Braised Oxtails – A Poor Man’s Meat That is Rich

Oxtails?  That is often how people react when I mention cooking oxtails.  What are they exactly?  An oxtail is actually the tail of a steer, which means they are beef. An oxtail has a large bone, and is very gelatinous,which makes them perfect for stewing or braising.  They are also often used for making stock.  Oxtails are eaten the world around, from China and Korea to Jamaica and the USA.

Although I call oxtails a poor man’s meat, they are no longer as inexpensive as they used to be.  I buy mine at Costco, which sells them for about $3.99 a pound.  Another place to find them is Asian  or Hispanic markets.  Oxtails are often sold in packages which weigh between 2-4 pounds.  Look for a mix of large and smaller oxtails, not just small, as these are almost all bone.

uncooked oxtails

This recipe for braised oxtails is simple.  Once the prep work is done, you just walk away from the stove and let them cook for a few hours.

Braised Oxtails

4-5 lbs oxtails

Kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 TB oilve oil

1/2 large onion, thinly sliced

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp dried thyme

1 cup red wine

4 cups beef or chicken broth

1 medium bay leaf

Season the oxtails with salt and pepper.  In a large, deep pot such as a dutch oven, heat oil.  Brown the oxtails in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan.

browing the oxtails

Once all the oxtails have been browned, saute the onion about 3 minutes, until softened.  Add the garlic and thyme, saute 1 minute, then add red wine to deglaze the pan.  Stirring constantly, scrape up any browned bits stuck to the pan while wine reduces by half.  Return oxtails to pan, add stock and bay leaf.  The stock should almost cover the oxtails.  Add more or less, as needed.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover pan.

Braising the oxtails

At this point you can walk away from your stove.  Check in with your oxtails every once in awhile, making sure they are happily simmering away.  After 1 1/2 hours of cooking, turn the oxtails over.  Cover the pan again, and walk away.  Cook for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until meat is very tender.  Remove the oxtails from the pan, and if necessary reduce the liquid until slightly thickened.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Braised Oxtails

I like to serve the braised oxtails with rice or mashed potatoes as a side dish, because they both soak up the braising liquid so well.  And like most braised or stewed dishes, it will taste even better the next day.

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista

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  1. Because oxtails are a lot of meat and fat, I would allow about a half-pound to a pound per person. Try and get larger oxtails which have more meat to them.

  2. I can’t get 4-5 lbs. of oxtail in one go, but I’m going to make this tonight. How many servings does your recipe make? I’ll adjust the recipe for now depending on how much oxtail I can get. I’d still like to know how big this recipe is for next time.

    Thanks!

  3. I don’t have a tongue recipe! I remember my mom cooking it when I was young, and I enjoyed eating it. I think it’s time to start working on a recipe.

  4. This was by far the easiest and most flavorful recipe EVER! I was very intimidated to cook the oxtail until I found your recipe…my whole house smells homey and rich!!

    Do you have a good tongue recipe? We tried to cook it once and the smell was very off putting until the end. Thanks again! You’re awesome!

  5. I will be cooking the braised oxtail on Sunday; I don’t drink any type of alcohol/wine. Can I use something in place of the wine?

  6. Any dry red wine will work, such as a cabernet. My rule is if I won’t drink it, don’t cook with it, so don’t buy super cheap wine. Ask your wine merchant for a not too expensive, but decent wine to cook with, one you can enjoy a glass of while the oxtails braise.

  7. What kind of red wine did you use? I Dnt know anything about wine and would like to use the right one

  8. I just bought some from a restaurant (already cooked). I had curried goat for dinner, but bought the oxtail to eat tommorow! I bought it because I have never had it and I’m a sucker for things I have never had before! I don’t know how it tastes yet, I’m full from the meal I had, so I won’t taste it until tomorrow! I hope it’s great!

  9. love them live in wash.d.c.market on fl. ave close always bought mines there price high but they were worth it .always would spend at less 25/ 30$ to buy them looking for a place near me to buy the cases of ox tails.

  10. I love oxtails. I added a can of stewed tomatoes and it just added a little sweetness to the braise to compliment the thyme and garlic. Great recipe!

  11. I LOVE OXTAILS!!!!! Had the most wonderful “Braised Oxtails with Aromatic Vegetables” at a Cuban restaurant when last in Boston. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Will let u know how it works out. Thanks sooooooooo much!

  12. You are so right about purchasing oxtails at Asian or Hispanic markets. The prices are a lot more reasonable there. They are as expensive as steaks at local grocery stores.

    I’m going to add some carrots and squash towards the end of the braise. I can’t wait to cook them.

  13. No Heidi,the results would not be the same. 3 hours simmering is not the same as 3 hours in a low temperature slow cooker. You would need to cook them longer in the slow cooker.

  14. I can’t wait to try this recipe!!! I’m wondering if I could do the 3 hour simmering process in a crock pot? Would the results be the same?

  15. Thanks for this recipe. I’ll try it tomorrow. I’ve been using oxtails to make hot beef borscht; they give a very beefy, rich quality to my borscht. I recently dined at a Houston restaurant called Alfreda’s Soul Food and I ate braised oxtails there. They were heavenly. I can’t wait to try your recipe.

  16. OMG!!!! This is such a great recipe. I generally go out for oxtails because I didn’t think I would be able to make them. So better than the restauarant version. Thank you very much.

  17. I tried your recipe yesterday and it turned out perfect…I used a Merlot and was pleasantly surprised by the flavor. My honey definitely enjoyed the dish!

  18. I’m from Colombia and I love oxtail soup, braised oxtail, it is such a rich, tasty meat. It needs to be cook until tender. Love it!!! Thanks chef!

  19. I’ve never eaten oxtails before and then I came across your recipe. I prepared them for dinner and got praises galore. All praises and due to you and the picture really sold the dish. Thank you

  20. Any red wine that you would drink is fine. As long as it is not too sweet, like a dessert wine. I wouldn’t put my really expensive wine in a braise, but if it is drinkable, then it is usable!

  21. Ok…my husband and I just polished off a bowl with some white rice and it was amazing! I have never in my life sucked the meat off a bone, but there was not a scrap of meat left in that bowl.

    This was my first time making oxtails and I had no clue I could cook this well…thanks!

  22. I just picked up a double pack of Oxtails at Costco today and realized I forgot how to make them! So glad I came upon this site, but now lamenting the fact my tails look rather lean! I’m cooking them up tomorrow and have my fingers crossed.

  23. You are 100% correct about the $$$ and the places to buy oxtails. Have you tried to smoked or BBQ oxtails?

  24. Will have to try this … as my dad says, ‘any cut of meat is a good one so long as you know how to cook it!’ Great use of photos.