There are some beef cuts I never dreamed of cooking. Oxtail is one of them, and I probably never would have if it wasn’t for this blog.
Because of questions from our customers about how to make oxtails, I started researching it. I found several recipes, and have found that most people either love them or have never heard of it. It is a common ingredient in traditional dishes from Italy, South America, China, Spain and Indonesia, but it’s not as common in the U.S.
What is oxtail?
If you’re one of the people that have never heard of it, let me catch you up. Oxtail is exactly what it sounds like — the tail of a steer or cow.
If you stop and think about cattle in the field, you know their tails are almost always moving. That means that it’s a very well-used muscle. When cooking, most of what you cook is bone, and the meat surrounds the bone. The beef around the bone is tougher and very well-marbled — this is a nice way of saying it’s very fatty, and some chefs even call it gelatinous.
How to cook oxtail?
Oxtail requires a very long cooking time because it’s so fatty. I found this original oxtail stew recipe on simplyrecipes.com, and modified it slightly. It took me all day to make, and I think it would have been even better if I stretched it out over two days. However, it was worth it in the end. I now understand why oxtail stew is so popular. If you’re feeling daring and want to try something new. Give this recipe a try.
If you happen to be one of our customers that is purchasing a quarter, half or whole beef, let us know if you’re interested in the oxtail. There’s only one oxtail per animal, so we make it available on a first-come-first-serve basis with those you’re cow-pooling with. If you want it, let us know!
- 3 lbs oxtail
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 cup red wine or grape juice
- 3 cloves garlic (peel on)
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch thyme
For the stew:
- 2 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 2 parsnips, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 2 turnips (or rutabagas), cut in 1-inch pieces
- olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Prepare oxtails by patting dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1-tablespoon olive oil on medium high heat in Dutch Oven or heavy-bottom stock pot with lid. Place oxtails in Dutch Oven and sear on all sides until golden brown. Be careful to not overcrowd oxtails in the pot or they won’t sear. Remove oxtails to plate.
- Add chopped carrots, onions and celery to pot and cook until onion is translucent.
- Add oxtails back to Dutch Oven, along with whole garlic, stock, grape juice/wine, bay leaf, thyme and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a simmer, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until meat is fork tender — this will likely take at least 3 hours, and could take up to 8 hours. When beef is tender, remove the oxtails from the Dutch Oven and skim fat from the top. If you’re making this ahead, you could also place the pot in the refrigerator and let it chill overnight. The next day, scrape off the fat and reheat.
- Heat oven to 350 F. Toss carrots, turnips, and parsnips in olive oil and salt and pepper, and place in a roasting pan. Roast vegetables until they’re cooked through and lightly browned, approximately 1 hour. Set aside.
- Next, strain the liquid from the Dutch Oven. Pour the cooking liquid through a mesh strainer. Discard the solids (vegetable and any bits of oxtail). Return liquid to pot and simmer until reduced by half.
- Add roasted vegetables to Dutch Oven, and the oxtails. Prior to adding the oxtails, decide if you’d like to serve them bone in or not. If bone-in, simply add the oxtails to the Dutch Oven. If not, you can remove the meat from the bone by using a fork or it may be easier to use your hands.
- Heat on low for approximately 45-minutes to one hour. Serve with chopped parsley.
Looking for another recipe with grass fed beef? Here are some other beef recipes.