Making meat stock on the stove necessitates standing over a boiling hot pot, scooping weird congealed meat scum off the surface. It is the absolute worst. Sure, you could avoid skimming scum entirely by using a slow cooker, but if you’re stuck with the stove, there’s a simple way to make the worst part of stock making suck a lot less.
Skimming meat scum off the broth itself actually isn’t too bad — but once it’s coated every single square inch of your other ingredients, you’re in for a bad time. To get around this, all you have to do to is leave your spices, aromatics and vegetables out of the pot until the meat stops exuding scum and you’ve skimmed it all off. That’s it.
I learned this from the very first episode of Matty Matheson’s new YouTube cooking show, Just a Dash, in which he makes a vat of oxtail pho. Here’s how Matty puts it:
My usual stovetop stock procedure is basically “chuck everything in at once, half-arse the skimming, and hope for the best,” so seeing this technique in action was a serious lightbulb moment.
Of course you should keep the meat and veg separate until the scum has been skimmed — the fewer ingredients there are in the pot, the less surface area there is for that scum to glom onto. It’s so obvious now that I’m actually mad I spent so many years doing it the wrong way.
Don’t repeat my mistakes: always skim off every last bit of stock scum before adding a single vegetable to the pot. Your life will be much easier.