Roasted Bone Marrow

This roasted bone marrow is a cinch to make. Sprinkle it with salt and roast until rich, unctuous, and irresistible. Simply the best. Here’s how to make it.

Three pieces of roasted bone marrow sprinkled with salt in a metal roasting pan.

Author Jennifer McLagan loves roasted bone marrow. And, in her words, she finds it “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 that.–Renee Schettler

*How to buy the best bones for roasted bone marrow

Author Jennifer McLagan knows her beef marrow bones. Here, her tried-and-true tactics 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 ask for the bones to be cut lengthwise. This makes the marrow easy to get at with any spoon—no need for a fancy Georgian spoon.

Roasted Bone Marrow

  • Quick Glance
  • (18)
  • 15 M
  • 25 M
  • Servings Vary
4.6/5 - 18 reviews
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Ingredients


Directions

Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water and add 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt per 1 cup water. Add the marrow bones and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, changing the water every 4 hours and replacing the salt each time.

Tester tip: Some testers have asked us, “Do I need to soak the bones?” The answer is yes. This removes the blood and any impurities from the marrow.

Drain the bones, cover, and refrigerate until you’re ready to roast the marrow. Drain the bones and pat them dry. Be sure to roast the soaked marrow within 24 hours or freeze the drained bones for up to 3 months.

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).

Place the drained and dried marrow bones 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 for scooping. Originally published January 17, 2013.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

What an elegant treat this roasted bone marrow was! 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.

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. I cooked my bones at 450°F for 30 minutes and the marrow came out perfectly.

I was especially excited to have the opportunity to make this recipe to ring in the New Year, especially since I’ve had this dish in several French bistro-style restaurants but never at home, as New Year’s to me is all about decadent food that’s comforting at the same time. 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!

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.

HUNGRY FOR MORE?

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Comments

  1. Is there an alternative to burning my wrist in order to determine doneness? Maybe a temperature goal?

    1. Karen, you can simply roast the bones until the marrow is soft and begins to separate from the bone but is still firm enough so that it doesn’t melt away.

      1. Hello!
        If the bone has quite a big amount of meat on it, I would even say it’s a meat with marrow bones. how would you recommend to cook it?

  2. So, my wife and I first experienced Roasted Bone Marrow as an appetizer in a “ritzy” L.A. restaurant in 2016. Three years later, I wanted to give it a go at home.
    We live in the Dominican Republic and it was quite easy to get beautiful cut 2″ to 3″ inch bones. I wanted this to be perfect for my wife. The first soaking a more blood and impurity filled water was present; the second and third were much less and the forth no visible change to the water. In each of the soakings, I flipped the bones at two hour intervals.
    To make the recipe a little more “mine” [very little I might also say], I added a little fresh crushed garlic on top half way through the baking and chopped scallions three quarters the way through the baking process. When they were “done” a sprinkle of Himalayan Salt went on the top. Served with pressed freshly made sourdough bread and a side of finely chopped red onions and a balsamic plate glaze.
    All I can say is my wife loves me even more now!
    Thank you Leite!!

    1. Love everything about what you wrote, Steve. Everything. Especially that you ventured to try a restaurant technique at home. Your wife is a lucky lady. Thrilled that you tried our recipe and looking forward to hearing which one you try next. You’re very welcome.

  3. Loved this recipe! I have been so anxious about making it but it was super easy! I did just as the recipe instructed and turned out beautifully!

    A tray with five shanks of roasted bone marrow and slices of toasted bread spread with the marrow

  4. 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!

  5. 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

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