what is oxtail

Oxtail is the culinary name for the tail of cattle. It is a bony, gelatin-rich meat known for its intense flavor. Oxtail was traditionally made using the tails of oxen, but today, it is commonly prepared using the tails of beef cattle.

Oxtail can be prepared in various ways and is popular in many cuisines worldwide.


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.

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