Korean Ox Tail Bone Marrow Soup
Korean ox tail bone marrow soup is full of collagen. All you need to do is to add water to ox tail bones and simmer for hours. Serve with rice and kimchi.
Every winter my mother simmered ox tail bone marrow soup (kkori gomtang, 꼬리곰탕) to feed us. She spent nearly two days to simmer this collagen rich soup saying that there was no better food than bone marrow soup to withstand the harsh winter of my hometown in Korea.
She believed that bone marrows have a magical power to strengthen our physical resistance to fight against the cold. Maybe her belief was right, or maybe it was the tremendous amount of clementine oranges we ate during the winter.
For any reason it maybe, we spent most of our winters without much sickness.
Types of Bone Marrow Soups
There are several types of bone marrow soup in Korea; Selungtang (설렁탕), Gomtang (곰탕), and the Sagol-gook (사골국) are the common names you might heard of if you like Korean bone marrow soup. The main difference is in the type of bones used and the addition of meat in the simmering process.
- Selungtang contains chunks of beef such as brisket or flank steak simmered with the bones. Gomtang is general name of bone marrow soup that can be considered in both ways.
- Gomtang can be made with cow’s head bones, tail bones, or leg bones. Here I made ox tail bone marrow soup. We call it Kkori-gomtang (꼬리곰탕). Ox tails are available in many grocery stores.
- Sagol Soup is made with bones only and the marrows inside the bone makes the soup quite milky.
How To Clean Ox Tail Bones
You will need to soak the ox tail bones in cold water for 1 hour.
Within 30 minutes, the water will turn bloody. Change the water and continue to soak.
Rinse the bones and cut off any visible fat and skin.
Simmering Ox Tail Bones
Mix the bones with some water and boil for a few minutes.
Then, drain all the water. You will need to pre-boil these bones before the actual cooking to get rid of unpleasant smell and impurities from the bones.
Now add clean water again to the bone and simmer. The amount of water is about 3 times the volume amount of bones. Just eyeball it. Simmer for 6-7 hours.
Now you will see the water turned into slightly milky broth.
Take the bones out and pull all the meaty parts off the bone. You will add the meat back to the broth and chill it. The bones will go back to the pot and add more water again to simmer for the second time, another 6-7 hours
I added a little less water this time and the broth seems much thicker and more opaque. Take out the bones and add the broth to the first batch.
If you want, you can simmer the bones again for the third time. Then you can discard the bones.
Chill the broth and meat overnight. You will see the hardened fat on top. You will want to remove the fat unless you have a different idea.
Now you have jellied marrows that can turn into soup when heated. This jellied marrows are full of collagen.
You will need to season the soup after it is heated. All you need is good salt (sea salt), pepper, and some chopped green onion.
How To Serve Korean Bone Marrow Soup
Koreans like to add rice to the soup and serve with either/both well fermented radish and cabbage kimchi. So comforting and good~!
Yes, it takes nearly two days to complete, but you can make a whole batch to last. The bone marrow soup freezes beautifully and can last months.
I use the broth as base of other kinds of soups, and even in risottos. Check my pumpkin mushroom risotto recipe. It’s a simple recipe that can turn Korean rice into fabulous risotto with this bone marrow soup.
Cooking Ox Tail Bones In Electric Pressure Cooker
If you want to save time, you can cook ox tail bones in an electric pressure cooker. Just add bones and water, and cook for 1 hour in pressure cooking. Natural steam release setting for 10 minutes, then quick release. Repeat the same process for 2 more times.
More Soup Recipes
- Korean Beef Radish Soup (Sogogi Muguk)
- Spicy Korean Chicken Soup (Dakgaejang)
- Beef Seaweed Soup (sogogi miyeok guk)
Korean Ox Tail Bone Marrow Soup
- 4 lbs ox tail bones
- salt and pepper
- chopped green onion
- Soak the ox tail bones in cold water for 1 hour, changing the water half way.
- Cut off any visible fats or loose skin attached. Add the bones to a large stock pot and add water to cover the bones completely. Bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the bones and discard the boiling water. Rinse the bones with water.
- Put the bones in a pot again and pour water that is 3 times the volume amount of bones to the pot. Bring to a gentle boil, cover with a lid, and simmer for 6-7 hours over low heat.
- Take the bones out of the pot and let them cool. Collect the broth in a large container and cool as well. When the bones are cool to touch, Pull the meat off the bones and add to the broth. Keep the broth and the meat in a fridge.
- Return the bones to the pot and pour the same amount (or a little less) of water to the pot. Simmer again for the second time, 6-7 hours. Drain the broth and combine with the first batch, and chill.
- You can simmer the bones again for the third time if you wish. Follow the same step.
- When the broth is chilled overnight, you will see hardened fat on top. Remove the fat. You will have jellied bone marrow and meat pieces on the bottom.
- To reheat, simmer the bone marrow soup in a pot until hot. Ladle into a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper according to your taste. Sprinkle some chopped green onion. Serve hot with rice and kimchi.
Hello Holly! Thank you so much for your recipes! My husband LOVED your ground beef curry! I followed your recipe here for the ox tail soup and it turned milky white but it didn’t gel? This is something I cannot master with any of my broths 🙁. Do you know why it didnt gel this time?
It depends but some ox tail bones don’t have much bone marrow to gel up. It occasionally happens with ox tails. Some people add a few pieces of beef shank bones when they simmer the ox tails to add more bone marrow.
Did you chill the broth long enough to harden the fat?
Is there some modifications that can allow this to be made in an instant pot?
Forgot to ask: if I have a very large pot can I just remove the meat after 6 hours, put the bones back in, and continue simmering for another 6 hour adding more water as it gets low? Or do I have to reserve the first broth and make another one with new water? What would the difference be?
I think people who have their soup turn brown might also be simmering it on very low heat like a European style broth. Turning the heat up a little higher to a light boil makes the fats incorporate into the broth, producing the milky look and texture.
Hi! I followed the directions pretty closely but my broth is really more brownish than the pretty white milky color. Any idea why?? Thanks!!
Did you soak the bone in the water before you boil it? Also did you boil the bone for a few minutes and discard the water before you start the real simmering?
Do you have any suggestions to prevent the broth from turning brown? After the first boil, I think it might have to do with the timing of pulling the meat off the bone. I was wondering if you have any tricks up your sleeve to prevent this from happening.
Thank you very much. I think you’re wonderful 🙂
Have you soak the bones in water to remove the blood and preboil for a few minutes (discarding the boiling water) before you simmer to collect the broth? That will help.
I let it all soak for 30 minutes, but I think that wasn’t long enough. So, I’ll try again for one hour. The other thing I’m curious about – what is the difference between kkori-gomtang, sagol-guk, and seollangtang?
Kkori-gomtang is made with ox tail bones. Gomtang/sagol/seolluntang are all bone-marrow soups. Sagol indicates bones with marrow. Gomtang has bones and parts of cow organs. Seollungtang includes sagol with other small bones and some meaty parts. These days, there are not much difference between gomtang and seollungtang.
By the way, thank you so much for your reply! 🙂
How do you freeze something like this? I have always had a hard time freezing bone broth correctly. And when you are ready to reuse, how would you scoop it out from being frozen?
I divide the broth into several ziplock bags and freeze them. Much more convenient to store that way.
When I need to serve, I run the desired amount of ziplock bags in hot water or defrost in a microwave to loose the solid. It helps the broth to come out of the bag easily, then transfer it into a pot. Then I simmer over low heat until the solids turns into liquid, and heat through. They melt quite fast.
If you freeze the entire broth in one container, it will be very difficult to scoop out unless you want to heat the entire container as is. Hope this helps.