The original pho was an economical, resourceful way to use unwanted cuts and parts of a cow. These days, because of rising food prices and the bone broth trend, the cost of bones has gone up. Finding good bones can be hard too. They are not always available in huge selection so you can pick through them. And sometimes, they’re not stocked at all.
I’ve been contemplating sourcing strategies and talking to butchers about the cost of bones. Here are ideas I’ve gathered while brewing pho broth and writing The Pho Cookbook.
Bones are not only wanted for bone broth but also desirable as pet treats. Given that, you have to kind of shop competitively for bones. For example, ask your local butchers what day they get their bone delivery, and when you should shop for them. My butchers typically get whole leg bones and then saw them into smaller pieces.
The fact that many other cooks are also scouting for bones, I don’t despair. Overall, the supply is greater than before. A positive outcome of the bone broth trend is that they’re are available in many places. I made a very large batch of pho recently for book-related events. To make sure I had what I wanted, I began collecting my bones a week before.