Bone broth — these two words incite equal levels of snickering and admiration as they have grown in use and popularity as quickly as Donald Trump. And I, for one, have tried to deny the existence of the trend. I learned how to make stock from animal bones and regularly use it for cooking, but I would have never thought to pour it into a paper coffee cup and sell it for $8 as a restorative tonic. I know the cold-healing power of a good chicken soup, so I’d never deny the health benefits of mineral- and collagen-rich stock. But still I hesitate when I see so many stocks in grocery stores and butcher shops rebranded as Paleo-friendly bone broth. Are any of them worth the extra price tag that the name engenders? Or are they simply a ploy for our hard-earned dollars? Clearly, I needed to investigate.
In the Bay Area, there are what seems like an infinite number of bone broths available. As it was impossible to narrow my list down to a definitive number of local broths, I decided to make the very unscientific decision of tasting broths that were easy for me to purchase at or near my North Berkeley home. (I chose to taste only beef bone broth, as it is the “classic” preparation.) Depending on where you live, you may have access to more or less than these, most of the best broths follow a pattern — they come from butchers, not broth- or Paleo-specific companies. So if you can’t find my favorite bone broths near your home, seek out your local butcher shop, and they’ll likely sell you something good.
Or else you can make it yourself. That recipe will be coming soon.
Best for Sipping: Clove & Hoof Beef Bone Broth
There was only one bone broth I tasted that I would ever consider drinking from a mug, and that’s the broth from Clove & Hoof. It tastes beefy, for sure, but the rich meatiness is kept in check with a balance of seasonings, aromatics, and vegetables. The broth is neither greasy nor overwhelmingly sticky with gelatin, but it does taste nourishing and pleasantly filling. It tastes, in other words, like a good stock that I would make myself. I drank my full tasting mug of the stuff and then, true to form, used the rest to make stew. At $12 for a quart, Clove & Hoof’s broth is one of the cheapest available. (This doesn’t sound like a bargain, but wait until you see some other prices.) If you live in (or near) Oakland, I would absolutely recommend it.