Here Is An Underused Source Of Calories And Fat

Where we are the markets package bones for dogs. We buy prepackaged treats for our two dogs but an interesting thing has shown itself. If we buy them treats they eat them and forget them. If we buy beef bones for them they get the dogs’ complete attention. They work at them, getting the marrow out of them, until it’s all gone. Then they kind of chew on the remaining bones when they have nothing else to do – kind of like watching TV or eating chips.

After a little of this it occurred to me that there may be something special about the marrow in the bones. So, I started looking into marrow and found that it not only does it contain high levels of calories and fat, but there are numerous traditions, from areas where starvation was a problem, of people eating the marrow out of bones in order to survive. As a matter of fact many of the descendents of those people have passed along recipes that are delicious.

A little internet searching found that a lot of groups consider marrow a wonder food. Live Strong, originally part of the Lance Armstrong successes, has this: Beef bone marrow is a traditional ingredient in certain cuisines, such as Vietnamese or French. Beef bone marrow is the fatty and gelatinous matter inside large beef bones. The marrow becomes soft when roasted, and you can spread it on toast, use it in sauces or use it as a garnish. Beef bone marrow is high in certain nutrients, but it is also high in fat, so regular consumption can be dangerous for your health.


A 1/2-ounce serving of beef bone marrow contains 125.59 calories. Because beef bone marrow is so rich and high in fat, a serving is smaller than a serving of other common protein items such as steak or fish.

Serving suggestion

Serving suggestion

According to Google there are restaurants that serve marrow. People have asked Google about the advisability of eating it. Their answer includes useful links to other studies. Some of their comments:

Historically, native American hunters would pass up a thin bison carcass, rather than eat lean muscle… or just eat the fatty bits. This is also one reason why BONE MARROW is a very popular food among foragers — a great source of lipids & kcal.


Subsequent analysis shows that hominids may have been collecting ones for their marrow and brain tissue rather than for any meat still
remaining on the surface of the bone (Binford 1987). Marrow and brain are high in fat and protein, but few carnivores have the morphology necessary to break open large long bones.”

Try entering ‘bone marrow recipes’ into your browser and you will find sites like these:

The dogs love it. There is a reason they do.

Here is an interesting thing to try: Next time you have a pork chop or a steak with a bone in it try the marrow if it’s still in the bone. I have. I expect you will find the same thing: The marrow is almost too rich and fatty. If you were in a survival situation a food like that would be a valuable thing.

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22 Responses to Here Is An Underused Source Of Calories And Fat

  1. A Guy says:

    And it’s just friggin amazingly good. It’s up there with foie gras as the tastiest meatiest treat ever.

    • A Guy says:

      probably a pointless story..

      Once upon a time before my current career, I worked in high end restaurants. For lunch I often made myself what I consider to be the king of all sandwiches. It was a duck confit sandwich on home made focaccia bread slathered in foie gras butter sauce.

      Chef used to tell me to quit eating them and that my poor heart wouldn’t be able to handle it for long. I made him try a bite. He put a fancier version of it on the menu the next day. It was a hit and stayed around for about a month.

  2. rj says:

    bone in rib eye, grilled rare suck the marrow out of the eye before it cools, yummmm

    yea… the edit button returns, Thanks RD from my hillbilly education no spellcheckin little keyboard netbooking heart

  3. Uke says:

    I feel like this is a “tell about the tastiest but un-healthiest meal you’ve ever had” thread.

    That’s cool. I love that shit. I eat liverwhurst and chicken hearts regularly. It’s my body–do what I want.

    • R.D. Walker says:

      I am no stranger to a basket of breaded and fried chicken livers, mmmmmmmm.

      • Uke says:

        Is it wrong that I just got a sudden craving for classic liver and onions?

        … though I’m still hankerin’ for straight up heart-meat regardless. >_>

        • TN-Cat says:

          Longevity is over rated.

          • Uke says:

            May I die in a pile of empty brass and lard?

            • notamobster says:

              Heart is some good eatin’! I love liverwurst (braunschweiger).

              Anyone who makes or eats soups or any cajun meal, will tell with an absolute certainty that all meals are better with the bones left in.

              Gumbo, bone-in pork chops, slow cooked in a spicy sauce picante. MMMMM, mmm! Put a bowl of that on your head and your tongue will beat your brains out trying to get to it. πŸ™‚

  4. xenicalman says:

    I cooked 6 beef shanks in our homemade spaghetti sauce on Sunday. Been doing that for years.The marrow is to die for.
    I have used veal shanks in the sauce-kind of like Osso Bucco, but not very much marrow as compared to beef shanks.
    We don’t have this too often as the dish is very very rich.

  5. locke n load says:

    Obviously I’ve been slummin it just using marrow as a ‘butter’ on toasted bread…sheesh. Had no idea I was surrounded by gourmands! Wait. Yes I did.
    Had to be, or else you’d have mocked me mercilessly for the off-topic advice for Sorta, Slap, Bman, and Nota.
    Carry on. And keep the chewy hearts for yourself, ugh. Great for gravy stock tho…

  6. BaconNeggs says:

    Jim, got a agree that there is a certain joy in watching a dog tail a wagging, working over a big bone in ecstatic glee. You may be on to something that as animals we are hard wired instinctively to get down to the marrow.

    I cant say that beef bone marrow on bread appeals to my taste buds, but stewed chicken bones, now that is my kind of bone marrow.

    I grew up in a family of “bone-crushers”, my mum and aunt could work a bone over so artistically, the dog was jealous of their skill. Pickled pig trotters and and pig tails and big bone ox-tail knuckle soups, helped build our family. Unfortunately due to the the “health nannies” who want to save us from ourselves, its very hard to find butchers let alone a supermarket that sell those once common bony cuts anymore.

    • locke n load says:

      You ought to watch a chinese family work over chicken bones B&E, I know the skill to which you refer. personally, I draw the line at chicken feet. I don’t care HOW good the dim sum sauce is. ick. I was taught however, how to clean our chickens properly so as to leave their feet in tact for appetizers.
      As for getting the bones, almost every real butcher I know keeps them and sells them( albeit not with the rest of the meats). Asian markets and Mexican markets always have them on hand, always sell out. I use them for soup stock mostly.

  7. fubar says:

    mr fubar cooks and pickles the (beef)heart and tongue. you have to ask the butcher for it, otherwise they don’t give them to you.
    and anyone who has eaten scrapple has eaten marrow, but I guess that’s a regional thing (pork trimmings boiled down with cornmeal and spices.)

    If interested in pickled tongue: you have to peel it after cooking.

    • notamobster says:

      Cow tongue is good, though I have trouble with the fact that it’s a tongue. Much like head cheese. Tastes good, but the brain thing creeps me out.

      Never had cow heart. Just deer.

      • Fubar says:

        >the brain thing creeps me out –

        cause of mad cow? (BSE)? or just brains in general ?
        I take it you won’t be going silently into the zombie apocalypse then? πŸ˜›

        btw, if anyone has any good info (not politicized) on BSE I’d be interested , thanks.

        • notamobster says:


          • Fubar says:

            mad cow disease
            Bovine Spongioform Encaphalopathy

            Over in Europe, there are still bans on certain cuts of meat (near the spinal cord) and brains of livestock, because of prion disease. It’s supposedly linked to Crutzfeld-Jacob’s disease in humans, from feeding ground-up livestock to other livestock. It originated in sheep.
            It’s a fatal, non treatable neurological degenerative disease.

            • notamobster says:

              I’m familiar with madcow. I’m not allowed to donate blood because of my being stationed in the madcow zone (anthrax, too I think)!

              Your punctuation (the 2nd “?”) threw me off.

              cause of mad cow? (BSE)? or just brains in general ?

              “Hey, let’s eat John!”
              “Hey, let’s eat, John!”

              Punctuation. It saves lives. πŸ™‚

              As for the question, it’s just the fact that it’s brain matter. I can an have eaten just about anything, including brain & tongue. I just don’t like it. It gives me the willies.

  8. Jim22 says:

    Having lived most of my adult life in Alaska I can only relate that I usually ate the moose’s heart first. It takes two men at least two days. Moose also have a huge liver. It’s usually not strong tasting either. I’ve eaten tongue but never the brains. I did eat hog brains once when I was a kid. They were mixed with scrambled eggs and were very greasy.

    One year we had a whole moose heart for Thanksgiving dinner. We stuffed the orifices with bread dressing, roasted it and sliced it thin. It served ten people and was very good covered with gravy.

  9. sortahwitte says:

    Fubar. Re: pickled tongue? You have to peel it? No wonder it was like eating a bicycle tube stuffed with who knows what.