Main menu

Braised Oxtails Recipe

Rich and Flavorful Braised Oxtails: A Comforting Dinner

Braised Oxtails Recipe

This recipe for braised oxtails is a symphony of rich flavors and fall-off-the-bone tenderness. Perfect for a cozy weekend meal, the slow-braised oxtails are bathed in a savory sauce that's bursting with depth.


  • 3 pounds oxtails, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (around 1.5 kg)
  • Add salt and black pepper for flavor, as much as you prefer.
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (around 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (or 1.5 teaspoons ground ginger)
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • For the red wine, use a robust variety like Cabernet Sauvignon (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into thick pieces.
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced into thick pieces


  • Prep the Oxtails: Pat the oxtail pieces dry with paper towels. For robust flavor, season all surfaces with a generous amount of salt and black pepper.
  • Sear for Deep Flavor: Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, carefully add the oxtail pieces in a single layer and sear for 5-7 minutes per side, or until nicely browned. This step adds a deep, caramelized flavor to the final dish.
    • Tips: Don't crowd the pot! Sear the oxtails in batches if necessary to ensure even browning.
  • Sauté the Aromatics: Once the oxtails are seared, remove them from the pot and set aside. In the same pot, add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onions become translucent and fragrant.
  • Deglaze and Build the Braising Liquid: Deglaze the pot by pouring in the red wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, incorporating them into the sauce for extra flavor. Let the wine bubble gently for a minute or two. This will help reduce the alcohol content a bit.
  • Combine and Braise: Add the seared oxtails back to the pot along with the beef broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, and dried thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is very tender and practically falling off the bone.
    • Tips: Check on the oxtails occasionally throughout the braising process. If the liquid seems to be reducing too quickly, add a bit more beef broth or water to prevent drying out.
  • Add the Vegetables: In the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the sliced carrots and celery to the pot. Simmer on low heat until the vegetables are tender enough to eat but not falling apart.
  • Serve and Enjoy: Once cooked through, remove the bay leaves before serving. Enjoy the braised oxtails with the flavorful sauce and tender vegetables. You can serve this dish over mashed potatoes, rice, or polenta for a complete and satisfying meal.

Additional Tips:

  • For a richer flavor: Brown the oxtails in a mixture of olive oil and butter for added richness.
  • Thicken the Sauce (Optional): If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can make a slurry by whisking together 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir the slurry into the pot and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Leftovers: Braised oxtails are even more flavorful the next day! To save leftovers, transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge. Enjoy them within 3 days! Reheat gently on the stovetop over low heat, adding a splash of broth if needed to prevent drying out.
  • Alternative Cooking Method: This recipe can also be adapted for slow cookers. After searing the oxtails, add all ingredients to your slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Beyond the Basics: Exploring the World of Braised Oxtails

Braised oxtails are a culinary treasure, offering a unique combination of rich, savory flavors and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. This recipe provides a solid foundation, but there's a whole world of exploration waiting to be discovered! Let's delve deeper and explore some exciting variations and additional tips.

Flavor Adventures:

  • Global Inspiration: Take a trip around the world with your oxtails! Explore Jamaican flavors by adding allspice, Scotch bonnet peppers, and dried butter beans. For a Korean twist, incorporate gochujang (Korean chili paste), soy sauce, and sesame oil.
  • Herb Garden Delights: Fresh herbs can elevate your braise to new heights. Rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves are a classic combination, but don't be afraid to experiment with parsley, tarragon, or even a touch of lavender for a floral touch.
  • Spice It Up: If you enjoy a bit of heat, consider adding a chopped chipotle pepper or a pinch of cayenne pepper for a fiery kick.

Vegetable Variations:

  • Root Vegetables: Beyond carrots and celery, explore other root vegetables like parsnips, turnips, or rutabagas.
  • Hearty Greens: Add a touch of leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard, or spinach in the last 30 minutes of cooking for a healthy and flavorful twist.
  • Winter Squash: For a hearty and seasonal option, consider adding diced butternut squash or pumpkin in the last hour of cooking.

Advanced Techniques:

  • Red Wine Reduction: Elevate your sauce by reducing the red wine after deglazing the pot. Simmer the wine for 5-7 minutes until it thickens slightly and intensifies in flavor before adding the remaining braising liquids.
  • Roux for Richness: Create a roux for an incredibly rich and decadent sauce. After searing the oxtails, melt butter in the pot and whisk in flour. Cook for a minute, then slowly whisk in the beef broth and remaining braising liquids. This roux will thicken and add a silky texture to your sauce.

Choosing Oxtails:

  • Look for fresh, bright red oxtails with minimal fat marbling.
  • Ask your butcher to cut the oxtails into 2-inch pieces for even cooking.

Safety Tips:

  • Oxtails can contain bones, so be cautious while eating and avoid serving to young children who might choke.
  • Use caution when handling hot liquids during the braising process.

With these additional tips and variations, you can transform this recipe into your own signature braised oxtail masterpiece. So get creative, explore different flavor profiles, and enjoy the delicious journey!