February 27, 2023

Pho Bò by Barry Horne

By Online Provenance Butcher
Pho Bò by Barry Horne

Serves 4-6

Prep time: 8 hrs plus


For the Broth:

1kg beef brisket 

3 x halves beef marrow bones cut in half by your butcher

500g oxtail

2-3 white onions

200g ginger 

4 star anise

1 large or 2 small cinnamon stick 

1 tbsp coriander seeds

5 litres cold water 


1 pack of rice noodles 

1 white onion sliced 

10g Thai basil

10g mint

10g coriander 

2 Birds Eye chillies

1 clove of garlic

30ml rice wine vinegar

½ tsp sugar

2-3 limes 

Fish sauce and salt to taste when finishing the broth.


The broth is the base for everything in this recipe and it takes some time and effort but it’s definitely worth it.

Start by cutting the brisket into 2 large chunks and add to a large pot, get your Provenance butcher to cut the marrow bones in half to make smaller to fit in the pot and add the oxtail also into the pot. 

Cover with the water and place on a medium high heat, bring the temperature up quite slowly and you don’t want this to ever come to a boil throughout the whole process. As it starts to come to a simmer the bones will release some blood and protein and rise to the top, you want to skim this off as it comes so it will give you a clearer and cleaner end product. After about an hour all the blood and protein on the surface should stop coming out.

While you're waiting for the broth to simmer take the onions and ginger and cut into large chunks, (leave the skins on the onions as it adds good colour and flavour). Add both to a roasting tray and roast or grill on high until coloured.

Add these to the pot along with the star anise, coriander seed and cinnamon and leave this simmer. A good stock will take anywhere between 8-12 hours - again never let it boil only ever let it simmer gently.

After the 8-12 hours remove the brisket, bones and oxtail. Slice up the brisket, pick the meat from the oxtail and take the marrow and tendons around the bone and chop into small pieces.

Strain the stock and throw away the onions, ginger and spices leaving you with the base stock. Season with fish sauce salt and lime juice to taste, you want it a little salty as before the other ingredients are added.

Pre-cook the noodles in boiling water as per the cooking instructions on the packet and then run under cold water when cooked - keep to one side.

Next, take the white sliced onion and place into a bowl and roughly chop the herbs and mix with the onions. 

Then in a small bowl add the finely chopped Birds Eye chilli, grate in the garlic and add the sugar and vinegar. 

Now to build your Pho. Add a portion of noodles to each soup bowl, add portion out the oxtail, brisket, marrow and tendons to each bowl. Then add some of the onion/herb mixture and pour over the hot stock. Another popular thing to do is add some very thin slices of raw beef to the dish and when you pour over the stock it cooks the beef.

Garnish with some lime wedges and add the vinegar chilli mix as desired.