Give me some of that good fat! Marrow is a fat, protein, taste powerhouse, so whip out those spoons and indulge like your European ancestors. —INGRAIN, Summer 2018
Bone marrow is a powerhouse delicacy that levels the dinner party playing field. Serving up a platter of bones cooked on an open fire is about as badass as food gets. Yet the tiniest spoon, or marrow scoop as it was known in 18th-century Europe, is required to scoop out the marrow. By the time everyone slathers the marrow on bread, all egos have been checked at the table.
Pick your favorite iron skillet (enameled, unglazed, or cast iron) to catch the pan drippings and load on the fresh herbs with this crowd-pleaser. The only trick is to avoid overcooking the bones to keep all of that unctuous marrow from dissolving.
Pairing An herbaceous pale ale, India Pale (IPA), or Double India Pale Ale (DIPA) will balance the richness of the marrow bones. Old Man Grumpy (Goose Island), a lively, hoppy, and deceptively light-bodied pale ale, is a good pick.
Makes 6 starters
3 to 4 pounds (roughly) center-cut beef marrow bones
A few leafy sprigs of thyme
Whole head of garlic, peeled
Fresh bay leaves (optional)
Marrow bones in a sealable container and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle a generous glug of oil over bones. Break up the thyme leaves and scatter throughout the container along with the garlic cloves and bay leaves, if using. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Grill for indirect cooking at high heat. If using a charcoal grill, bank the coals on one side of the grill; if using a gas grill, turn burner off on one side. When hot, place a large iron skillet or similar pan on the grill. Add the bones, cover the grill, and cook until the marrow is softened and beginning to loosen from the bone, about 15 minutes (do this in batches if needed). Watch carefully the last few minutes to avoid overcooking and dissolving the marrow.
Bread and brush both sides with olive oil. Grill the bread for a few minutes until nicely toasted. Serve the bread with the bones, lemon wedges, and small spoons to scoop the marrow out of the bones and slather onto the bread.