What Does Oxtail Taste Like? A Detailed Flavor Guide

Oxtail tastes like beef with a depth of flavor; it’s used in comforting stews and soups, requiring slow, low cooking for tenderness.

what does oxtail taste like

Oxtail comes from an Ox, traditionally, and from beef cows today; and it tastes like beef. However, the beefy oxtail taste in recipes has a depth of flavor that few other cuts of meat can compare to.

With Oxtail, you can create the ultimate comfort foods of stews, soups, and even casseroles.

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What is Oxtail anyway?

Oxtail tastes like beef because it comes from a cow. Initially, Oxtail came from Oxen and may still be in some parts of the world.

However, Oxtail from oxen is not as common as it once was. So, the title has been assigned to a cow’s tail, whether that cow is a bull, steer, or heifer.

Oxtail is exactly as advertised, other than being from a cow, as opposed to an ox. The tail of a cow, steer, or ox is flavorful.

They also produce a beautiful broth and must be cooked low and slow if you want it to be tender.

Cuts of Beef

How much meat is in the tail of a cow?

A cow’s tail can weigh five or six pounds, depending on the size of the cow, and is cut into pieces that are one-half to a full inch in thickness.

As the tail gets smaller, so does the diameter of the cuts of the Oxtail.

Is Oxtail cheap meat?

The Oxtail was one of the cheapest meats at one time. Even though almost every cut has value, some have less than others, and the Oxtail was considered a lowly menu item.

That was the case until chefs flaunted its wonders by cooking it in ways that made it tender, appealing, and tasty (similar to other lesser-known cuts).

You must consider a cow only has one tail so that five or six pounds is all a butcher gets to process and sell.

While they get plenty of meat from the cow for other cuts of beef, such as roasts, steaks, and ground meat, of course, the price of Oxtail is high due to its limited availability and popularity.

Oxtail, over the years, has become a delicacy, thus driving up the price. In the last few years, I’ve rarely seen Oxtail under ten dollars a pound.

Used in homes and restaurants as an ingredient in many recipes, Oxtail is a treat that most of us can only purchase for special occasions. But, a little oxtail goes a long way; a pound can make several quarts of a beautiful soup or stew.

So, you can use a minimal amount of Oxtail in your recipes and get a huge flavor and high yield, which makes it cost-effective.  

What do Oxtails taste like?

Oxtail tastes like the best piece of melt-in-your-mouth beef you’ve ever eaten, and what it lacks in looks, it makes up for with extraordinary taste (similar to beef cheeks).

Why is Oxtail so delicious?

Oxtail is not pretty and is one of the oddest-looking meats you will ever cook. It has the appearance of pieces of fatty meat around a white core. That white center, with meat all around it, is bone marrow.

Bone marrow is what adds the rich flavor, collagen, and nutrients to oxtail broth, soup, and other dishes made from this luscious culinary delight. The slow cooking method at a low temperature also affects the flavor of dishes made with Oxtail.

What meat is similar to Oxtail?

If you make a recipe that calls for Oxtail, you can replace it with bone-in beef short ribs, veal neck, or veal shank. Osso Bucco, a traditional Italian dish, uses a veal shank as the star of the plate.

These cuts require a low oven temperature and ample time to melt the marrow and draw the collagen from the bone. It is these flavors that make these meats tastier than many other cuts.

Is Oxtail tough meat, or is it tender?

The tail is muscle, sinew, fat, bone, and marrow in the center. So, Oxtail tends to be tough unless it is adequately cooked.

It is not a meat that can be hurried and will need hours of roasting or stewing at a low temperature to become tender.

However, once it reaches tenderness, not many cuts of meat can compare to Oxtail’s velvety smoothness and exquisite flavor.

Oxtail recipes make perfect comfort food.

Braising oxtails — is it necessary?

If you have the time and equipment (a Dutch oven or similar oven-proof pot), then take the time to braise your Oxtail for a few minutes. Braising means you brown the Oxtail on both sides before adding water and your other ingredients to the pot.

If you use a Dutch oven or pressure cooker for cooking your Oxtail, braise it in the pot, then add your liquid once you’ve browned the meat. You then finish cooking the Oxtail in the oven at a low temperature.

You can braise Oxtail before putting it in the crockpot or not. The extra time for this procedure will add great flavor to your dish and the juices that make the broth or sauce.

If you are in a hurry, you don’t need to braise your Oxtail first. Also, if you are making soup with Oxtail, or cooking it in a crock pot, braising is not required but recommended.

Oxtails smothered in gravy (aka oxtail stew) — a Southern star

Simply put, oxtails smothered in a sauce are much like beef stew, only better. Much, much, much better.

When served over steamed rice, creamy mashed potatoes, fresh green veggies, and crusty bread or biscuits, it will put a smile on all the faces around your table.

You can find many recipes online for Oxtail with gravy; each is a bit different than the next. Some are served as meat and sauce, or you can add veggies to them during the cooking process, giving you a meal in a pot.

Oxtail soup — traditional comfort food

Homemade soup is one of my favorite meals. Oxtail can help you create many variations of this classic recipe. The traditional recipe, which is great comfort food, calls for tomato and assorted fresh vegetables.

However, I sometimes use canned or frozen vegetables instead of fresh when necessary for convenience and still have great soup.

Oxtail stew – Jamaican style — adds a little spice to the mix

The most significant difference between traditional oxtail stew and Jamaican-style oxtail stew is the marinating of the meat, which begins the tenderizing process.

Jamaican oxtail soup is also spicier with a sweetness, giving it a bolder flavor than the traditional recipe. Butterbeans are also an ingredient of Jamaican oxtail soup that sets it apart from other recipes.

Osso Bucco — is made from an oxtail alternate, veal shank

One can use a veal shank in place of Oxtail. However, can one use Oxtail in place of veal shank, as in Osso Bucco?

Yes, you can, and it is a less expensive alternative than the veil shank in the traditional recipe. But unfortunately, Osso Bucco commands a hefty price when served in restaurants, and veal shank is generally more expensive than Oxtail.

However, you can get the same dish at home, at a much lower price, by using Oxtail, the right ingredients, and patience.

What is the best way to slow cook Oxtail?

Oxtail can be cooked in a covered Dutch oven, in the oven, or at a low temperature on the stovetop.

You can also pressure cook oxtail, which will considerably reduce cooking time. It can take Oxtail over three hours to become fork tender, depending on the temperature you are cooking them at when cooked in the oven.

You can cut that time to less than an hour with a pressure cooker or appliance like the Instant pot. A slow cooker, however, on the low setting, can take up to eight hours to cook your Oxtail when set on low. Even when set on high, a crockpot will take about four hours to cook your Oxtail to the tender stage.

Is Oxtail fatty?

Oxtail is very fatty, so you must clarify your broth by removing some of the fat after the cooking process. Once your Oxtail is cooked, you can cut away some of the fat from the meat.

It is best to cool the broth and skim the fat from it before you continue with your recipe. This is another part of the process of cooking Oxtail that takes time.

However, like braising the meat first, it is a step that is necessary to give you the best flavor in your dishes.

Where can you buy Oxtail?

Grocers with a full-service meat department will often have Oxtail in their beef case. If they don’t, you can order it from the butcher if none is readily available.

If you need Oxtail for your recipe today or tomorrow, and it is unavailable, you can use bone-in short ribs, veal neck, or veal shanks in their place.

FAQs about Oxtail

Does oxtail taste good?

Oxtail has a distinctive and delicious taste that is definitely worth experiencing, despite its unconventional appearance. For those who haven’t tried it, a comparable option in terms of flavor and texture would be Beef Cheeks. Think of super tender and fatty short ribs as a close approximation.

Is oxtail an expensive cut of meat?

Oxtail is indeed an expensive cut of meat. Its price can range from approximately $10 per pound or even higher. The cut is highly regarded as a delicacy and is not as readily accessible as other cuts of meat, which further contributes to its elevated cost.

Why is oxtail so tasty?

Oxtail is so tasty because it is very boney with little meat, making it perfect for creating stock and resulting in the most flavorful beef stock. Primarily, the bones and marrow contribute to the rich beef flavor, but the meat itself is also incredibly delicious.

Are oxtails chewy?

Oxtails have a nice, chewy consistency when cooked properly due to their high fat and collagen content. The meat becomes tender and succulent, similar to short ribs, making them ideal for creating rich and creamy stews and braises. Additionally, oxtails leave behind a pleasant gelatin texture after cooking.

Is oxtail like steak?

Oxtail is similar to steak in terms of taste, but with a more intensified and rich beef flavor. Many people compare the taste of oxtails to that of a short rib, but with a stronger taste. This is why it is a popular choice for making stocks or bone broths. Additionally, oxtail has a more tender texture compared to a short rib.

Why is oxtail soup so good?

Oxtail soup is so good because the long cooking time and the use of oxtails result in a flavorful and hearty beef soup. The traditional method of simmering the soup for a while is essential in transforming a relatively inexpensive cut of meat into a delicious dish.

Does oxtail taste different than beef?

Oxtail does taste different than beef. However, it is highly unlikely that you would dislike it. The meat of oxtail is comparable to beef in terms of taste, but it has a distinct richness and a texture that resembles short ribs, yet is more tender and smoother.

Why are oxtails so expensive?

Oxtails are considered expensive because they contain a small amount of tough yet flavorful meat and are obtained from the bone-in, cross-cut section of a cow’s tail. The limited amount of meat obtained from oxtails contributes to their high cost. Additionally, oxtails are considered a delicacy, further driving up their price. To fully maximize the flavor and tenderness of oxtails, it is recommended to brown them first and then slow-cook them, making braising an excellent cooking method.

What ethnicity eats oxtail?

Oxtail is consumed by various ethnicities, including those in South America, West Africa, China, Spain, Korea, and Indonesia. In Chinese cuisine, it is commonly prepared as a soup known as 牛尾汤 (niúwěi tāng), which translates to ‘oxtail soup’ in English.

Do you eat the bone in oxtails?

The bone in oxtails is best enjoyed by picking up the pieces with your hands and gnawing on them, making the use of a knife and fork optional. Personally, I have a strong affection for oxtail in any form, but I particularly adore the bone-in variety.

Does oxtail taste like steak?

Oxtail does not taste exactly like steak, but rather like beef. When prepared, it develops a deliciously intense flavor. When comparing braised oxtail to short rib, the oxtail is more tender and has a smoother texture.

Why are oxtails so greasy?

Oxtails are greasy because they contain a higher amount of fat, which contributes to their rich flavor. However, it is important to trim off as much fat as possible when preparing them for stew to avoid excessive greasiness.

Is beef oxtail a delicacy?

Beef oxtail is considered a delicacy due to its popularity and the superb flavors it releases when stewed or braised. It is derived from the tail of the cow, which is cut into thick pieces or chunks.

What are the problems with oxtails?

The problems with oxtails are that they contain high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol, which can be detrimental for individuals with heart issues or high cholesterol. Additionally, oxtails have a high purine content, which can increase the level of uric acid in the body and should be avoided by those prone to gout.

Do oxtails have a lot of meat?

Oxtails do not have a significant amount of meat, but they are a specialty cut that can be used to create delicious stews, soups, and sauces. Although it requires some effort to extract the meat, the end result is definitely worth it.

Are you supposed to eat oxtail?

Oxtail is supposed to be eaten sparingly as it is high in fat and cholesterol, although it is a good source of protein and minerals. The recommended way to enjoy oxtail is by pairing it with a generous serving of vegetables and a broth that contains all the beneficial minerals from the bones.

Is oxtail a cheap meat?

Oxtail is not a cheap meat due to its association with the tailbone area, which is where it comes from. As a result, oxtails are considered a high-priced cut.

What does oxtail seasoning taste like?

Oxtail seasoning has a subtle sweetness and a hint of smokiness, thanks to ingredients like smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar. This flavor profile complements the rich taste of oxtails very well.

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