Well I finally tried my hand at making pho this weekend. It came out OK, but was really lacking in meaty flavor.
Here is what I did...
I took 4 pounds of beef neckbones and 1 pound of chuck roast, covered in about 6 quarts of water. I brought to a simmer and skimmed all the scum off for about 30 minutes. When there was no more scum to be skimmed i added 2 onions i had roasted, a 4 inch piece of ginger i had roasted (of course i washed off any black skin from the onions and the ginger), a chunk of rock sugar, 3 tablespoons of fish sauce, 5 star anise, and 6 cloves. I simmered this very very gently for 3 and a half hours. I removed all of the meat and bones, strained through a cheesecloth, refrigerated, skimmed off a bit of fat. And then reheated so I could taste and finish the seasoning. While it tasted nicely of spices, it was lacking any richness or meatiness that i am accustomed to at pho joints. What else to I need to do, or how should i change the recipe next time to make it better. Any suggestions on how to tweak what I did to make it great?