Pork Tonkotsu Broth

A bowl of Pork Tonkotsu Broth with ramen, eggs, greens, pork and green onions

Using Your Noodle
Ramen is having a moment. It’s been in the moment for quite some time. But, it seems like there are more and more ramen shops popping up. Going for ramen is what the hip kids are doing, I guess. Last year my daughter was all about meeting up with her friends to get Boba. This year it’s all about ramen.

Full disclosure, I like ramen, but I prefer an udon or pho to ramen. That does not mean, however, that I don’t reach into my pantry every once in a while and grab a packet of ramen for lunch.

Gone are the days of college-style ramen. No more hot water and using just the seasoning packet that contains a year’s worth of sodium in one serving. More often than not, I use the noodles but make the rest up on my own.

One search on the internet will tell you that I am not alone in my ramen makeovers. Eggs are an immensely popular add as are fresh green onions. Some people add peanut butter for that peanut sauce effect. Dried and fresh mushrooms are great. Kimchi is a good one as is Chinese sausage. The key, no matter what you put into your ramen, udon, or pho, is the broth.

Let’s be real, if you are looking for first-rate ramen your best bet is to go somewhere and order it because the best ramen places have taken the time to make good broth. This means hours of simmering bones and aromatics to achieve a rich and flavorful base for the ramen.

Most people don’t have the time to do it themselves or just don’t want to hassle with it. I get it. But, because I am weird this way and wanted to challenge myself, I decided a couple of weeks ago to take the time one Saturday and make enough Pork Tonkotsu Broth to freeze and have on hand for whenever I need it. Here’s what I discovered.

The Tonkotsu Broth I made was great. The flavor was spot on. Was it that much better than what I would get from takeout? No. Is it nice to have some in the freezer for later when you have an emergency ramen craving? Absolutely. Would I make it again? Maybe.

It is a time-consuming all-day thing that I would encourage you to try on a weekend when the weather outside is frightful and it’s looking like a movie marathon is in your future. Instead of feeling like you did nothing all day, at the end, you would have dinner!

Pork Tonkotsu Broth Recipe
Yields approximately 8 cups

4 to 5 pounds of pork bones (in 2 to 3-inch pieces)
1 onion
12 to 16 cups water

Prep the ingredients

Have your butcher cut the pork bones into 2 to 3-inch length pieces if they aren’t already that size. Peel and halve the onion.

Blanch the bones
Cover the bones with cold water and bring it to a boil. Cook the bones at an aggressive simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the bones.

Make the Pork Tonkotsu Broth
In the stockpot, combine the rinsed bones, onion, and water. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and skim off the brown foam that rises to the top.

Then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 8 hours. To keep the bones covered, add water as needed.

Raise the heat to high and bring to a rolling boil. Cook at a hard boil, occasionally stirring with a spoon, for another 1 to 2 hours.

Strain the broth
Place a strainer or colander over a large bowl, and pour the broth into it. Discard the solids.

Cool the broth
Allow the broth to cool until it reaches room temperature. Then refrigerate it for at least 4 hours.

Skim the fat
Skim off the fat from the top of the broth. If you’d like, you can save it to use to season your ramen or as a cooking fat.

To store
Store the broth in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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