I’ve been a stock ecclesiastic for my entire career as a cook. I’ve raged endlessly on the virtues of roasting or smoking animal bones then cooking them down overnight with plenty fresh, clean water.

It’s how I was raised.

Now I’m embarking on a journey toward master stock.

Master stock is like regular stock but better, more nuanced, deeper, richer, more complex.

And making a good one can take upwards of 100 years.

Master Stock vs Regular Stock

Master Stock vs Regular Stock

I first became aware of this elixir over the last few years as I’ve followed a variety of cooks on Tumblr. The Asian ones often speak of ‘master stock’ and refer to it as being a prime weapon in their kitchen.

I’m always looking for weapons to add to my arsenal as a cook. I remember well when I discovered cumin. I wasn’t even in grammar school yet.

Last week I took a bowl of roasted and smoked bones I’d accumulated in my refrigerator (pork chop, chicken backs and pork spare ribs) and pressure cooked them with water for 90 minutes in my old Kuhn Rikon.

I poured the stock into a Pyrex and set it in the fridge overnight. In the morning it was as dense as wet cement. My stocks generally come out like shaky pudding but this one was super rigid.

I scooped out part of it, combined it with water and am using it to make a kettle of Hoppin John right now.

The rest is still in the fridge and will be used as a base for my master stock.

Now I’ll spend the rest of my days ruminating over who will get this treasure upon my death.