Spent Chicken Bones...or NOT?!?!?

I know…it sounds like a really creepy porn flick…

…but it’s not.

Suppose I buy a whole chicken (already killed and dressed for cooking), and use it to make a batch of homemade chicken soup:

I rinse it, I put it in a stockpot with aromatic vegetables and peppercorns and bay leaves. I bring it all to a boil in enough water to cover, and then simmer it for hours until the poor bird is falling off the bone.

I then cool the project, strain the stock, pick through the meat (and return it to the stock), and proceed from there to continue the Soup Project (more veggies, wild rice, barley, noodles).

I toss the spent veggies and bay leaves, and have to consider what to do with the chicken remains (bones, gristle, etc.).

QUESTION: Is there any point in keeping the remains of the chicken, roasting them in the oven, and attempting a second batch of stock out of them; or are they totally spent and useless and therefore can be thrown away with everything else?

I realize I could try this to find out myself (which I probably will), but it seemed quicker to find out if anyone else already knew.

I am getting a mite peckish for chicken soup, though…

Spent and useless. In fact, if you do it right, the bones will be crumbly after you make the stock, having given up their stores of collagen to the pot.

I just did this last night. I say the bones are spent. I have considered it though, cause the dark stock is really good.

I’m making King Ranch Chicken out of the chicken, though, and putting the stock into freezer bags for later use. The broth is waiting in the fridge for me to get home and skim the fat.

What about stuff like leftover fried chicken bones? Assuming it’s going to kill the germs we left on the bones from eating them. (I know it’s kinda gross, but this is the Dope after all…)

After making stock, I wouldn’t even re-use the meat. I usually reserve the breasts for the meat in the soup; they don’t add much to the stock and there’s plenty of meat on them.

Wait, what’s the difference between chicken stock and chicken broth?

Stock is from roasted bones that are then boiled, broth is from boiled meat and bones. I mis-spoke above.

Thanks. It’s something I wondered about after seeing cans of both in the supermarket.

Actually, chicken stock and chicken broth are kind of used interchangeably. Usually, stock is made with more bones (they need not be roasted), while broth does not necessarily contain bones. Stock reduces better than broth because of the higher gelatin content (because of the bones).

I regularly make stock from leftover fried chicken bones, buffalo wings, etc. When cleaning up after a meal, the ziploc baggie sits there getting any leftover scraps of chicken parts. I also toss in the dregs of white wine, tops of onions, and anything else either unconsumed or trimmed during the prep process.

Once the baggie is full (it might take a few meals), it comes out of the freezer and into the stock pot. Boiled for 10, simmered overnight, chilled & fat skimmed, then reduced.

Haven’t died yet!

(ps - I do the same with steak night scraps).

I agree that the chicken bones are spent. However, if you make beef or veal stock, you can make a second stock (or remouillage) from the bones. You will need to reduce it to be as rich and colorful as the first “wash”, but it is worth the effort. If you have the freezer space, you can even do a third “wash” of those bones, which will yeild a very bland stock that you can use to start your next batch of stock with instead of water.

So…chuck the bones it is.

Cool. Thanks, folks.

Don’t chuck the bones!

Wire them together into a headless chicken skeleton for Hallowe’e’n!

FWIW on a BBQ board I hang out at sometimes the favorite way of cooking chicken is to spatchcock it. (cut out the backbone and butterfly it) you then throw the backbones in a freezer bag. Any bones that may be left after eating the spatchcocked bird also go into the bag. If you buy a rotisserie chicken from Sam’s or Costco when you are done, you also freeze the carcess. When you have a couple of bags full chicken bones, it is stock making time.
Makes a stock to die for.

My chicken soup is always a two-day process. First I simmer the chicken parts until the meat is done. Then I pull the meat off and put it in the fridge. Everything else goes in the slow cooker overnight. Next day I strain & defat, (this is where I throw out the bones) and make the soup. The meat is the last thing that goes in, when the soup is finished. That way, I think I get better flavor without cooking the hell out of the meat. I hate soup where the meat is all shredded and stringy.

Chicken bones are small and hollow. If you didn’t bone it out before cooking, then your long cooking has already extracted all the bones have to offer. The bones of pigs and cows, though, still have more to give, and you can crack them open to expose the marrow to your stock water. Merle Ellis suggests keeping a freeze bag of bones until you have enough to make stock.

The long cooking is needed to break down the tendons, ligaments, and such into gelatin. Chicken that is “done” (hot enough) will not be nearly as tender and full-flavored as chicken that’s slow-cooked.