How To Make Your Own Vietnamese Pho With Bison Meat
I absolutely love eating pho. It’s flavorful, soothing, and incredibly satisfying. For the past eight years, I lived mostly in big cities on the West Coast where amazing pho restaurants were plentiful. Now I live in New Mexico, and have fallen in love with the Land of Enchantment. Although it’s easy to get my fix of green chile and sopaipillas, great pho is not so easy to come by.
It turns out that making pho isn’t as complicated as I thought, and with some prep work it’s possible to make a really delicious broth which is the foundation of really tasty pho. There’s also the fact that the vast majority of pho restaurants don’t necessarily use well sourced meat, and often other questionable ingredients are added like MSG.
Bison Meat Is Always A Winning Choice
Pho is traditionally made with beef or pork, and you could certainly make a delicious version with our wild boar or grass fed beef. I decided to make my own pho fusion by using bison meat. The rest of the recipe is pretty traditional besides the choice of meat so do whatever sounds good to you! I simply can’t resist the rich flavor of our bison.
This recipe will serve a crowd, and it’s easy to heat up leftovers - the raw sirloin and lightly cooked chuck roast for serving will keep for a couple days in the fridge and can be added fresh each time. The perfect warming, soothing meal that lends itself well to time spent with friends and loved ones and good conversation.
The Most Delicious Pho (It’s All Easy Peasy Once You Make The Broth)
- 2 three inch pieces of ginger, unpeeled and sliced in half lengthwise
- 2 onions, peeled
- 5 pounds bison broth bones
- 2 pounds bison chuck roast
- 2 scallions, cut into 4 inch long pieces
- ⅓ cup high quality fish sauce
- 2 ½ tablespoons coconut sugar
- 8 whole star anise pods
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
- 1 black cardamom pod
- 2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 pound dried pho noodles
- ⅓ pound beef sirloin steak, sliced extremely thin (slice it while still slightly frozen to achieve sliced as thin as possible)
To garnish the pho:
- Onion sliced super thin
- Chopped scallions
- Mung bean sprouts
- Thai basil
- Lime wedges
- Thai chilies sliced thin
- First, char the ginger and onions. You can either hold them over a flame or put them directly on a stove burner. Use tongs and flip frequently until they’re becoming fragrant and charred black in some spots. Let them cool a bit and rinse away the blackened parts of the skins.
- In a large stockpot, add five quarts of water and bring to a boil. Cut the two pounds of chuck roast in half. When the water is boiling, put the bones, meat and charred ginger and onions back into the pot. Add in the fish sauce, scallions and coconut sugar. Reduce the heat and bring to a simmer for about 35 minutes, or until the bison chuck is tender. Throughout cooking be sure to skim any foam or fat off the surface of the liquid with a large spoon.
- Remove one half of the bison chuck roast from the pot. Transfer to a bowl of ice water so that it stops cooking. Once it’s completely cool, place in a container and put in the refrigerator. This portion of the meat will be sliced and added back into the pho when it is served. The other half of the chuck roast stays in the broth while cooking to add flavor.
- Toast all of the spices - cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, fennel, and star anise - over medium low heat in a dry cast iron skillet. Cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Place the toasted spices in a reusable tea bag or a piece of cheesecloth (or any clean piece of cloth will do) tied up with some kitchen string. Place in the broth.
- Simmer the broth for another four hours, covered. Add the tablespoon of sea salt to the broth. Continue to simmer and skim the top as needed.
- When you’re ready to serve the pho, taste the broth and season accordingly with sea salt, coconut sugar and fish sauce.
- Cook the pho noodles according to the instructions on the package. Place them in bowls for serving when they’re finished cooking. On top of the noodles in each bowl, add slices of the bison chuck roast and slices of the raw bison sirloin steak.
- Bring the broth back to a boil. Ladle it into each serving of pho (the hot liquid will cook the meat). Garnish generously with toppings and lime juice.