Bone Butter. Yeah, you heard me right.

I’m a voracious reader, and was reading Sourdough Sagas, which consists of several personal accounts written by people who took part in the Alaskan Gold Rush.

While there were a few parts of the stories that were tough to beleive, there was one fact that sort of stuck up it’s ugly head and said “Welby, this has got to be bull****.”

According to more than one of the accounts, gold rushers would take the antlers of a deer or elk, cut it into pieces, and boil it for a couple of days. They would then let it cool for an afternoon and, well the quote follows:

“The mixture would cool, and to the top would rise a white butter that, with salt added, was as fine as any butter that came from a cow. The natives called this “bone butter.””

What the hell? First of all, what could there possibly be in an antler that would maintain the consistency of butter after being boiled? Secondly, why in the hell would the “natives” need butter, which is, I believe not a Native American delicacy. Thirdly, who the hell was hungry enough to try this recipe in the first place?

A quick search of the Internet turned up Bone Butter fish and “hard nipples get licked, nuzzled and buried in bone butter” but nothing else.

The wisdom the of Teeming Millions is needed now.

I think we’re talking about lard here.

Well, I found this about beef bones…

From here:

Could they be referring to the marrow in the antlers?

Also found something about “Hartshorn” which was a leavening ingredient used in cookies (particularly of Scandanavian descent). It was made out of the antlers (and hooves) of deer, but is now replaced by ammonium carbonate.

There’s also a reference to “Hartshorn shavings affording a kind of jelly” here: (scroll down).

Oooh! Better yet, look here:

And finally…

Here is a recipe for Hartshorn Jelly, just for you.


There’s nothing the Millions can’t do when they put thier minds to it.


(Of course there’s collagen in there, too, read Ca+P “as opposed to keratin”.

They may not contain marrow, but I would think it’s pretty likely they contain fats.