what is oxtail and how do you cook it

What is Oxtail? 8 Delicious ways to Cook Oxtail

Oxtail is the culinary name for the tail of cattle, but what is oxtail and how is it cooked? Oxtail is a type of meat that comes from the tail of a cow. It is a popular ingredient in many cuisines around the world, known for its rich and flavorful taste. The name “oxtail” can be misleading, as it does not actually come from an ox, but rather from a cow. The term “oxtail” originated from the time when oxen were used as working animals and their tails were commonly used for cooking.

Oxtail is a tough and fatty cut of meat, which makes it perfect for slow cooking methods such as braising or stewing. The tail is typically cut into sections, with each section containing a piece of bone surrounded by meat and connective tissue. When cooked for a long period of time, the collagen in the connective tissue breaks down, resulting in tender and succulent meat.

One of the reasons why oxtail is so prized in cooking is its rich flavor. The meat has a deep and beefy taste, and the bones add an extra depth of flavor to any dish. Oxtail is often used in hearty stews and soups, where it lends its robust flavor to the broth. It can also be used in other dishes such as braised oxtail, oxtail ragu, or even oxtail tacos.

Oxtail can be found in specialty butcher shops or supermarkets that carry a wide variety of meats. It is usually sold frozen or fresh, and can be quite expensive due to its popularity and limited availability. When purchasing oxtail, it is important to choose pieces that are well-trimmed and have a good amount of meat on them.


Common Methods of Preparing Oxtail Meat

Oxtail Soup

Oxtail soup is a classic and hearty dish made by slow-cooking oxtails with vegetables, herbs, and spices. It’s often simmered for several hours until the meat is tender and the broth is rich and flavorful. Some variations include adding barley, potatoes, or other grains to make it even more substantial.

Braised Oxtail

Braising oxtail involves searing the meat to develop flavor and then cooking it slowly in a flavorful liquid. The liquid can be wine, broth, or a combination of both. Vegetables and aromatics are often added, and the dish is cooked until the meat becomes fall-off-the-bone tender. It’s typically served with a reduced sauce or gravy.


Oxtail can be used in stews, where it’s combined with various vegetables and seasonings. The long, slow cooking process helps tenderize the tough meat and infuse the stew with its rich flavor.

Oxtail Ragu

Oxtail can be used to prepare a rich and savory ragu sauce, which is often served with pasta, such as pappardelle or tagliatelle. The oxtail is slow-cooked until it shreds easily and is then combined with tomatoes, wine, and herbs.

Grilled or Barbecued

In some cultures, oxtail is marinated and grilled or barbecued, resulting in a flavorful and slightly charred dish.

Jamaican Oxtail Stew

In Jamaican cuisine, oxtail is often used to make a highly seasoned and spicy stew. It’s typically simmered with Scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, and various spices.

Korean Oxtail Soup (Galbitang)

In Korean cuisine, oxtail is used to make a clear and nourishing soup called “galbitang.” The oxtail is simmered with Korean radish, garlic, and various seasonings to create a comforting and flavorful broth.

Chinese Braised Oxtail

Chinese cuisine features braised oxtail dishes, where the oxtail is simmered with soy sauce, ginger, and other Chinese seasonings. It can be served with noodles or rice.

These are just a few examples of how oxtail can be prepared, but its versatility and richness make it a popular choice for creating flavorful, comforting dishes. It’s important to note that oxtail requires a long cooking time to become tender, so patience is key when working with this cut of meat.


In conclusion, oxtail is a flavorful and versatile cut of meat that is prized for its rich taste and tender texture. Whether used in stews, soups, or other dishes, oxtail adds a depth of flavor that is hard to replicate with any other cut of meat. So, next time you come across oxtail on a menu or at the grocery store, don’t hesitate to try it and discover the deliciousness of this unique cut.

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