Beef Pho
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 2 onions, peeled & halved
  • 4-inch piece ginger, peeled & quartered
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 6 pounds beef soup bones
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 5 whole star anise
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 pound piece of beef chuck, rump, brisket or cross rib roast, cut into 2-by-4-inch pieces (weight after trimming)
  • 5 quarts water (enough to cover ingredients)
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 small square of cheesecloth
  • 1½ tablespoons salt, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (if you can find yellow rock sugar, use 1 ounce)
  • For Serving:
  • 2 pounds thin vermicelli or flat rice noodles
  • ½ pound sirloin, thinly sliced (about 1/16th of an inch)
  • ½ onion, sliced very thin
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Condiment Plate:
  • 2 cups raw bean sprouts
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 3 large fresh jalapeños, sliced
  • 1 bunch Thai basil leaves
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Serving Sauces:
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Sriracha Sauce
  1. Place soup bones in a large soup pot and fill with enough water to just cover the bones.
  2. Bring to a boil and allow to boil hard for about 5 minutes, watching carefully so as not to boil over the top. (You will notice a scummy foam form on the top).
  3. During the 5 minute boil, use a large kitchen spoon to skim off the scum as it forms on top and discard. After 5 minutes, remove from heat.
  4. In a clean sink, place a colander and carefully pour bones and liquid to strain.
  5. Rinse the bones until they are clean of scum. Keep all meat pieces that fall off. Also rinse pot clean at this point. —This step will help keep the broth clear.
  6. Place bones and meat back into soup pot and set aside.
  7. Set oven to broil.
  8. Place the unpeeled, halved head of garlic, halved onions and quartered ginger onto a baking sheet. Toss with oil and spread out onto baking sheet.
  9. Broil, watching closely.
  10. Once pieces show some color and char, remove the baking sheet from oven and carefully turn the pieces over. Return to oven and char on the other side. (Just the edges and random spots should be charred, you don’t want the entire piece blackened.)
  11. Place all charred ingredients into pot with soup bones.
  12. In a dry saute pan, saute the star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick to lightly toast the spices.
  13. Place toasted spices onto a piece of cheesecloth and tie shut. Place spice bag into pot.
  14. Fill pot with fresh water (about 5 quarts or enough to fully cover the ingredients, about an inch over the ingredients.
  15. Heat on high just until it is about to boil (you don’t want it to boil hard again), immediately reduce to a low simmer.
  16. Simmer on low for about 6 hours, skimming often.
  17. When ready, remove all ingredients from the broth and carefully strain through a fine mesh sieve. Return strained broth to cleaned pot. (You should have about 4 quarts of broth)
  18. Season the broth to taste with fish sauce, salt and sugar.
  19. Skim off any fat that has risen to the top of the broth.
  20. In a separate pot, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  21. When ready to serve, portion out the cooked noodles into serving bowls. Divide the thinly sliced raw sirloin on top of the noodles. Top with thinly sliced onion, scallions and cilantro.
  22. Generously ladle piping hot broth over the ingredients in each bowl, filling the bowl near to the top.
  23. Serve immediately with Condiment Plate and Serving Sauces.
Recipe by Jennifer Cooks at