Braised Oxtails Recipe

I love braised oxtails with butter beans. Because I rarely eat red meat anymore, I don’t eat nearly as much of it as I used to but I still very much appreciate a plateful of sweet, succulent, well-cooked braised oxtail with Rice & Peas. In the Caribbean oxtail is used to prepare soups or stewed and served with other side items. In Jamaica we marinate the meat with aromatics like garlic and scallions and allspice. The meat is then braised before being cooked until it’s ready to fall from the bones. There are many other ways to prepare oxtails but my absolute favorite is the Jamaican way. The recipe below provides simple, easy steps for preparing Jamaican style braised oxtails using 3 different cooking methods. Whichever way you choose the result will be equally delicious.

braised oxtail with rice and peas and steamed callaloo

Just a century or so ago oxtail and the other extremities of the cow, including the skin and feet was considered useless. The fifth quarter as it is often called was weft for slaves and poor folks who could not afford the finer cuts of meat. Nowadays, oxtails, actually the tail of the cow, has become a prized delicacy that is now featured on many award winning restaurant menus.

washing oxtails

enough cold water to cover it completely and vinegar (about ¼ cup per cup of water) is the defacto washing liquid that most Jamaicans use for washing meats. If you don’t have vinegar the juice from fresh cut limes or lemons work just as well.

Thyme, onions or scallion (or both) lots of garlic and allspice + a few slices of scotch bonnet pepper are a must when seasoning oxtails. Add salt and other firm vegetables like carrot to suit your taste.

cooking-oxtail

When the oxtail is cooked to fork tender the fork inserts easily and the meat releases from the bone with a slight twist it’s time to add the remaining seasoning and then the butter beans to the pot.

braised oxtail with butter beans

Oxtail meat is actually very lean but the meat is surrounded by a thick layer of fat. Trim most of the fat before cooking for a healthier meal. Better yet buy the meat already trimmed and cut from a good meat shop. A single oxtail weighs between 2 and 4 pounds. Gone are the days when oxtail was cheap.  As Caribbean cuisine has grown in popularity the price of oxtails continues to rise. Nowadays oxtails often costs more than some choicier cuts of beef. A cow only has 1 little tail after all.

Braised Oxtails Recipe

This recipe provides simple, easy steps for preparing Jamaican style braised oxtails using 3 different cooking methods. Whichever way you choose the result will be equally delicious. The hardest part of cooking braised oxtail is the potential that it could take several hours of cooking to make the meat tender.
Course Red Meat
Cuisine Jamaican
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. oxtail
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 med onions
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 ½ C. water
  • 1 – 15oz. Can Butter beans
  • Scotch bonnet pepper optional

Instructions

  1. Stovetop/ Dutch Oven Method
  2. Wash oxtails in cold water with vinegar. Drain water in a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. When oil is hot, add sugar. Let sugar burn until almost black. Add oxtail, garlic and salt. Stir well. Cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to med- low cover pot securely and leave oxtails to simmer for 1 hour. Check for tenderness after 1 hour.
  3. If needed, add 1 cup water stir pot, replace cover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. If needed add more water and cook until tender. If tender, add butter beans, stir and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until gravy thickens. If desired, you may also add carrots or potatoes to the pot at this point.

PRESSURE COOKER add all ingredients except butter beans to pressure cooker and cover. Pressure meat for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes before opening. Complete cooking on stovetop.

Recipe Notes

Pressure Cooker Method reduces cooking time by 2 hrs
Wash oxtails in cold water with vinegar. Drain water in a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. When oil is hot, add sugar. Let sugar burn until almost black. Add oxtail, garlic and salt. Stir well. Cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes stir well, add 2 cups of water, seal the pressure cooked and cook for 30 minutes. Cool down pressure cooker and release. Check for tenderness. Follow remaining recipe steps.

Oven Cooking Method
Wash oxtails in cold water with vinegar. Drain water in a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. When oil is hot, add sugar. Let sugar burn until almost black. Add oxtail, garlic and salt and 1 cup of water. Stir well. Cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Transfer meat and seasonings to a deep oven proof container.

Cover and let oxtails cook in the oven for 90 minutes to 2 hrs. If needed, add 1 cup water, stir, replace cover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. If needed add more water and cook until tender. If tender, add butter beans, stir and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until gravy thickens. If desired, you may also add carrots or potatoes to the pot at this point.

Cooking braised oxtail
Advertisements

Share Your Thoughts And Questions

%d bloggers like this: