Everyone has their own definition of when the barbecue season starts, but as soon as the first crocuses bud and the small snow cap has melted away from the gas barbecue, barbecue lovers start to get itchy fingers. However, the same question arises before every new season: stick to the tried and tested or take a risk on the barbecue? In addition to the classic cuts of beef and pork there are so many exciting and unknown options that having a little barbecue adventure is definitely worthwhile. Our tip for you: try putting a whole bone marrow on the barbecue. It will surprise you with its flavour, impresses visually and it also means that the whole animal is used.
Crosswise or lengthwise – that is the question
In order to make grilling a bone really worthwhile you need a specimen that is as generously filled with bone marrow mixture as possible. The best choice is the thigh bone, which gives the cow stability, and with such impressive legs, you can expect bones of similar proportions. There are two types of these bones: sawn crosswise or lengthwise. The crosswise sawn version is one we are familiar with from the ossobuco – a piece of the leg that includes the extension of the thigh bone in the centre. If you have ever spooned the cooked marrow out of the bone you know about the delight that lies hidden in a large bone. The thigh provides the most amount of fun on the barbecue if it has been sawn lengthwise. It is an eyecatcher on the barbecue and the bone can be effortlessly scraped out. The guests won’t be able to take their eyes off the bubbling fat inside the bone.
What is bone marrow made of?
Bone marrow mainly consists of three components: firstly there is connective tissue, but there is also stem cell tissue and a considerable amount of fat. It doesn’t sound like a delicacy at first glance, but that is exactly what it is – at least if you are not a calorie counter. If you are able to prepare bone marrow perfectly you can sip the pure joy out of the thigh bone. The whole thing is reminiscent of bread and dripping, but bone marrow has its very own characteristic flavour and when it is warm it has an incomparable glaze. You will realise: it is time to dare to take this step. If you serve lengthwise cut thigh bone at your next barbecue party, you can guarantee that all eyes will be on you.
Where can I get bone marrow?
If you google bone marrow you will often find yourself on animal feed sites, as in its dried form the thigh bone along with the marrow is a classic ingredient in dog food. However this also shows how unknown this delicacy still is amongst gourmets and connoisseurs. A few online shops stock the whole bone marrow already, but the simplest and most sensible way to get bone marrow is to put your trust in your butcher. For a skilled butcher it is simple to put aside a whole bone for you and to saw it off in your chosen way. The price for this speciality is unbeatable, as demand is minimal and the butcher will be happy that someone is taking the large bone off his hands.
How to grill bone marrow
Preparing bone marrow is extremely simple: the bone is placed onto the hot grill with the marrow facing upwards and grilled with a closed lid at approximately 250-300 degrees for 10 minutes. It is important that the bone marrow is heated completely all the way through so that the fat structure is completely melted. The mixture should not form fat bubbles, however it shouldn’t become dark and dry either. The bone is perfect when the hot marrow can be easily spooned out of the bone.
Where do you put the marrow?
A simple and delicious option is grilled bone marrow on a crispy slice of bread. The bread can easily be browned next to the bone on the barbecue. Instead of butter you then lightly spread the bone marrow onto the still warm bread. Aromatic fat and delicate creaminess combine with dark roasted aromas. Garnished with a few slices of chives it is an unusual starter and after trying it no one will miss having butter on bread anymore. You can now brown the spooned out bone in the oven and use it again for a bone broth.
Grilling bone marrow and then using the bone to make a broth is a perfect example of the consistent approach of the nose-to-tail philosophy – so nothing is wasted and every part of the animal is put to use. The term comes from the British chef, Fergus Henderson, who has claimed for many years now that an animal – if it is slaughtered for consumption – should be consumed and used up completely as much as possible. And above all this means: we should consume more parts of the animal other than fillet and roast beef, parts that otherwise attract little attention. If you barbecue bone marrow you will be living nose-to-tail and will even provide yourself with two benefits: on the one hand you will create an extraordinary and surprising taste sensation and at the same time you will get yourself one of the cuts that currently probably offers the best value for money.