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A Soothing Broth

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©2013 Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)

I’ve made bone broth from scratch for years, using beef, chicken and turkey bones leftover from meals and holidays.  The method I used was boiling down the bones in a big pot of water all day, then adding it to soup or freezing it.  The way I did it was to skim off the foam from the surface and just simmered it all day until evening.

Recently, my Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Practitioner explained to me another way to make this broth to strengthen the brain and bones, which is a function of the kidneys in TCM, as well as strengthening the spleen and overall health.  The recipe he gave me was by Dr Wu (Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China), and I combined it with a recipe I’ve used before.  It turned out to make the most delicious broth!

Although the method takes longer (6+ days), I was won over by the soul satisfying taste and how I felt after eating it:  a complete sense of well-being.  I added it to soups, meat dishes and also drank it by the cup.

How to Make Oxtail Bone BrothPrime Pacific 18/10 Stainless Steel 20 Quart Stock Pot With Glass Lid

What You’ll Need:

1 package oxtail bones


2-3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

large stockpot

Put the oxtail bones in the stockpot and add water to fill it halfway.  Bring to a boil, and boil for about 15-20 minutes until a lot of scummy foam appears on the surface of the water.  Don’t worry, this is just the impurities boiling off.

Dump all the water off and add fresh water, and now the vinegar, to refill the stockpot to within a few inches from the top.  Bring back to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.  Keep filling the stockpot with hot water throughout the day and keep it simmering.

At the end of the day, refrigerate the broth and bones in a pitcher and start again the next morning.

Beef Oxtail Bones available from US Wellness Meats






Here’s the secret I learned to making the broth rich and brimming with nutrition:  it needs to boil until the bones are soft enough to crumble.  Then you crumble the bones into the broth.

For me, this process took 6 days and the bones were just beginning to crumble in my fingers.  As my schedule changed, I was not able to experiment further, but I savored every drop of that broth.

I’ve never tasted anything like it before.  It was rich, smooth and had that soul satisfaction that literally went straight to my bones!


Tender Grassfed Meat











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24 thoughts on “How to Make Oxtail Bone Broth to Build Bone Health

  1. Louise Reinier says:

    what happens with the cider vinager??

  2. Louise Reinier says:

    what about the cider vinager??

  3. Shalonne says:

    Sounds wonderful! Have you tried this method with any other types of bones? Chicken or pork? Once you crumble the bones into the broth, do they get strained out at the end or do you crumble them enough to drink them?

  4. Shanna Lea says:

    Hi Louise
    You don’t taste the cider vinegar. It pulls more minerals out of the bones while cooking. You can also use red wine to do this.

  5. Shanna Lea says:

    HI Shalonne– I have my free-range chicken bones saved in the freezer to do this. I have made broth from chicken, turkey, pork and lamb before and they are all good. The key to getting them soft enough to crumble is in the very long (for several days) cooking time. I crumbled the parts of the bone that were soft enough to crumble and added to soup/meals. ~ ~ ~ shanna lea

  6. cookie says:

    What do you think? How about continuous cooking in the crockpot?

  7. Shanna Lea says:

    I have not tried it yet, but I plan to this winter. I have been told to make sure to start it on the stove top first, get it boiling well, before transferring to the crockpot. Let me know if you try it and how it goes for you! I’m anxious to hear. 🙂

  8. Sandy says:

    I think what Louise and I both wanted to know was when do you add the vinegar ? It doesn`t say , iy just says add water and bones !
    Thank you ! I am excited to try this , just wasn`t sure when to add vinegar .

  9. Shanna Lea says:

    I fixed it. Sorry it was left out and thank you for bringing it to my attention.
    I add the vinegar in with the 2nd batch of water. In Sally Fallon’s book “Nourishing Traditions” she explains that the vinegar helps pull more minerals out of the bones and into the broth. That is why I use it. ~ ~ ~ shanna lea

  10. Linley says:

    this always sounds great & good for you ect but the “all day electricity running to produce this seems to out weigh !

  11. Shanna Lea says:

    When considering the deep nutrition I am getting that is repairing my body, there is no problem running electricity for it. Our ancestors always kept a pot of broth on the fire going all the time. Perpetual Broth. Always adding to it and keeping it on the fire. 🙂

  12. Amber says:

    Hello. Thank you for sharing. In all the following days, so you continue to add vinegar as the broth cooks, or just with the new fresh water on the first day, please?
    I’ve never cooked more than a few hours, which already tastes amazing, so this will be even better!
    Thanks, again!

  13. Shanna Lea says:

    Sometimes I might add just a bit more vinegar but not always. It’s just a personal preference.
    Enjoy your broth making!!


  14. Olof says:

    When you say that the bones crumbled, when they were ready, do you mean that they are completely dissolved into the broth, or did you take them out of the water after six days?

    Best regards

  15. Shanna Lea says:

    Hi Olof,
    The bones did not completely dissolve, but I was able to crumble parts of the bones between my fingers. Recently, I have made broth with chicken bones, in the crockpot, which took a lot less time–24 hours or so. The chicken bones did get soft enough that I smashed all of them and put them back into the broth. Now, I prefer the crockpot method and will try it with the oxtails sometime to see what happens. Thanks for your question 🙂

    Shanna Lea

  16. Olof says:


    I guess the meaty parts, of the oxtail, dissolved into the water after such a long cooking-time right?

    And I am also curious if you flavored the soup somehow, when it was finished?

  17. Q says:

    I use a crockpot and let it go on low for a week, topping off the water daily. the crockpot doesn’t let it lose much. i/m definitely going to try the boiling, straining, and adding fresh water. Thanks for the post!

  18. Jules says:

    Many thanks for posting this! I’m really looking forward to making it.. love your description of soul-satisfying taste, and especially your description of how you felt afterward. Cooking it for such a long time makes a lot of sense to me. I have a couple,of questions: what size stock pot are you using? And about how many pounds of bones?

    With thanks and appreciation…

  19. Shanna Lea says:

    Hi Jules
    Thank you for your lovely comment. I think the pot I was using at the time was around 6 quarts and the package of oxtails was around a pound. Now I use a crockpot and run it for 3-4 and sometimes 5 days–no need to keep as close a watch for evaporation. Just add water to keep it full. If you do this with chicken bones, they will soften in about 2-3 days and you can crumble them into recipes.
    ~ ~ ~ shanna

  20. sharon says:

    This is my fifth year with a new Aorta and it has been a long journey! With all of medicine I am taken it has need of repair in joints and tissues. Thank the heavenly spirits that I was raised by a mother and grandmother who cooked from scratch. I have lots of allergies to medicines! My feet & joints hurt in ankle and toe joints and I have been looking for healthy options. I have made my first pot of Oktail Bone soup. The feeling after you eat the soup is exciting. My joints feeling like they are relaxing and I can walk with out pain. Tomorrow I am going to go back and buy more “BONES”.

  21. Shanna Lea says:

    Yes, the taste of bone broth is wonderful!

  22. jackie says:

    Thanks Shanna for sharing. I always used pressure cooker for chicken bone broth and the bones crumble after 4-5 hours. I did not know that I could eat the bones because I was afraid of too much calcium. Is there any way to find out how much calcium is in crumbled bones? Is it okay to use pressure cooker? also there is a light yellowish past on top of the broth after I put it in the refrigerator that I don’t know if it is oil that I should throw out or it is melted collagen and I should eat it. One time I did the bone broth with beef bones and it was very thick about 1/2 inch of beige color past on top of broth!! I thought probably it was oil, so I did not eat it. Do you know the answer? thank you very much. Love and blessings.

  23. Shanna Lea says:

    Hi and thank you for your comment.
    I always stir the yellow stuff back into the broth and it melts right back in when I reheat it. That’s the collagen part of the broth and excellent for your bones. Since this is a whole food, and rich in all the nutrients that work together, I would not worry about too much calcium. The nutrients are all in the right amounts to work together for your body. I used to can chicken soup and I”m sure the pressure cooker is ok. You can also make broth in the crockpot! I do that when I can’t be around to watch it on the stove. Happy broth making ! ~ ~ ~ Shanna

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