The Ins and Outs of Eating Oxtail

Posted by on July 21, 2020 in Food, Drink & Nutrition with 0 Comments

Rumba Oxtail Stew

Back when an animal was butchered and no part went to waste, eating oxtail was common. Nowadays you may not even be able to buy it at your everyday grocer, and you may have never eaten it, or hell – you may have never even heard of it.

Nearly 50 percent of its weight is bone with a small amount of meat surrounding each piece.  It makes delicious soups and stews and oddly enough the best way to eat it is with your fingers and pull the meat off the bone. Similar to a chicken wing.

Regardless of your knowledge level on this specific cut of meat, this article will break down everything you need to know. From where it comes from and its nutritional value to how to incorporate Oxtail into your next family dinner – we’ve got you covered.

Where Does It Come From?

Common in Korean and Italian dishes, this cut of meat comes from the tail of the cow. Why is it called oxtail then?

It used to come from the tail of an oxen and dates back to when an entire animal was used and no part was wasted. The tail is skinned and cut into sections, each section containing a tailbone, some marrow in the center and a bony portion of meat.

Due to the large amount of collagen the tail is a gelatin-rich meat.

Is It Good For Me?

According to the Livestrong website, one serving (approx. 100 grams) of Oxtail contains:

  • 262 calories
  • 34 grams of total fat
  • 233mg of sodium
  • 0 carbohydrate
  • 93 grams of protein

Since oxtail is most commonly stewed in some sort of soup or broth with other ingredients the nutritional value will vary.  To increase the nutrient content of oxtail try adding a variety of vegetables into the soup.

Check out the link in the recipe section below for inspiration.

Do I Store It Like I Store Other Steaks?

In short, yes.

If not cooked right away oxtail should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you want to freeze it, it can be stored in the freezer for up to a year, just  be sure it is well wrapped.

How Is It Normally Cooked?

The main idea is to melt/discard as much fat as possible in the process of cooking it.

The preferred method for most when cooking oxtail is to slowly braise in a liquid such as a soup or stew. Oxtail is a bony, gelatin-rich meat, which is usually slow-cooked as a stew or braised.  It is often a traditional stock base for a soup.

Cooking the oxtail slowly turns the bone and cartilage into gelatin which can make a tasty sauce and brings out the rich flavors and provides optimal tenderness.

What do we mean by slowly? Plan for at least 3 hours to get to maximum flavor and tenderness. And although you may not win a presentation award due to the oxtail’s knobby appearance, the deep, rich beef flavor can’t be beat.

Although traditional preparations often involve hours of slow cooking, modern methods usually take a shortcut by utilizing a pressure cooker.

Is There A Recipe I Can Try?

Of course there is.

This Southern Oxtail Stew recipe would be perfect for a chilly autumn night and only takes 15 minutes to get prepped.

Take 4lbs of browned oxtail meat combined with onions, okra, diced tomatoes, beef broth and spices; simmer for multiple hours and serve over rice or potatoes. The perfect autumn or winter meal to eat before cozying up for movie night.

How much does it cost?

What used to be considered a throwaway cut of meat is now one of the more expensive. In the 1960’s and 1970’s oxtail was still very cheap and even considered a poor-man's meal. Now, it runs about $2-6/lb.

There is no obvious reason why oxtail became more expensive but some attribute it to celebrity chefs rediscovering the cut of beef and highlighting it as a main ingredient causing the demand and price to increase.

Don’t Forget the Defrost Time

If you buy the oxtail directly from a local butcher and use it on the same day, then you’re good to go. However, if you find it at the grocery store chances are it is frozen, meaning you will have to plan ahead to thaw it out in the fridge. Although you can defrost it in your microwave if you are in a pinch.

Make it a Meal!

Oxtails are the main ingredient for many popular soups and stews and is the perfect ingredient for a meal on a cold-weather day. After reading this you are fully equipped with all the information to make it a popular dish in your home as well.

Reference Links:

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