Oxtail is a popular ingredient in many cultures, and it has been enjoyed for centuries. Despite its name, oxtail is not just the tail of an ox anymore, but can also be the tail of other cattle animals such as cows, bison, or even water buffalo.
It is a versatile cut of meat that can be used in a variety of dishes, from stews to soups and even tacos. Oxtail is a popular ingredient in many cuisines around the world, from Korean braised oxtail to Jamaican oxtail stew.
It is also a common ingredient in traditional British cuisine, where it is often used to make hearty stews and pies. If you are new to cooking with oxtail, you may be wondering what it tastes like and how to prepare it.
In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about oxtail, including its taste, texture, and how to cook it. Whether you are a seasoned chef or a beginner, you will find plenty of useful information to help you make the most of this delicious cut of meat.
What Is Oxtail?
Let’s begin by taking a closer look at what oxtail is. Traditionally, oxtail exclusively meant the tail of an ox. However, the term is now used for the tail of other cattle animals such as cows, bison, and veal.
When oxtail first began to be eaten, it was because people didn’t want to waste any part of the animal and found ways to eat the tail as well. Now the tail is eaten because people want to!
An oxtail typically weighs around seven to eight pounds before being skinned and divided into portions for sale on the market. The tail contains meat that is rich in gelatin, thanks to its substantial collagen content.
Once it is cut, the oxtail pieces can vary greatly in size as they gradually taper and become smaller toward the end of the tail. The center of the tail contains marrow, which is surrounded by a combination of meat and fat.
The Taste Of Oxtail
Oxtail might not be the most appealing cut of meat that you will ever see, but that doesn’t prevent it from being delicious! In basic terms, oxtail tastes like beef but it has a very rich and deep flavor.
It has a texture that is very similar to short ribs but is more tender and silky. When oxtail is cooked correctly, it will taste soft and will melt in your mouth. Cooking it correctly is not a quick and easy process, however.
Oxtail meat is tough when raw so it needs to be slowly simmered at low temperatures for several hours to get the right texture. Don’t try to rush cooking oxtail as the flavor and texture will suffer!
This is part of the reason why oxtail is so popular in dishes such as soups and stews. Many of these naturally need simmering for a long time so oxtail is the perfect meat for them.
Oxtail also includes a large amount of bone running through it and this also makes it ideal for soups and stews. The bone can be used for beef stock which becomes the base of soups and stews. The oxtail bones are full of flavor so you will get the most delicious stock from them!
Nutritional Value Of Oxtail
As well as tasting great, oxtail has many nutritional benefits that make it a good choice to add to your diet. It’s especially rich in fat and collagen. Both of these are linked to keeping your skin looking young, firm, and supple.
Collagen can also help with the growth and overall health of your hair and nails, too. Oxtail can also help to strengthen your bones, prevent degenerative ailments, and the process of developing and regenerating cells and tissue throughout the body.
The bone marrow found in oxtail is also rich in several important nutrients, including iron and phosphorus. It’s also a good source of Vitamins A and E. However, due to the fatty content of oxtail, it does have a high level of cholesterol.
If you’re trying to watch your cholesterol levels and are at risk of heart attacks and strokes, you should be careful when eating oxtail.
How To Cook Oxtail?
The most popular way to utilize oxtail has long been to use it as a base for soups and stews.
However, while oxtails are now being utilized in a variety of dishes other than these, the preferred approach for achieving tenderness and extracting the utmost flavor from the limited amount of meat is still through long, slow braising in a liquid.
Slow-cooking oxtail allows the bones and cartilage to transform into flavorful gelatin, resulting in a delightful sauce or stock. When preparing braised oxtail, it is necessary to allocate a significant amount of time for cooking—no less than three hours.
If you skimp on the cooking time, your oxtail will be tough and won’t have the melt-in-the-mouth tenderness that it should have.
The long cooking times mean that oxtails are particularly well-suited for slow cookers and pressure cookers. To get the most out of your oxtail, consider allowing the recipe to sit overnight to further elevate the flavors.
How To Store Oxtail?
Like any other meat, oxtail can be safely stored if you’re not going to be using it immediately. Make sure that the oxtail is well-wrapped and none of the meat is exposed to the air and you can keep it in the refrigerator for around three to five days.
If you’re planning on using the oxtail after this, then the best bet is to freeze your oxtail. Again, it needs to be well-wrapped so that none of the meat is exposed to the atmosphere inside the freezer.
Freezer bags are great for this but you can use other methods as well. Once frozen, your oxtail should remain good for up to a year.
In this article, we took a closer look at oxtail and how it tastes. We explained that oxtail has a very rich and deep flavor that is very similar to beef.
It can be a little tough so it requires careful preparation and should be cooked at a low temperature for several hours to ensure it becomes tender and delicious.
Oxtail has traditionally been used as a base for soups and stews but can be braised. It also makes a great beef stock!