3.361 Sagol Tang

-Cycle 3, Item 361-
31 (Mon) December 2012

Sagol Tang


by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

with Wife and Dominic

Sagol are beef shank bones.  The term refers metaphorically to the four ("sa") bones ("gol") comprising a cow's limb set.  Cut into cross sections, the bones are boiled for several hours in water to derive stock.  The process that I employ at home is identical to the steps involved in cooking oxtail (see 3.111 Ggori Tang).  Due to the nature of sagol (more marrow, for one thing), the broth ends up milky in appearance and creamy in texture, as opposed to the gumminess of oxtail broth (resulting from connective tissue broken down).  Though prized for its perceived nutritional value (do bones have nutritional value?), the absence of meat leaves sagol broth relatively flavorless, making it more suitable as a base stock for soups that include other components (see for example 2.007 Ugeoji Sagol Tang).  

38,000 won for 1.5 kg, which isn't cheap but produces 3-4 strong liters of stock per rendering, up to 3 renderings possible (each subsequent rendering less intense). 

After the first rendering, the bones already begin to hollow out. 

Sliced daepa, similar to leek, is an essential garnish for most Korean beef soups. 

All natural, powdered beef bouillon. 

Accordingly, serving the broth as a standalone soup ("tang") would be somewhat unusual, as here.  In fact, I made a large batch this evening for use in tomorrow's ddeok guk, a rice cake soup traditionally eaten for breakfast on New Year's Day (see generally 1.361 Ddeok Guk).  With the excess, I conceived a noodle soup similar to seolleong tang (see generally 2.328 Seolleong Tang), sans the beef.  But the broth was so plain, despite a generous dash of powdered beef bouillon for extra flavor, that the noodles came through tasting a bit pasty.  Solus, however, seasoned with salt and pepper and garnished with sliced daepa, the broth was exquisite in its elegant austerity.  

The initial concept.


  1. curious to know, how many hrs of boiling?

  2. it depends on which rendering. the first rendering will yield a pretty thick stock after about 4-5 hrs, plus another couple hours to cool it down and skim the fat. the second rendering will require about 6-7 hrs for a comparable batch, but there won't be much if any fat to skim. the third rendering will take at least 8 hours to produce a decent stock, probably closer to 10, but it still won't be as thick as the first 2 batches. supposedly, a fourth rendering is possible, but it never really seemed worth it to me (speaking from a position of spoiled affluence, of course).

    what i might do is make a batch on friday night and let it cool overnight, then make ddeok guk for lunch with it on saturday, put on another batch in the afternoon and use it for some other soup at dinner. on sunday, i'll make a 3rd batch all day, then freeze it for later use.