Local Folks Foods

Excellent Kosher Food

August 26, 2012

Smokin' the Bones: Never Let a Good Carcass Go to Waste

So at first glance, you probably see a pile of bones from some poultry. At first glance, you're abosolutly right. Specifically, this is a turkey (center). So I don't leave anyone out in the cold, to the top left is a ham bone and top right are italian sausages. So some of you might have no idea of what this is all about and others know exactly where I'm going with this.

So when I bought this pre-cooked turkey, I knew I wanted to use these bones for a stock. So as I was chopping up this bird, I thought of something better. Not only use them for stock but smoke the bones on the grill. The night prior, I pulled them out of the freezer (since it they had been frozen once I carved the turkey). What you see above is the nearly finished product.

Now below, is also almost finished. I'm not a huge fan of telling everything I did here for a couple reasons. One, this is what I like to eat and your tastes might vary from mine. Also, my goal is to set the table. I want people to see what could be and that you might have more than you realize. This is what remains of a 15 lb turkey. I cut up the carcass. At first, I was only going to smoke the leg bones (which you see in the middle). The reason is that I pulled out the wrong bag (a bag that DIDN'T have the carcass). I knew I separated them so I went to my freezer, pulled out the carcass and defrosted them in the microwave. I made sure I pulled as much of the meat off as I possibly could.

Now the meat of the matter. The spices. This will probably cut down the amount of seasoning I use (depending on what I'm making). What did I use and why? Well, I'll put this as simple as I can:
- Oil. I used Canola Oil since that was what I had, but consider using Olive Oil as well. Use enough to coat the bones to your liking. Again, I won't give exact measurements but make sure enough oil is used to cover the bones.
- Paprika (your choice, I used Spanish because it was what I had. I prefer hot Hungarian)
- Black Pepper (pretty obvious)
- Sage, Rosemany, and Thyme (VERY nice on poultry). Use enough sage to cover the bones. Use the remaining spices mention in this section as you would with meat (be conservative- not to much but not too little either). I also used a few dashes of oregano (enough where you can know you put some one, 2 tbls would be right if you care to measure and make sure you cover all the bones.
- Granulated garlic powder and granulated onion powder. I like the texture of the two. You can use fresh garlic and onions if you want, but since I have all dry ingredients, staying dry might be the route to go.
- KOSHER salt. I've done this with other salts and didn't turn out as well. It also absorbs moisture better than other salts so that may be another reason it works better.

Now, on the left, you see all the bones, wrapped together post seasoning. What I did was not use enough foil to cover the bones properly (in other words, I pulled another small piece of foil to cover the bones. Whatever you do, make sure you use enough foil to cover the bones totally. You don't want any excess oil in the foil either. Make sure you slit holes in the top of the foil pack. I'm doing this on my grill and towards the end of a grilling session. I placed this and the ham bone (the one I touched upon briefly, using the same mixture as the turkey bones) onto the grill. I decided to let the bones smoke. I let the fire and smoke die down in the process. Remember, the bones are already cooked. When I started, the temperature on my grilll was 250 degrees F (about 121 degrees C) but 3 1/2 hours later, my grill temperature was under 90 degrees F (about 32 degrees C). The point is getting the flavor of the smoke into the bones, not so much cooking.  You don't have to play with the fire. You just place the bones on the grill and forget it.

This was only the intro. I wanted to at least share this to get this out of my system. My intention is to show that doing this is not nearly as hard as it might sound. Don't let the fancy names ("smoked" this or "grilled" that) fool you or scare you off. It's possibly that you never thought to try this. I have done this before and how it worked like a charm. These bones will be used in a stock, stew or side dish down the road. Once the bones are cooled down, place them in a freezer bag if you're not using them immediately. If you have butcher's paper or foil, I would consider wrapping the bones in them before putting them in the freezer.. Down the road, the bones I used here will make their way into a future posting. I'm really looking forward to sharing down the road, especially with fall coming so soon. The moral of this post- NEVER let anything go to waste. You might be throwing away something that could really contribute to a great meal.


LinsFood said...

Excellent idea! I'm always recycling leftover bones too but your idea of smoking them first is great - must create a deeper flavour! I've poppedin from Google+.

John Duncan said...

It works like a charm!! I kid you not. I learned that from someone smoking a hambone years ago.

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