Smoked Bone Marrow (Meat Butter)
Having rightfully earned the nickname “meat butter”, bone marrow is an unctuous delicacy, and smoking it over an open fire brings another layer of amazing flavor to an already fantastic treat.
Bone marrow is generally roasted at a high temperature for a short period of time, but we use a smoker at a lower temperature to impart a little bit more of that smoky flavor to the delicious marrow.
You’ll often find upscale restaurants these days that have bone marrow on the menu for upwards of $20 an order. But with this simple recipe, you can make it right at home for a fraction of the cost and very little effort.
Bone marrow is the soft tissue found inside the bone and it is packed full of biotin and collagen, which is one of the most abundant proteins in the body.
Marrow bones are typically the leg bones from beef.
Marrow is high in both calories and fat; thus, it has a creamy and almost buttery texture and flavor. A classic dish that dates back to France in the 1600s was bone marrow on toast.
These days it has a variety of uses, the most popular being to make bone broth.
Tips for buying marrow bones:
- Bones should already be free of meat. They should not have a strong smell, but instead just a slight meaty smell to them.
- You can ask your butcher to cut them to any length. I like to have some cut into thin medallion shapes and grab a few larger ones (about 4” to 6” in length).
- Your butcher can cut them in half lengthwise, which makes it much easier to remove the marrow once they are done smoking.
How to make smoked bone marrow
1. Ensure marrow bones are clean and trimmed
This is probably one of the easiest recipes to prep, so long as the bones are clean. Most marrow bones that you buy from a butcher will be clean and nicely trimmed of tendons, fat, and meat.
If they are not clean, you want to soak them in saltwater (1 tsp salt per cup of water) for 12-24 hours prior to cooking to remove any blood and impurities.
2. Smoking the bone marrow
Start by firing up your smoker to 300°F.
For this recipe, I used my Big Green Egg. The ceramic-style grill works as a great insulator and creates an oven-like environment perfect for this type of recipe. I used hardwood lump charcoal with a sprinkling of pecan chips on top.
Place the bones on a baking sheet or roasting pan and place them on the smoker.
They are going to take about 40 minutes to cook all the way through, so in the meantime, you can prep your fresh parsley salad and crostini.
3. Prep the fresh parsley salad
Bone marrow is absolutely delicious on its own, but I like to add a bit of freshness to cut the fattiness of the marrow with a fresh parsley salad.
You can really mix it up and add whatever you want, but mine is just a simple mixture of parsley, green onion, garlic, and olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper for flavor.
Start by chopping up your parsley and green onion. Throw them into a bowl and add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix it all around and then drizzle the olive oil on top.
The result should be a chimichurri-style consistency that is easy to scoop onto a toasted crostini.
How to serve bone marrow
After about 40 minutes on the smoker, the bone marrow should be extremely hot in the center and ready to serve.
Depending on what style of bones you purchased, extracting the bone marrow from the bone can be a little tricky.
If you had your butcher cut your bones in half lengthwise, just grab a small spoon or cheese knife and scoop a bit of marrow out.
If your bones are whole, a Georgian knife or thin butter knife will do the trick. Just insert your knife into the bone and scoop outward towards the bone. The marrow should slide out with minimal effort.
You can spread it on your toasted bread like the way you would spread butter, then top it with a small scoop of your fresh parsley salad. Then, it’s ready to enjoy!
Smoked bone marrow recipe
- 4 center-cut beef marrow bones 6” in length
- 1 French baguette
Fresh parsley salad
- ½ cup parsley fresh, chopped
- ½ cup green onions chopped
- 2 tbsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper coarsely ground
- ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin
- Pre-heat your smoker to 300°F.
- Place your marrow bones on a roasting pan or baking sheet.
- Place the pan on the smoker.
- After 40 minutes on the smoker, remove the marrow bones and allow to cool slightly.
- Use a knife to spread the smoked bone marrow onto a toasted piece of French bread, then top with the fresh parsley salad and enjoy!
Fresh parsley salad
- Combine the chopped parsley, chopped green onions, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
- Add the olive oil and mix until well combined.
- Store in the fridge until the bone marrow is ready to serve.
- Slice the French baguette into ½” pieces.
- Toast the bread in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes.