Let’s talk about bone marrow. Roasted beef marrow bones are a common treat at high-end steakhouses, where they are often served as a nice appetizer. What does roasted bone marrow taste like? It’s the buttery essence of pure meat.
While beef offers the most commonly prepared marrow bones, hunters can also roast the bones from their wild game like elk, moose, or large deer. What do you do with it? You can scoop it out of the bone and spread it over toast or crackers. Or you can blend it with good butter, shallots, and garlic and make a bone marrow compound butter that is great on steaks.
But, before we talk about how to cook bone marrow, we first have to talk about safety. Chronic Wasting Disease is spreading rapidly across the country. While the disease has never crossed over from animal to human, similar diseases have, so it warrants watching. The prions that spread CWD are located mostly in the spine and nervous system of the host animal, but they can also be found in blood and bone marrow. If you hunt in an area where CWD is present, I highly suggest getting your animal tested before you start sawing through bones. Not to fear, simply separate the leg bones (both front and rear) at the joints with a sharp knife and place them in the freezer until your test results come back if you are concerned about CWD.
Once you are in the clear, use a bandsaw, butcher’s saw, or even a reciprocating saw to remove the ends from the bones. You can also use these saws to split the bones lengthwise, or you can split them with a heavy meat cleaver and a hammer. You can also just cut the bones into rounds, but its easier to scoop out the marrow if they are split lengthwise.
Once you have your bones split, soak them overnight (refrigerated) in a saltwater bath to remove some of the blood from the marrow. Instead of the normal oven roasting, we cook the marrow bones on the Traeger Grill for a delicious smoky flavor. The recipe also contains shallots and garlic. Save these for next week’s compound butter recipe.
4 large elk leg bones, split
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large or 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Fresh bread that has been sliced, drizzled with olive oil, and toasted
Start by splitting or sawing the bones. Submerge them in heavily salted water and refrigerate overnight. Pat the bones dry and place them in a shallow aluminum pan. Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Place the bones on your grill set at 375 degrees. Grill for 20 minutes.
Add the fresh herbs, garlic, and shallots, dropping the bulk of the garlic and shallots to the bottom of the pan between the marrow bones.
Continue cooking for 20 more minutes. As the bones continue grilling, fat will collect in the bottom of the pan, cooking the shallots and garlic. As mentioned earlier, save and refrigerate that fat and the grilled shallots and garlic for an upcoming recipe.
Serve the bones on a plate surrounded by toasted bread. Use a spoon or a knife to scoop out the cooked marrow and spread it evenly over the bread to eat. Reserve a few marrow bones for the upcoming compound butter recipe. Note that wild game marrow will always be darker than beef, since it is leaner and the animals have more blood flow from activity.
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