Our Pitmaster Club can up your game!
Benefits include:

• No more ads, faster page loads!
• "The Pit" forum with tons of info & scores of recipes
• Monthly newsletter
• Video seminars with top pitmasters
• Weekly podcast with news and interviews
• Comprehensive Temperature Magnet ($10 retail)
• Monthly giveaways of Gold Medal grills and smokers
• Discounts on products we love
• Educational and social Meat-Ups
• Support for Operation BBQ Relief
• Support for Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
• Support for AmazingRibs.com!

AmazingRibs.com BBQ Logo

The Science of Soup, Stock, Gravy, and Bouillon

Stocks, broths, bouillons, court bouillons, gravies, consommés, reductions, demi-glaces, nages, soups, soup bases, jus, pan sauces, and sauces, are all flavorful liquids. Just what are they?

Meat stocks are usually made by placing meats and bones in cold water, bringing it to a simmer, but not a boil, skimming off the foam and fat, and then adding vegetables, herbs and spices, and simmering for 2-12 hours to extract the flavors, proteins, and gelatin. Sometimes the meats, bones, and vegetables are browned before simmering to crank up the flavor. After cooking the stock is strained. There are also vegetable stocks made without meat. Stocks can be consumed straight or used as bases for soups, stews, gravies, and sauces. They are also used for cooking grains such as rice, pastas such as couscous, or poaching other foods such as meats. They are easy to make at home from leftovers or they can be bought in cans or boxes. Stocks can be found full strength, condensed, and low sodium. Bouillon (see below) can also be used to make stocks. Open containers of stock should be stored in airtight nonmetal containers. Many chefs freeze stocks in ice cube trays and store the cubes in plastic bags.
Cooks argue over the definitions of broth and stock. Some say that stock is made from bones and broth is made from meat. Not true. Some say stock will gel when cooled and broth will not. Not! For all practical purposes, there is no difference.
A light stock that has been clarified, often with egg whites, to remove large solids. Concentrated consommé with gelatin added can be made into aspic, a flavorful jelly.
A liquid that has been boiled in order to remove water and concentrate flavor.
A very thick, shiny, concentration of veal sauce.
Stock that is cooked down to concentrate flavor but is not a base yet.
Soup Base (aka Cooking Base).
Stock concentrated into a paste. It usually has salt added.
Usually based on a stock, soup typically contains chunks of meats, vegetables, grains, and pastas cooked in the stock. Chowders are soups that are usually cream based. Soups can be thin or quite thick.
Solid cubes, granules, or powders made from highly concentrated meat or vegetable stocks. When reconstituted with water, bouillon becomes stock. They often have a lot of salt added so they are not a good choice for sauces that call for reductions.
Court bouillon.
French for "short broth." This is a simple liquid for poaching meats and veggies made by simmering veggies and herbs. Typically thin and used for cooking seafood.
Stocks that have been flavored with seasonings, wine, milk, juices, etc., concentrated, and thickened with cornstarch or flour to be served on meat, potatoes, and pastas.
Jus or au jus.
The natural juices that run off cooked meat, especially when it is cut.
A thick liquid that is usually highly flavored. It is used to alter the flavor of foods by serving it on the foods or with them.
Pan sauce.
The powerful bits of flavor that stick to the bottom of a pan when meats and veggies are sautéd in it are called the fond, French for foundation. If you remove the meat and veggies, and add liquid like water, wine, booze, or broth, then turn up the heat, the fond will dissolve and make a rich liquid. This can be turned into a pan sauce with the addition of cream, butter, and/or a thickener, preferably arrowroot.

Return to top

Please read this before posting a comment or question

grouchy?1) Please use the table of contents or the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help, then please post your question on the appropriate page.

2) Please tell us everything we need to know to answer your question such as the type of cooker and thermometer you are using. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can't help you. Please read this article about thermometers.

3) If you post a photo, wait a minute for a thumbnail to appear. It will happen even if you don't see it happen.

4) Click here to learn more about our comment system and our privacy promise. Remember, your login info for comments is probably different from your Pitmaster Club login info if you are a member.

Return to top

Return to top

LeaderDog.org Ad on BBQ site

About this website. AmazingRibs.com is all about the science of barbecue, grilling, and outdoor cooking, with great BBQ recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, and unbiased equipment reviews. Learn how to set up your grills and smokers properly, the thermodynamics of what happens when heat hits meat, and how to cook great food outdoors. There are also buying guides to hundreds of barbeque smokers, grills, accessories, and thermometers, as well as hundreds of excellent tested recipes including all the classics: Baby back ribs, pulled pork, Texas brisket, burgers, chicken, smoked turkey, lamb, steaks, chili, barbecue sauces, spice rubs, and side dishes, with the world's best all edited by Meathead Goldwyn.

Brought to you by readers who support us with their membership in our Pitmaster Club. Click here to learn more about benefits to membership.

Advertising. AmazingRibs.com is by far the most popular barbecue website in the world, still growing rapidly, and one of the 25 most popular food websites in the US according to comScore, Quantcast, and Alexa. Click here for analytics and advertising info.

© Copyright 2016 - 2017 by AmazingRibs.com. All text, recipes, photos, and computer code are owned by AmazingRibs.com and fully protected by US copyright law unless otherwise noted. This means that it is a Federal crime to copy and publish or distribute anything on this website without permission. But we're easy! We usually grant permission and don't charge a fee. To get reprint rights, just click here. You do not need permission to link to this website.