For The Richest Pho Broth, Beef Knuckles Are The Best Option

Where aromatic noodle soups are concerned, few offer such a deft balance of flavors as pho. Topped with abundant fresh herbs and tender cooked meats, the added components are delicious. Yet the real magic of the soup all lies in the broth. Establishments typically simmer their stocks between three to 12 hours, melding together flavors into a remarkably balanced result.

In Vietnam, two broth options are popular: pho ga — which is chicken — and pho bo, which is crafted from beef. Especially in the latter meat-based option, utilizing the correct cut is paramount. Pho is a bone broth, so bone-in meats loaded with connective tissue are always the best option. Yet simultaneously, it's a soup with low-fat content, so fatty bone-in meats like oxtail will render an unbalanced result. Instead, beef knuckles are the best-suited ingredient for the job; their perfect balance of fat and flavor yields a delectable pho bo. 

Tips for using beef knuckles to make pho

Pho builds its delicious taste through the abundant use of beef bones. Restaurants can craft remarkably savory broths due to the sheer volume used; this quality can be difficult to replicate in a home kitchen. However, a thoughtful cut selection, boosted by a bit of meat and bone variety, can replicate the desired results.

In some areas, beef knuckles may be tricky to find. Instead, search for beef broth bones, which are often sold frozen. Alternatively, head to a farmer's market or specialty butcher to inquire about beef knuckles; many will sell lesser-used cuts for an affordable price. Odd bits of connective tissue, fat, and beef marrow are desirable — but don't neglect the parboiling step beforehand. 

For an extra meaty flavor, consider throwing in some beef shank, too. Many chefs craft their pho with a medley of cuts to make the richest bone broth with an incredible depth of flavor. After it has been simmered gently and deftly seasoned, mouth-watering pho will be yours to enjoy. Don't forget to boil a larger batch since seconds will be welcomed.