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Oxtail Cooking Tips - How to cook oxtails

Oxtails are best braised


Steve Brown Photography/Photolibrary/Getty Images
In days of old, oxtails did come from oxen, but today they are simply the tails of beef cattle of both genders. The consumption of oxtails dates back as far as the consumption of beef, when no part of the animal went to waste. Every part of the animal was utilized, and the tail made a wonderful hearty soup that stretched a small amount of meat with the addition of any variety of vegetables. Oxtail soup is a comfort food for many.

Cooks around the world have long made use of oxtails with variations on a theme. Today, upscale chefs are rediscovering oxtails to the nostalgic delight of older patrons and the wonder of the younger crowd who consider it an exotic meat. It is not just for soup or stew these days, as you will see from the recipes.

Oxail Cooking Tips

Oxtails make the most flavorful beef stock. For the most part, the robust beef flavor comes from the bones and marrow, but the meat is also very tasty. The rendered stock will be thick and gelatinous due to the collagen released.

Although oxtails are being used for much more than soup or stew nowadays, long, slow braising in a liquid is the preferred method to derive a tender result while drawing maximum flavor from what is pretty much all bones. Plan on a long cooking time. Oxtails work particularly well in crockpots and pressure cookers.

Whereas oxtails used to be considered a "throwaway" meat, often free for the asking or close to it, you may have to put an order in ahead of time these days. Availability will depend on supply and demand in your area. After all, there is only one tail per cow. If you have difficulty finding oxtails in your locale, you may substitute meaty veal or beef neck, short rib, shank or other various soup bones, but do not expect quite as robust a flavor. If you are looking for the most intense beef flavor, try some oxtail recipes.

Oxtail Recipes
More About Beef Cuts
Beef Recipes

Oxtails Photo © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.


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