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The Absolute Best Type Of Beef Cuts To Use For Pho Broth

beef balls pho
beef balls pho - The Image Party/Shutterstock

When developing a pho recipe for one of my upcoming cookbooks, I dove deep to uncover the absolute best beef cuts to use to make pho broth. As a half-Vietnamese person, this has always been a personal mission. After all, pho is bad if the broth lacks taste or is too salty, sweet, or briny. It needs to taste balanced and, well, beefy if you're making beef noodle soup or beef pho.

That said, I discovered the best beef cut to use is something bony, be it beef bones like knuckle bone or, if you're willing to splurge a little, cuts of oxtail or marrow bone. When simmered over time, beef bones impart deeper flavors and complexity to your pho broth. Knucklebones, for example, have marrow and cartilage, which adds collagen to the broth, making the broth silky. After refrigerating the broth, you might notice it turns into jelly. Simmered oxtails and marrow bones add buttery richness, though the broth will have a layer of oil. High-quality cuts of beef bones will add body to pho broth, making it super savory and satisfying.

Historically, pho started out as a smart way for street vendors in Vietnam to use what they had on hand. They turned to leftover beef bones and other overlooked cuts because they were more economical but still flavorful. Packed with cartilage and marrow, these often discarded parts became the secret behind pho-nominal broth flavors.

Read more: 20 Popular Canned Soups, Ranked Worst To Best

After Selecting The Best Cuts Of Beef Bones For Pho Broth, Be Sure To Blanch Them First

bowl of pho
bowl of pho - Nikada/Getty Images

Before you drop your select cuts of beef bones into a pot of water to make pho broth and call it a day, remember it's a huge mistake not to blanch bones when making broth. Blanching the bones will clean them of impurities, like bits of bone shards and blood, and result in a clear rather than cloudy pho broth, which Tasting Table writer Luna Regina describes as "off-putting."

Another tip I wish to impart is to roast the beef bones first. My Vietnamese aunties always roast their beef bones over the stove, but I tend to oven-roast the beef bones first until they're browned, glossy with oil, and aromatic, about 25 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, use an instant pot to save you time, so you don't have to simmer bones to make pho broth for hours. You'll be surprised how instant pot pho can be quite a tasty instant pot recipe.

Now for those who don't eat beef but want to create a delicious pho broth at home, you can always use chicken or pork bones. In addition, vegetarians can use veggies like umami-laden mushrooms and sweet, roasted onions to create a flavorful pho broth.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.