What is Oxtail?

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small commission.

bowl of cooked oxtail

Looking for the answer to What is oxtail? Well, simply put, an oxtail is the tail of a cow or an ox. Once considered a humble ingredient, it has gained popularity in recent years for its robust taste and tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

What to Make

In different cuisine styles, you will find a variety of oxtail preparation methods. For instance, in Caribbean cooking, it is often stewed with spices, beans, and vegetables. In Korean cuisine, you might encounter a dish called “kkori gomtang,” which is simmered to make a rich soup, often enjoyed with rice. In Italian cooking, it is a star ingredient in “coda alla vaccinara,” a classic Roman dish that consists of a tomato-based, slow-cooked braise.


How to Buy

raw oxtail

Choose the Best One

When you purchase oxtail, you will likely find it cut into sections, making it easy to use in your desired dish. It is a bony, gelatinous meat, which means it requires slow cooking to bring out its true flavor and tender texture.

When you’re shopping for oxtail, always look for a fresh, vibrant color. The meat should be a deep red-brown hue, with a thin layer of fat surrounding it. It’s best to buy it from a reputable butcher or meat counter, as supermarkets may not offer the same level of freshness and quality. Make sure the pieces are uniform in size so they cook evenly.


How to Cook

Before you begin, it’s important to clean your oxtail. Rinse it under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Trim off any excess fat, but leave some for flavor. Now you’re ready to season it. Common seasonings include:

Massage the seasonings into the meat and allow it to marinate for at least an hour, ideally overnight.

There are various ways to cook oxtail, but here are a few methods you can try:

  1. Braising: Brown the oxtail in a hot pan with oil, then add vegetables and liquid (such as water, stock, or wine). Cover and simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender.
  2. Slow Cooker: Place the seasoned oxtail, vegetables, and liquid in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  3. Pressure Cooker: Sear the oxtail in the pressure cooker, then add vegetables and liquid. Cook at high pressure for 45 minutes to an hour.
  4. Oven: Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C). In a Dutch oven or oven-safe pot, sear the oxtail, then add vegetables and liquid. Cover and cook in the oven for 2-3 hours until tender.



bowl of oxtail stew

How is oxtail stew made?

Season the oxtail pieces with salt, pepper, and other spices of your choice. Then, brown the pieces in a large pot with some oil. Once browned, remove them from the pot and add your choice of vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and celery. Cook the vegetables until they’re soft, then return the oxtails to the pot along with some liquid, like beef stock or water. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for a few hours until the oxtails are tender and the flavors have melded together. Serve with a side of rice, potatoes, or your favorite grain.


How did oxtail get its name?

The term “oxtail” comes from the fact that this particular cut of meat is taken from the tail of cattle, historically oxen. Although it is now mostly sourced from cows, the name has remained the same.


What is the price of an oxtail?

The price of oxtail can vary depending on factors like the supplier, demand, and region where it is sold. Generally, it can range from $4 to $10 per pound or more. Check with local butchers or grocery stores for the current prices in your area.


Is oxtail halal?

Oxtail can be halal if it is sourced from an animal that has been slaughtered according to Islamic law. This means that the animal was healthy, killed in the name of Allah, and the blood was properly drained from its body. If you’re looking for halal oxtail, make sure to purchase it from a halal-certified butcher or supplier.


What does oxtail taste like?

Oxtail has a rich, beefy flavor that is enhanced by its high amount of gelatin and collagen. These components give oxtail dishes a unique, silky-smooth texture when cooked for a long time. The taste is similar to other cuts of beef but with a deeper, more robust flavor due to the bone and marrow content.


What part of the cow do oxtails come from?

Oxtails come from the tail of the cow. They are made up of segments of bone surrounded by layers of meat, gelatin, fat, and connective tissue. Due to their unique structure, they are often used in slow-cooked dishes like stews and braises to fully break down the collagen and create a rich, flavorful dish.

Substitutes for Vinegar

What is Yuzu Sauce?