bourdain ate this in Fergus’s restaurant and said it was the best thing he had ever eaten.

  2. Jennifer,
    I can’t wait to make this. I need to find the bones first, but it shouldn’t be a problem in NYC. I think I’ll make them along with Zally’s salad suggestion, accompanied by a nice glass of red wine and I’ll be in heaven. We must rendezvous again at that packed-to-the-nines bistro in Paris that served only mouthwatering beef.

    1. Happy New Year, The One! I’m sure you’ll find the bones in one of NYC’s butchers’ shops. In BONES I have a delicious parsley and celery leaf salad, but any salad with a sharp vinaigrette will work. I hope we can rendezvous north of the border. Good food and wine guaranteed.

  3. You are right, Deborah, soaking is not strictly necessary, but it does remove the blood from the marrow and makes for a “cleaner” looking finished dish. It also helps first-time marrow eaters try it. Not everyone has my love of blood. Perhaps David will post the blood pancake recipe?

  4. I hate posts like these if for no other reason that it makes it EVEN HARDER to find marrow bones. I have to bribe my butcher to set them aside for me as they are now too popular for my liking.

    1. But…but…but Trevor Sis. Boom, we’re just doing our job. Shining a light into previously undiscovered corners of comestibles so that they become so trendy chic eaters like you go off in huff and find some other mouthful worthy of our pages. So, in the end, it’s culinistas like you who lead us straight to next New-New. See, it’s all your doing! In all seriousness, you can freeze marrow. Vacuum pack them and squirrel them away for future indulging.

    2. Hey Trevor.Sis.Boom… sorry to learn of your woes. I think, perhaps, your butcher may be putting you on. Do you live in a small town and are limited to one or maybe two butchers? After all, I recently went to my regular butcher, a very popular one at that, and had no problems getting the marrow bones. Add to that the fact that that I was getting them on a whim and that I only paid a couple of bucks for them. Perhaps you should seek out more than one butcher – I actually frequent four of them! As David pointed out, they do freeze, so stock up when you can.

    1. Heh. Few things are sexier than a good-looking man who knows his way around the butcher block, eh, kitchenbeard?!

  5. I tried roasting some bone narrow last night. We love marrow from lamb shoulder bones, and we enjoyed the beef marrow over bread, as I’d heard some other people recommend. (My market didn’t have baguettes, so I ended up using crusty Italian bread.) It was very economical, too, as it’s definitely something to eat in moderation.

    1. oh good grief, dedy, you can’t tease us like that and then leave us hanging! do you happen to still have that recipe handy? would you mind snapping a picture of it and sharing it with us? it sounds phenomenal….

  6. just tried it for the first time. cooked it exactly as the recipe. looked great.

    the taste, just as you’d expect. a mushy fatty gelatiny oily mess on toast.

    Anthony bourdain loves anti culinary foods as he pulled one over on everyone.

    try a nice juicy T-bone and then try this, the scraps left over from that great meal and see

    for yourself. it wasn’t awful, just nothing to write home about. next!

    1. Hey Kit, sorry you didn’t enjoy it. Different fats for different folks. Personally, I’m not a bone marrow fan. A few years back we were with Jennifer McLagan at a Paris restaurant that specialized in meat, and there were people picking up marrow bones and licking them practically pornographically. (Not naming names: The One.)

      1. Yet another manner in which we diverge, boss. Loooooove bone marrow. But only when roasted to perfection and not fettered with anchovies or oregano or oysters or any of the other stuff some chefs inflict on marrow bones. Cripes, now I’m craving roasted bone marrow though it’s like 80 degrees out….

  7. mmmm…..last week I made some white beans simmered with marrow and onions…..
    lots of fresh ground black pepper, sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley and some diced tomato when done.

  8. Mmmmmmm,marrow! What could be better in chilly or just plain cold weather?
    My favorite method is to rub a long cross cut bone with a cut garlic clove and a grind of fresh pepper prior to roasting and then dolloping on crostini.

  9. I’ve always loved bone marrow. My mom cooked it for us weekly, especially in winter, when we were kids, but I don’t remember her ever removing the blood by that salting and soaking step. Question: What are the pros and cons, healthwise, of removing the blood? If the beef is pasture-raised, does it matter that much if blood is NOT removed? Thanx.

    1. Johanna, excellent question. I defer to the creator of the recipe, whom I’ve asked to respond to your query…

  10. Johanna, the soaking of the bones is simply for looks, it is not necessary at all. I do it because it often people balk at the black bloods spots in the cooked marrow, especially if it the first time for them. Other cuts like sweetbreads and testicles are soaked in salted water to remove the blood. Go right ahead and cook your bones without soaking them.

    1. Thanks much for that explanation. I’ m reading through your Bones cookbook, and ended up coming online because so many questions were bubbling up. I laughed in delight to find your blog in a random search on marrow! Love the stuff in soups, but could never before figure out why some marrow stayed a dark porous solid, and inaccessible, while other marrow melted into my mouth. You may need to put a FAQ together for your book….

  11. Bone marrow broth with heavy cream, clam juice, fresh clams…you know where this is going! I have made clam chowder using beef femur bones for years. It is a “Good Friday” (the Friday before Easter Sunday) tradition at my house. I never tell family and friends about the bone marrow stock…they don’t know that they’re all going to hell…tee hee. (Inside joke for the Catholics.)

  12. Jennifer, I love this whole book! I bought it because you had a recipe for the sweetbreads the way they do them at Prune, and I’m working my way through as many cuts as I can find. Tip: I have much better luck finding things like tongue and bones at Hispanic butchers.

  13. Love marrow bones! For those haters or on the fence eaters try some smoked ham bone marrow first it will change your mind. I promise.

  14. Oh, the memories this brings to mind. It’s the 1940’s and it’s winter in Minnesota. Evening meal, some people called it dinner, others called it supper, was often a thick, bean, beef and barley soup. Of course there was carrot, onion and celery as well..and, big beef knuckle and marrow bones. The soup was heavily seasoned with salt and pepper. There were only 3 of us so there would be a bone for everyone. We would use a knife to dig out the marrow and eat it with bread and salt. We did not understand that this peasant food was, in 60-70 years to become gourmet fare. It is now served as a small plate first course in one of local high end restaurants in our state’s capital, St. Paul, Mn, the place is called Meritage. Marrow bones and a Belgian beer will transport you to a bar in Europe.

  15. Your idea to salt wash the bones does help to take out the nasty blood taste from some of the bones and the looks for some people.

    We use to put them in Micro on 100% for 10 mins or so just to cook the marrow in the bone center. Do not over cook the morrow melt away and fall out then you got clean dry bone left.

    We then put it in pan with olive oil or garlic butter sprinkle lemon pepper over all of them and lemon juice in the marrow. Fry the bones then for about 15mins turn every bone over and do the same again for another 10mins. Always be care full not to over do it the marrow do fall out or melt away. The outside become crispy inside stay soft and tasty
    You then take good red wine throw it away because it take to long to serve rather start eating as soon as possible the wine can wait.

    You must not be shy it is messy use your hands and lick them to the bone like a dog do, you will then understand why a dog keep on going at those old bones. You will do the same.

    Thanks Jennifer McLagan

  16. OMG, just finished eating roasted bone marrow with the spring onion caper salad a la Zally. Delicious but oh so very rich. Oh, also, I didn’t put enough salt in the green salad – it needs a generous amount as the marrow is not salted. I put a slice of potato (organic of course) on the top of each bone and lined the bottom of the dish with once slice of potatoes just to mop up the marrow that ‘ran away’. The potatoes were so very rich and fabulous. I did soak/salt the bones for about 6 hours but there was still some blood in the marrow which didn’t bother me. Not sure if I will do this step again. I’ve been off the wine but had to get a glass mid dinner to cut the richness. Yum, yum.

  17. Hi all, can the bone marrow be removed from the bones raw and cooked down into a sauce or into a thin liquid that could be injected into meat to infuse the wonderful flavor that comes from the marrow. I was hoping someone has tried this and could give me some tips on the process. Thanks.

    1. Phil, an excellent question! I’m checking with the cookbook author and one of us will be back with you pronto!

    2. Hi Phil, to remove the raw marrow from the bones, leave them on the kitchen counter for about 15 mins or until the marrow starts to soften slightly. Run a small, flexible knife between the marrow and the bone at each end. Pick up the bone and, using your thumb, push the marrow from thin end towards the fat end out of the bone. You can soak it in salted ice water to remove any traces of blood. Marrow is 69% unsaturated fat so heating it will melt it. You could probably inject melted marrow into meat. I would prefer to serve slices of lightly poached marrow with my meat.

  18. I had stumbled across this recipe and photo and thought…wow, this looks fabulously delicious. Then, one day I happened to see bone marrow bones in my local supermarket and decided to purchase and try this recipe at home. I followed the recipe exactly, and checked after 15 minutes then again at 25. By that time, most of the marrow had melted away and the bones hadn’t browned as shown in the photo. Of the 8 I had prepared, only 5 where almost presentable. I plan to try this again. What adjustments could I make in order to improve the outcome?

    1. Hi Sabrina, a couple of suggestions for you. Have you recently checked your oven temperature? I have a small oven thermometer that I use to calibrate my oven. Also, since marrow begins to liquify as it heats, I would suggest checking it fairly frequently after the 15 minute mark. Hope this helps.

  19. At age 74, having began life in a cattle ranch in Northern Nevada, as a child bone marrow, sweetbreads, brains, and “Rocky mountain oysters” were staples. After spring branding, etc., some of the above were eaten over a “Dutch oven” hung out over the branding iron fire. Yes, I know, very descriptive but those were the days.

    Now to the marrow. That arrived after the butcher was done and we had the entire remains. Again sorry for the descriptions but real. We and our most trusted “hands” and their families literally made a meal or froze “in our old rock house buried in the ground” all parts for use in future meals. No waste. So cut to the chase and sorry for long preamble, my wife of years came home with three large steer bones and said “OK old boy, do your thing”. Just ran out of pickled tongue last week so (after 60 years) I said YES… So fled to this web site hoping for my Eldorado. YES what a find. So now class I have completed 24 hours of the salt stuff and ready to move on to the final cooking. For the small family attending to view the Academy Awards tomorrow night. Wish me well. More to come. Regards and sorry for long boring e mail.
    Best, Larry

    1. Larry, wishing you well with your bone marrow endeavor! And not boring at all! I love your descriptions and can only imagine…I grew up on a farm in Iowa but I was not privy to the butchering and so your tales are highly interesting and informative. Thank you so much for taking the time to share. Kindly let us know if the bone marrow tastes like that of yesteryear…

  20. Well it was great fun. Sort of stood back and watched until, as our Leader said, the marrow started to pull away at spot on 15 minutes. Lettuce tops, radishes, celery cubes, and yes, small green olive bits. Not normal but it all worked. Not much salt and bit of lemon pepper to enjoy the marrow taste. Kept back a few bones and will do again in a few days for kids. Such fun and lots of memories.
    Larry

  21. Okay — I tired this and the raw bones didn’t free up the marrow. So… I have a plan. It seems to work but it’s a little dangerous so you have to be wildly careful. You are, right? If not, don’t read further.

    In many of the bones, there’s a boney growth inside the bones at or near the site where the butcher bandsawed the femur. It’s delicate but it’s still bone and it can stop you dead. So, take an old, worn, you-no-longer-care-about chef’s knife, and use the tip to ream out a hole. Don’t go nuts. You’ll get it done in about 15 seconds, after which resistance increases. STOP — that’s as good as it gets.

    Check both ends of the bone. One side is usually narrower than the other — that’s your pal. slowly press a cylindrical piece of wood in, slowlt pressing the marrow out the larger side. I use an old spoon with a cylindrical handle for this, but I imagine anything solid and of the right diameter will do. Work slow. And this may take some pressure so, once again, be careful.

    If you can’t get a piece out, let it soak for another hour and try again, until you admit defeat or it works.

    Good luck with this!

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