What Part Of The Cow Is Oxtail?

What Part Of The Cow Is Oxtail

Believe it or not, humans have been consuming oxtail for as long as we have been consuming beef. In these days, the entire cow was used to fabricate meat which means throwing undesirable cuts of beef away was out of the question.

Oxtails were used to create a hearty and filling soup filled with vegetables and oxtails. The additional vegetables helped stretch the meat so it could be used to feed more people. Today, oxtail has been transformed into comfort food at its best, leading people to wonder what part of the cow oxtail comes from.

Is Oxtail A Good Cut Of Meat?

Of course, oxtails are a good cut of meat. Oxtails are the ideal candidate for cooking stock. In fact, you haven’t had beef broth until you had beef broth made with oxtail. The marrow and bones are responsible for this big, bold, beefy flavor. Nevertheless, oxtail meat is also very flavorful and delicious.

What Part Of The Cow Is Oxtail?

As the name implies, the oxtail is well the cow’s tail. Although it seems simple, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to oxtail because ox tails used to be sourced from oxen. Oxen are adult cattle that have been neutered and used to carry large loads as a horse would.

As time went on, oxtail became a term used to describe the tail fabricated from any type of cattle. Therefore, oxtail can come from the steer or veal cows.

Nonetheless, some oxtail purists still believe that traditional oxtail packs the most flavor. The theory behind this traditional oxtail’s flavor is that if a cow is allowed to live longer, more muscles develop in the tail, creating a more robust, more intense flavor.

Interestingly enough, oxtails are categorized as organ or offal meats. When it comes to weight, oxtail can weigh 2-4 pounds. However, the skin is removed from the tail before it is broken down into smaller pieces before heading to the retailer to sell.

What Does Oxtail Taste Like?

There is no ignoring the fact that oxtail does not look as appetizing as a fresh rack of ribs or brisket smoked in an offset smoker. However, what oxtail lacks in looks, it makes up for in flavor. 

When oxtails are cooked, it develops a rich beefy flavor. Its flavor is similar to short ribs. However, oxtails have a more tender bite and silkier consistency.

Is Oxtail Healthy?

Whether or not oxtail is healthy depends on how you look at it. 100 grams of oxtail has 71 grams of fat. Furthermore, it has 260 calories for 100 grams of oxtail.

Nevertheless, oxtail contains a healthy amount of bone marrow which is as invaluable as wagyu beef tallow. Bone marrow

Bone marrow contains fat-soluble vitamins and minerals as well as other beneficial nutrients like collagen and protein. However, oxtail contains large amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, so it can be less healthy than other types of beef, such as a rump roast.

Why Is Oxtail So Expensive

Interestingly enough, oxtails were a less than desirable meat. They were literally seen as scrap meat because they were deemed so by high society. Hard to believe, right?

Like most undesirable meats such as pig feet or chicken feet, oxtails were given to African slaves as a source of food. Slaves used oxtails to make spicy stews or brown gravy and served it over a bowl of warm, fluffy rice.

Furthermore, butchers would sell oxtail for as little as a penny to reduce wastage and prevent them from having to toss the meat at the end of each day.

In contrast, today, you won’t find oxtail being sold for a penny. Since oxtail is popular among many chefs and home cooks, it runs for $5-$10 a pound.

How To Cook Oxtails

What’s the point in talking about what part of the cow is oxtail without showing you how to cook delicious oxtails? Instead of pulling out the kamado grill or a propane smoker, we are going to be cooking a delicious oxtail stew. After cooking the oxtail stew for multiple hours, it will be transformed into a tender bowl of stew.

First season the oxtails generously with salt and pepper. Although a cast-iron skillet sears meats to perfection, you want to use a large soup pot that conducts heat really well. If you have bacon fat or wagyu beef tallow, you can add 2 tablespoons of it to the soup pot to brown the meat. However, 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil will work just fine.

Place the soup pot over medium-high heat and add the oxtails once it is hot. Cook the oxtails for 3-5 minutes until they have a rich brown color.

Next, remove the oxtails from the pot and add vegetables such as garlic, onions, celery, and carrots and cook them for 3-5 minutes until they are translucent and starting to turn brown.

Next, stir in 3 tablespoons of tomato paste and cook it for 2 more minutes. The tomato paste gives the broth its characteristic dark color. Add about 3-4 cups of beef broth to the oxtails.

You can also use water or chicken broth and substitute some of the broth for 1/4 cup of red wine. Make sure you use your cooking spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the browned bits of meat stuck to it.

Return the oxtails to the pot and cook them for 2-3 hours, covered on low, until the oxtails are tender. Check the oxtails every so often to make sure the liquid does not cook-off, and add more broth if necessary.

After 2 hours, the oxtail’s meat should easily pull apart when prodded with a fork, but if it doesn’t, cook it for an additional hour. Serve the oxtails over a bowl of rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.

Final Thoughts

Although the oxtail, or the cow’s tail, was once seen as scrap meat, it has become one of the most in-demand comfort foods. Now that you know what part of the cow oxtail, you can enjoy it even more while the information you just learned with your loved ones.

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