Marrow Bones

by Sara on September 28, 2009

roasted marrow bones
When asked what his choice for his last meal would be, this was Anthony Bourdain’s pick. Well, Bourdain would have Fergus Henderson of St. John restaurant roasting his marrow bones, but marrow is surprisingly easy to prepare, though a little daunting at first if you’ve never encountered this delicacy.

Prepared with brown sugar and ancho, spread over toasted slices of baguette, marrow is a delightful marriage of sweetness, richness, spice, and crunch. The ancho and sugar will alter the color of the bones and the upper marrow a bit, but in a good way.

marrow bones marrow bones

In my opinion, the most important step is soaking the bones for 24 hours. If you are at all like me, visuals are important; skip the soak, and you’ll likely be sorry – the finished product will be grey and visually unappetizing. (That’s putting it kindly.)

soaking marrow bones marrow on toasted baguette

On the other hand, after the soak, the bones and marrow will be whitish-pink before roasting; after the roast, the bones and marrow will darken a bit, but the marrow will have more of a pinkish cast in areas. I still tend to concentrate more on the flavors I’m experiencing than the appearance, but I have to say that though there is a place in my culinary world for marrow, it still would not be my last meal. (Steak au poivre and homemade fettucine alfredo would battle it out for my last meal…then again, if it’s a last meal, I’d probably feel entitled to just have both. Plus a dessert or 12.)

Roasted Marrow Bones

4 marrow bones, 2-3 inches high
ancho chili powder
brown sugar
salt
demi baguette
extra virgin olive oil

The day before
Place the bones in a medium bowl and cover with a solution of water and about two tablespoons of salt. Change the water about five more times, as the water color becomes pink.

The day of
Preheat oven to 450*F. Cover an ovenproof skillet or baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Drain the water from the bones and place the bones on a plate. Sprinkle each bone with ancho and then brown sugar. Roast on middle rack for 10-12 minutes and remove from oven.

While the bones are roasting, slice the baguette into 1/2 inch slices. Place on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake until golden.

Use a butter knife to scoop the marrow out of the bones and spread on toast. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda September 28, 2009 at 8:24 pm

I’m a huge fan of bone marrows however have never made it myself. Your recipe looks simple, and the outcome looks delicious. I will definitely give it a go.

Julie September 29, 2009 at 7:03 am

I love marrow bones! My dad is French, and my grandma always makes this wondergul marrow ball soup. It is so good! Thanks for sharing :)

Lan September 29, 2009 at 11:33 am

i’ve had bone marrow once and i loved it. now that i am not living at home, i am at a loss sometimes to find the stuff my mom used to buy. it took it all for granted when my mom did the shopping!

does the local shoppers or giant or safeway have marrow bones in their meat section and i’ve always passed it by?

Cookie September 29, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Growing up in China, my grandma used to simmer marrow bones in water to make a wonderful broth. Then she would let me suck on them after the soup is finished. I LOVED it but haven’t had marrow bones for years now and definitely not cooked this way. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try!

Sara September 29, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Linda, I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Thanks, Julie!

Lan, I’ve seen them in the meat section at some grocery stores, but not all. If there is any sort of meat counter, you could probably inquire, or just find a butcher shop in the area (my local butcher has very competitive prices…some things are even cheaper there).

Cookie, I hope you enjoy it!

Lu September 30, 2009 at 2:07 pm

When I grew up all ribeyes came with the bone and the marrow, even when I was 8 years old everyone gave me theirs. I really miss that cut of meat.

gaga October 11, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Oooh, so rich and delicious! I order this all the time at restaurants but it never occurred to me to make it myself. I’m definitely trying this one out!

Uisgea December 23, 2009 at 12:38 am

I was a little put off by the ick factor of marrow at first–something about eating the gunk inside bones. Now I love it, though. When I worked in Vermont, we topped ribeyes with a marrow crust–think of maitre d’ butter, but with lots of marrow, smoked onions, and panko. Man, I was hooked. I just wish there were more real butcher shops around.

I had forgotten about that until I came across this recipe. I can’t wait to try it. It sounds easy and delicious. The recipe’s very clear, and the pictures are beautiful.

I imagine most marrow winds up in the trash, which is a shame. Maybe that’ll start to change.

I still won’t eat snails or oysters, though.

Sara December 30, 2009 at 7:14 am

Uisgea, I had the same reservations at first. I’d heard great things about marrow, but I had to get past the way it “looked.”

luis July 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Blue Ribbon Restaurant, on spring and sullivan , 2 am with a tanqueray 10 and a glass of tonic to look at….excellent

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