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Savory oxtail in a rich and thick gravy.

jamaican oxtail recipeMy very first experience with oxtail was not a pleasant one and it was years until I tried it again. This is going back about 19 years ago when my good friend Richard was just starting off his Dj and music production escapades. Richard, Allyene and myself were  on one of our weekly runs to the Toronto to pick up the latest releases from Jamaica (I believe it was on Eglinton Ave), back in those days it was 33’s and 45’s  and not cds as we have today. We stopped off at one of the many Caribbean fast-food restaurants that populate the area to grab some food to eat on the trip back to Hamilton. I don’t recall what the other fellas got, but I do remember hungrily eating away at the oxtail with rice and peas. Then it hit me. A sharp-cut bone stabbed me in the roof of my mouth. I can still remember the pain that sucker put on me. I stopped eating (well couldn’t) immediately and between cussing and grimacing from the pain, I promised to never touch the stuff again. Took me a few years to get over that fear of being attacked by sharp-cut oxtail bones.

Here’s a simple recipe for stewed oxtail which I tested perfected  yesterday… no sharp edges to hurt you :)

You’ll need…

2 lbs oxtail cut and trimmed into 1-2 inch pieces
1 tomato diced
1 onion sliced thin
1 stalk celery diced
black pepper (fresh ground is best) 1/4 teaspoon
hot pepper (I used 1/2 habanero) this is optional
1 tablespoon green seasoning
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard (nothing fancy)
1/2 teaspoon crushed ginger 9I used the bottled stuff)
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
2-3 cloves of garlic crushed
1 lime / lemon or vinegar (4 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon ketchup

* If you don’t have the green seasoning prepared. Use a combination of green onions (scallions), cilantro or shado beni and thyme. About 1 tablespoon each…chopped very fine.

Start by placing the cut pieces of oxtail in a large bowl (remember to remove as much fat as you can – keep it a bit healthy)  and squeeze the lime or lemon juice on it. Use vinegar if you don’t have limes or lemons. Pour some water (not the water mentioned in the recipe)  in the bowl and wash each piece of oxtail. If your butcher used a band-saw to cut the pieces for you, there’s the chance that there may be some gritty stuff from the cut bones left on the meat. Rinse with cold water as need. Drain and get ready for seasoning.

The seasoning consist of all the ingredients mentioned above, except the oil, sugar and 4 cups of water. Mix well and allow this to marinate for at least 2 hrs in the fridge.

how to cook jamaican oxtail

recipe oxtail

As we’ve done in other “stew” dishes, we have to bring the oil to a high temp in a heavy pot and add the brown sugar. Stir so the entire lot changes colour evenly and get to the perfect point to add the seasoned meat. The key is allowing the sugar get to a caramel colour, so each piece of oxtail will get browned evenly. The pics below will show you what to look for.

trinidad oxtail recipe

caribbean oxtail recipe

When the sugar gets like the pic directly above, start adding the seasoned pieces of oxtail. Stir, reduce to medium heat and cover. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Then bring the heat back to high and burn off all the liquid (remove the lid). Stir during this process so the pieces of meat gets coated evenly. Add the 4 cups of water to the bowl that had the seasoned meat to pick up any remaining seasoning that was left behind. When the liquid dries up in the pot, add the 4 cups of water.

tender oxtail recipe

how to cook oxtail

oxtail recipe

Bring to a boil (covered), then reduce the heat so it’s a gentle simmer. PATIENCE.. allow this to cook, stirring occasionally for about 1 3/4 hours. Then remove the lid and turn up the heat so you can achieve a nice thick gravy. Remember to turn off the heat and remove from the burner when you have a thick gravy or risk not having any of that nice rich sauce.

stew oxtail recipe

jamaican oxtail recipe


In the coming months I’ll share a couple other ways to cook this popular Caribbean meat. One in the oven (didn’t want to turn on the oven since it’s summer time here and we don’t need all that heat in the house. And the other way is a more traditional Jamaican way. Stay tuned, and don’t forget to leave me your comments or questions in the area provided below.

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129 Responses to “Savory oxtail in a rich and thick gravy.”

  1. Olivia says:

    I love Jamaican oxtails and this is a Fabulous recipe. Thank you for sharing.

  2. gemma says:

    Love oxtail, I also add buttered Lima beans to this recipe, it’s so,so good, thanks Chris for sending all those beautiful recipes.

  3. Karen says:

    I usually transfer my oxtails to the slow cooker after browning, add a
    can of butter beans and cook on low for about
    six hours. The end result is amazing! Truly soft
    oxtails that are filled with flavor .

  4. sophisticated.sexy says:

    Cooking these oxtails added my own twist like I do in every meal I cook. I plan to call all the men to the yard with this one… ;)

  5. Tyrone says:

    This has become one of the best dishes of the house for Chef Dad! Thanks and keep me coming

  6. Cleopatra says:

    I have stopped eating meat but you made this recipe look so good I am going to try this just once. Mines will go in a pressure cooker cant stir a pot for so long.

  7. Christopher says:

    Boy I’m making oxtail today, also I’m adding carrots an potatoes, with white rice and salad yay

  8. Yolanda says:

    Love it, this is how I usually make it, browning is very important for that perfect oxtail! Also green seasoning made with hot peppers is best all blended up! I always have a jar in my fridge! Also I sometimes (rarely) put half a bag of frozed mixed vegetables in there, it comes out delicious! Thanks for sharing. God bless

  9. Joanne says:

    When browning the oxtail, do you add all the ingredients to the brown sugar or just the meat?

    • Yolanda says:

      Hello :) Well, all the seasoning except what she mentioned (towards top of page) should already be seasoned with the meat before cooking, o(vernight or atleast 2 hours ahead of cooking time), so you just toss the meat in the bubbly brown sugar, dont let it burn too much by the way!

      • Yolanda says:

        oh and i dont know about what this awesome cook would say, but regarding the tomatoes, celery etc, i woulnt brown it, but put it in after the water goes in and is time for the simmering for almost 2 hours :) just my thought

  10. Pamela Waller says:

    I tried this receipt a month ago. I was a huge hit. Using it again in two weeks for superbowl party. Follow directions and you caint miss.


  11. gata says:

    Hi I truly enjoy your passion for cooking for I also loooooooove cooking! How can I make sure the oxtail I am buying it is not from older animals please? Thank you sooo much! Also do you have a ginger beer recipe without alcohol please? Have a great week!

  12. Ian Abraham says:

    I usually use beef ribs cut into two inch pieces. However, this produces a lot of fat so I normally let it cool and skim off the fat then reheat before serving.


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