Some people find oxtail pretty hard to cook with, but when appropriately prepared, oxtail is a great meat cut, especially when soups and stews.
Oxtail is pretty hard to work with, even from the preparation stage, which needs a lot of skill to skin and butcher, and it’s no wonder why it’s one of the more expensive meats on the market. Nonetheless, when cooked low and slow, oxtail will give you the most decadent and sumptuous dishes.
Read on as we discuss what oxtail is, how to prepare it, and what you can do and cook with them.
What is Oxtail?
Oxtail is simply the tail of beef cattle.
Ox falls in the category of draft animals commonly used for centuries. Draft animals are domesticated animals trained to do work like pulling wheeled vehicles.
If you’re wondering what oxtail meats are, oxtails are rich in collagen and high in fat. An oxtail cut is oval, a combination of the tail bone, meat, and a layer of fat, and weighs approximately 7 pounds.
How to Prepare Oxtail
Traditionally, the best way how to cook oxtail is to cut it into pieces or chunks, approximately 2 inches each part. It can be cooked in various ways, but it’s most commonly stewed or braised.
So, how to prepare oxtail before cooking, you say? Before you begin to season and cook oxtail, they should be adequately cleaned. After thoroughly washing, place them in a paper towel to dry.
Oxtail can be stored for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator if not consumed right away or in airtight packaging in the freezer for up to a year.
How Long to Cook Oxtail
To achieve its maximum flavor, oxtail should be slow-cooked or modernly cooked using a pressure cooker to break down the cartilage and connective tissue, releasing a rich flavor.
Slow-cooking also produces a delicious broth soup.
What Does Oxtail Taste Like?
Despite the odd appearance, its taste is surprisingly delicious and worth trying.
Beef shank and oxtail are meat that both come from the cow. Although they may differ in many ways, they taste very similar.
Compared to beef, oxtail has a higher fat content and less moisture. Beef, on the other hand, has more protein. Both can be cooked using different spices to enhance their flavor.
Oxtail is one of the tastiest parts of a cow that can be cooked in many ways. It can be found in various cuisines such as Italian, British, Jamaican, and Asian cuisines.
Some recipes are stovetop oxtails and braised oxtails, but oxtail stew and oxtail soup are the most famous.
It can be served and enjoyed with rice, mashed potatoes, or your favorite side dish. In Mediterranean countries, it is mainly paired with pasta and crusty bread.
Oxtail Stew Recipe
Oxtail stew is one of the most popular recipes as it is simple and easy to prepare.
You will need the following:
- 3 lbs. Oxtail
- One can of tomato paste (6 oz)
- 4 cups beef broth
- One onion (chopped)
- Six cloves of garlic (minced)
- One potato (cubed)
- A pinch of thyme
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven on medium heat. Season the oxtails all over with salt and pepper. Sear them in batches to avoid crowding the pan until both sides are golden brown, then set aside.
Here’s a tip: To achieve the perfect browning of oxtails, dry them thoroughly with a paper towel and toss in some flour or cornstarch. This will also help thicken the sauce.
Saute the onion and garlic, then add the tomato paste. Cook until the paste turns a little brown.
Add the oxtails to the pot, stir in broth, add thyme and bring the pot to a boil. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for three hours until the meat is tender.
While waiting until the meat is done, toss the potatoes in a roasting pan, then season it with salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes in the oven to 350F for an hour.
When the meat is tender, remove the oxtail from the liquid, then skim the fat using a fat separator or ladle. Add back the oxtail together with the roasted potatoes.
Reduce the heat to medium for 30 minutes, then garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy.
How to Make Oxtail Soup
Oxtail soup is a classic recipe that originated in London. It may require little work, but the result will be worth it. This delicious soup is excellent comfort food that is perfect for cold days.
Here’s what you will need:
- Olive oil
- 2 lbs oxtails
- One onion, one celery stalk, one large carrot (chopped)
- Bay leaves
- Tomato Puree
- 300 mL redwine
- 1L bone broth
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic bulbs
Place the ingredients into the pot, except the vegetables, cover the pot, then bring to a gentle boil for 3 hours. Check occasionally if the meat is fork-tender.
Remove the soup and let it cool slightly. Scoop out the oxtail from the broth. Discard the bones, then shred the meat using a fork. Remove the solidified fat on top of the soup using a ladle.
Throw the vegetables into the soup broth and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes until tender. Put back the shredded meat, and add some salt and pepper taste. You can also add some stock if the broth is too thick.
Serve as is, or sprinkle some parsley leaves.
Health Benefits of Oxtail
Oxtail is known as a great source of collagen. Collagen is an essential protein for our body’s repair and growth.
With over 70% fat, oxtail is a great energy source and ideal for people on a high fat/low carb or no-carb diet.
Collagen also helps improve sleep quality. The amino acid glycine present in bone broth helps our body clock’s regulation, lowering the body temperature to prepare us for sleep.