Oxtail recipes have quickly become some of the most popular comfort food dishes out there. The weather may be hot now, but when the temperature drops, there’s nothing better than a braised oxtail dish, or oxtail stew. If you’re new to the world of oxtail, you’re going to want to introduce it into your recipe repertoire ASAP! Read on to learn what oxtail is, how to cook it and 40 protein-rich oxtail recipes you’ll love!
What is Oxtail?
Oxtail is the tail of a cow. It got its name because it once came from the the tail of an ox, but now it comes from the tail of a cow of either sex. The tail is skinned and cut into sections, and each section has a tailbone with marrow in the centre, as well as a bony portion of meat that surrounds the tail.
The tail is a gelatin-rich meat due to a large amount of collagen. It’s best used for stocks, soups and braises and has been used in many cuisines all over the world, from Jamaican to Asian to Italian. Oxtails have so much flavour and body that it’s hard to compare any other meat to it. You can find it at most supermarkets and your local butcher shops.
While it used to be an undesirable cut of meat in the old days, it’s now a popular choice among chefs all over the world. It’s ideal for long slow simmer, wet cooking methods due to the toughness of the meat and the high gelatin content.
How to Cook Oxtail: 6 Tips
There are a number of different ways to cook oxtail, and all of them take time. Oxtail tastes best when it’s slowly cooked and falls off the bone. Here are our best tips for getting the most flavour out of this protein-rich meat.
1. Don’t Forget Defrost Time
If oxtail is offered at your supermarket, you’ll likely only be able to find it frozen. In this case, you have to make sure to factor in defrost time. Plan to make your oxtail recipe at least a day ahead of time so there’s sufficient time for it to defrost in your fridge. The process of cooking oxtail is already lengthy, so don’t forget to add in extra time for this step.
2. Look For Uniformly Medium-Sized Pieces
When you’re cooking pieces of meat together for the same amount of time, it’s preferable for them to be as close to the same size as possible. You don’t want to have smaller pieces that overcook in the same pot of larger pieces that need more time. Look for uniformly sized pieces in the one and a half to three inch thick range. With smaller pieces like that, you also cut down on cook time!
3. You Don’t Need To Use All The Fat
Many recipes will tell you to trim down on the fat of the oxtail, or alternatively, you can look for less fatty cuts. It’s naturally a very gelatinous meat, and you don’t want it to be excessively greasy or oily. When there’s too much fat, you’ll be forced to keep watch over the pot, skimming fat from the top.
4. Slow Cooking Will Be Your Best Friend
The meat of oxtail is pretty tough, and the entire thing is rich in collagen, so slow cooking your oxtail is key. The collagen needs time to break down into soft, flavourful gelatin and you want your meat to fall off the bone! If you don’t have a slow cooker, cook the oxtail in liquid for several hours over low heat. It’s the best way to get the flavour you’re looking for.
5. Braise It
If you want your oxtail tender and flavourful, braising it is an excellent choice. Slow braising in a liquid such as red wine or stock turns the bone and cartilage into gelatin that is rich and tasty. Plan to cook it for at least 3 hours – oxtail cooks particularly well in slow cookers. Let it sit overnight for even more of a flavour boost!
6. Oxtail Stew
One of the most popular oxtail dishes is oxtail stew. It’s the perfect dish to keep you warm on chilly nights. Boil oxtail, garlic, gravy and onions in a stockpot of water for two hours, until the meat falls off the bone. Depending on the type of stew you’re making, you can add the other ingredients at this point. For instance, if you want a spicy stew, add hot sauce, paprika, and hot chili flakes. Let the mixture simmer for another two hours.
10 Jamaican Oxtail Recipes
1. Oxtail Stew (Jamaican Style) | Chef Lola’s Kitchen
2. Slow Cooker Oxtail and Butter Beans | Cooking Maniac
3. Jamaican Oxtail with Broad Beans | All Recipes
4. Jamaican Oxtail and Beans | Jamaicans
5. Jamaican Oxtail Stew | Delish
6. Savoury Oxtail in a Rich and Thick Gravy | Caribbean Pot
7. Easy Jamaican Oxtails | I Heart Recipes
8. Jerked Jamaican Oxtails | Food So Good Mall
9. Authentic Jamaican Oxtail Recipe | Jamaican Cookery
10. Oxtail Gnocchi Stew | Cooking Maniac
10 Southern Oxtail Recipes
1. Southern Smothered Oxtails | I Heart Recipes
2. Country Oxtails Recipe | Food Network
3. Oxtails with Gravy | All Recipes
4. Soul Food Braised Oxtails | The Spruce Eats
5. Oxtail Stew Served Over Soft Rice | Lana’s Cooking
6. Southern Oxtail Stew | Rumba Meats
7. Barbecue Slow Cooker Oxtails | I Heart Recipes
8. Glazed Oxtails | Simply Recipes
9. Hearty Oxtail Soup | My Nourished Home
10. Southern Style Stewed Oxtails | Cookpad
10 Asian Oxtail Recipes
1. Easy Thai Oxtail Soup | Hot Thai Kitchen
2. Chinese Braised Oxtails | The Woks of Life
3. Braised Oxtails with Star Anise and Chinese Greens | Epicurious
4. Malaysian Oxtail Soup | Taste of Asian Food
5. Asian Style Braised Oxtail | Ang Sarap
6. Pressure Cooker Filipino Oxtail Soup | Jay’s Sweet N’ Sour Life
7. Oxtail Curry | Ang Sarap
8. Chinese-Style Braised Oxtails with Baby Bok Choy | Fine Cooking
9. Chinese Oxtail Soup | Omnivore’s Cookbook
10. Korean Oxtail Soup | Hip Foodie Soup
10 Italian Oxtail Recipes
1. Italian Guazzetto Oxtail Recipe | The Spruce Eats
2. Oxtail Braised with Tomato and Celery | NY Times
3. Roman Oxtail Stew | Saveur
4. Oxtail Ragu | All Recipes
5. Braised Oxtail Raviolo | Great British Chefs
6. Polenta with Braised Oxtail Ragu | The Cozy Apron
7. Coda Alla Vaccinara (Oxtail Stew) | Great Italian Chefs
8. Braised Oxtail Ragu | Kitchn
9. Braised Oxtail | The Splendid Table
10. Gnocchi with Sicilian Oxtail Tomato Sauce | Christina’s Cucina
Oxtail is delicious, flavourful and protein-rich. Use these tips and recipes the next time you’re craving a hearty meal!