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Pho Bo Guide / Tips and Techniques

This is a guideline more than a recipe. The idea is to learn the basic guidelines to develop your own amazing pho recipe for your family. The magic ratio is 1:1 beef parts to water. So decide on how big your pot is and adjust accordingly (remember to account for the volume of bones). We'll provide a sample recipe for 13 qt pot below. If you only have a 7 qt pot, scale down below as appropriate. Please read this guideline in it's entirety several times and watch the video above before embarking and let us know if you have any questions!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: Pho Bo
Calories: 1327kcal


  • 8 lbs various beef long bones femur, etc.
  • 2 lbs serving meat-cut in two manageable pieces shank, brisket, chuck or combination
  • 10 qt water
  • 1 pho spice packet
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar or rocksugar
  • 1 tbs msg optional
  • 2 large ginger knob charred (see above techniques)
  • 2 large yellow onion charred (see above techniques)


  • Char the ginger and onions using one of methods mentioned in the techniques section above and set aside.
  • In a dry pan, lightly toast the contents of the spice packet until fragrant. When cool, place spices in a cloth sachet or large tea strainer and set aside.
  • In place the bones in your stock pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to boil for a few minutes and empty entire contents into a clean sink. Clean the pot of any residue and rinse cold water onto the bones. When bones are safe to handle, rinse them well of any residue and small particles. Add the ginger and onions and spice packet to bottom of clean pot and place bones on top. Add the water, salt, and sugar. Keep heat on high and bring to boil. At this time you can adjust your seasoning adding more salt and sugar if necessary.
  • At this first boil, it's time to add the serving meat. Since we didn't parcook the serving meat, it will release a small amount of residue/scum so occasionally skim this off. Adding the serving meat will stop the pot from boiling so bring the pot back to boil once more and then, turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. You can cover the pot while it's simmering. Depending on the cut you use it can be up to 1-3 hrs (cuts with lots of tendon can take much longer). When the serving beef is done, store them via one of the methods outline in the above techniques section before serving.
  • Continue to simmer the bones for at least 4 hours, preferably longer with lid on and slightly ajar to prevent too much evaporation. If you find the water level has dropped significantly, you can more water back to the orignial level and re-season. But do not add so much as to dilute your broth.


Calories: 1327kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 195g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 581mg | Sodium: 29830mg | Potassium: 3743mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 59g | Vitamin A: 277IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 400mg | Iron: 4mg
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