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

  1. Michelle says:

    This recipe has become a staple in my home. As a descendant of the African Diaspora, your recipes have brought me closer to my roots and for that I am grateful. The last time I prepared these (last week), I added an extra tablespoon of green seasoning, a bit of curry powder, cloves, nutmeg, powdered ginger (along with fresh) and cinnamon. Beef really takes on these flavors well. My mom called the dish powerful and my best friend actually cried when he finished his portion. Thank you for this recipe and for the many others you share with us.

    With love,

  2. Dean says:

    Made this yesterday. There are so many intense flavors in this dish that it’s impossible to describe it, and, because of that, I’m sure there are folks who would not like it, but we did. Rather than sawing the bones into smaller pieces, I cut the meat off the bones and cooked the meat together with the bones. In the end, I just removed the bones and spooned the meat and gravy over Jasmine rice. I did use the coconut milk and prepared green sauce. The only thing I added was a teaspoon of anchovy paste, which I always do to my beef stews. I don’t know if that helped it, but it didn’t hurt it.

  3. Brenda says:

    I cook this often. I love it.

  4. Madeline says:

    Love this. Best recipe for oxtail❤️

  5. Phylicia says:

    Omg!!! Another great recipe I made this today but I used red beans and rice
    Thanks for another great recipe!!!

  6. Renee Martin says:

    I just made this dish for my family. It was the first time my kid had oxtail and he sucked that meat off the bone let me tell you. It was wonderful and I cannot wait to make it again.

  7. Crystal Meade says:

    We make your recipe all the time! It’s wonderful, thank you for putting the information up! Cheers!

  8. ALVES says:

    Made your Savory Oxtail in a Rich Thick Gravy and it was good no left over look like I have to make another batch. wow

  9. Lala says:

    Luv this oxtail recipe, thanks for sharing, will give this recipe a go.

  10. Jovani Fox says:

    Please tell me you have a slow cooker/crock pot version of this recipe!

  11. Henk Bezuidenhout says:

    In South Africa, where I live, Oxtail is considered the holy stew of meat! But not a single recipe comes even close to this masterpiece of a dish. I’ve made other oxtail dishes after this one, but my wife threatened with divorce if I do not make this again. In the lat year, I have prepared this dish 7 times to date.

  12. Phyllis says:

    I’ve cooked this dish twice and it’s absolutely deliciious. I use extra seasoning. My son-in-law is from the West Indies and he makes a similar variation. He made it so infrequently that I had to beg for him to make it, now I can make my own. In my opinion this recipe is better. better.

  13. Steve Maingot says:

    Brown well and Pressure Cook !!
    You want the meat to “fall off the bone”


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