Oxtail is one of my most favourite and beloved dishes – ever. It’s a popular Jamaican meal which has a deep, rich flavour that I love so much. It’s a heavy meat so I choose not to eat it too often. I think its safe to say I have it about 3-4 times per year, at most. I’ve had it at a few restaurants here in Canada as well as in Jamaica but I’ve always been concerned with the taste and how it is prepared. Oxtails taste differently every where I go. Some places are better at preparing it than others, and that’s expected.
Traditionally, the Oxtails are seasoned (often overnight) then browned in oil before being cooked down in water over a few hours, and may include dumplings or as we call them in certain dishes – “spinners” (elongated shaped dumplings). This is how my maternal grandmother used to cook it for me and it took her hours! I have fond memories of her at the stove making it, because we both loved it so much. Alas, this is when I was young and slender and nothing could change my figure (LOL). So now that I’m older and more conscious of what I consume, I try to have my favourite things in moderation. I also find ways to prepare them that I find acceptable. For me, this means no frying in oil. This may not be acceptable to some traditionalists, and that is okay
I bake my Oxtails in the oven. I’ve been doing this for years and I’m thinking it tastes better than some of what I’ve had at restaurants… hmmm…
Here’s how I do it.
- 3lbs Oxtails
- Salt & Pepper
- 3 Tsp All Purpose Seasoning
- 2 Tsp Dried Thyme
- 1 Tsp Oregano
- 1 Tbsp Pimento Seeds
- 3 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 Large Carrot, sliced about 1/4 inch
- 2 Tbsp low sodium Soy Sauce
- 1/4 Cup Hoisin Sauce
- 1 Can White Kidney Beans (Or Lima), rinsed and drained
- Pre-heat oven to 350F
- In a deep bowl, mix oxtail and ingredients together
- Once combined, pour into a large oven-proof baking dish with a cover
- Set timer for 4 hours
- check every hour and add water (1/4 cup or so to keep the base moist) to ensure it doesn't dry out (or burn)
- After 1 hour, I usually have to add more all-purpose seasoning and water. Stir to combine. Then add white kidney beans and carrots at the 3rd hour. Cover and cook for an hour
- Within the last hour, check to see that the meat is soft, tender and falling off the bone
- Depending on the size of the meat, it may need an additional 30 minutes or so to cook
- Serve with white rice or Jamaican style rice and peas
It is a good idea to season the oxtails and allow them to rest in the refrigerator overnight for the best flavour.
When purchasing, pick up Oxtails or request that it be cut into small pieces (2-3 inches in diameter) as they cook in about 3 hours. Larger pieces take a lot longer.
I should mention that there is usually a certain amount of “heat” in most Jamaican fare. And by “heat”, I’m referring to Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Pepper. If you wanted to add heat, I would probably add the pepper at the beginning and remove it half way through so that it does not burst. I personally cannot eat too much pepper because it gives me some major heartburn! Plus, my little ones palates are so darn sensitive. A little is fine though, it gives it a little extra kick.
There are so many variations of Oxtails that I would love to try. One of my Aunts introduced me to this method (as in, using the oven). Another Aunt of mine prepares her Ox with BEER. I think I’ll be giving her a call soon for that recipe
A special shout out to my cousin Shelley – Happy Birthday sweetie! This recipe is for you ~ now at least you’ll have it in writing
Take care, guys! Have an awesome weekend! ~ Lyn