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"Getting Nasty" Southern Oxtail Recipe

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For Southern food lovers, there's nothing quite like a plate of smothered oxtail. This easy oxtails recipe and hearty dish is slow-cooked to perfection, with the oxtail pieces falling off the bone in a rich gravy.

The key to any good southern oxtail recipe is in the seasoning. A blend of herbs and spices, including garlic, onion, and paprika, give the dish its signature flavor.

Another important element is the type of stock used to cook the beef oxtails. Chicken or beef stock will work well, but for a truly southern flavor, try using ham hocks or smoked turkey necks. Whether you're serving it over rice or mashed potatoes, Southern smothered oxtail is sure to be a hit at your next family gathering.

In the South, beef oxtail is a staple of soul food dishes. This comforting oxtail stew recipe is often served with rice and the naturally rich gravy it produces. Oxtail is a rich source of protein and collagen, and it's also very flavorful.

When cooked properly, the best oxtail recipes result in meat that falls off the bone and is incredibly tender. This dish is often served with black-eyed peas, collard greens, or other classic soul food vegetables. While it may take some time to prepare, this baked oxtails recipe is definitely worth the effort. And leftovers only get better with time!

oxtails, gravy, and rice in pink bowl

Beats and Eats (music to pair with Southern smothered oxtails)

Smothered oxtails are filthy in a good way! The sauce and gravy hit hard, like licking the fingers hard. You'll want some bread on hand for steady soppin too. A funky soulful classic jam like Ike Turner's "Getting Nasty" fits the bill perfectly.

What Are Oxtails?

For those unfamiliar, oxtails aren’t actually the tail from an ox but are from the tail of a cow cut into pieces. Each piece has a thick cylindrical bone with chunks of tough, fatty meat.

If cooked the right way they are as delicious as beef short ribs. They are perfect for slow-cooked braising and stews as the process basically renders them butter-like tender.

Baked oxtails for a long time have been a staple in serious soul food cooking. My grandmother would make big pots of them on Sundays and we’d have many guests pop over and enjoy individual bowlfuls with cornbread and hot sauce.

Before prices got so out of hand you were as likely to see big pots of oxtails in our house as you would a pot roast.

Ingredients Needed To Make Southern Oxtail Stew

For the Oxtail

  • Beef Oxtail
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Yellow Onion
  • Bell Peppers
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)

For The Sofrito

  • Bell Peppers
  • Yellow Onions
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Celery
  • San Marzano Tomatoes

For the Stew

  • All-purpose Flour
  • Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil
  • Apple Cider
  • Beef Broth
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes

How To Make Southern Oxtails (step by step)

Marinate the Oxtail

Clean oxtails with a combination of water and lime juice. Set aside

Using a small mixing bowl or ramekin mix the dry oxtail seasonings together. Set aside.

Place oxtail in a large bowl and then season them oxtail generously with the spice mixture. Add the Worcestershire sauce rubbing the oxtail well to make sure they are fully covered. Add the diced onions and peppers then marinate the oxtail for at least 30 minutes but overnight preferred if you have time.

Prepare the Sofrito

Heat oil in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat and saute the onions, celery, peppers, and garlic 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove all ingredients and place in a blender with the tomatoes. Blend to a smooth puree. Set aside.

Cook Oxtails

Heat oil in a large dutch oven pot on medium-high heat. Add the marinated oxtail (reserve the marinade leftovers) and brown on all sides. Remove the oxtail and set aside in a paper towel lined bowl.

Add the flour and give it a stir mixing it into the oil. Add more oil if needed.

Add the cider and deglaze the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon scraping up all the brown bits. Allow the mixture to thicken slightly.

Add the beef stock and the sofrito. Add some more of the dry seasoning and mix everything well.

Add the bay leaves, fresh thyme, and the leftover marinade mix to the pot.

Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes then add the browned oxtail back. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 3 hours. Add the diced carrots and potatoes and cook for another 20-30 minutes until both are fork tender.

Remove oxtail then reduce pot liquid to desired gravy consistency.

Serve the oxtail with gravy over rice or mashed potatoes.

oxtails, gravy, and rice in white bowl

Cooking Tips and Considerations For When Making This Southern Oxtails Recipe

Oxtail meat depending on where you buy it from may have much fat. Feel free to trim away some of the excess fat for a better overall eating experience.

Cooking oxtail doesn't require crazy cooking skills. The key to making oxtail tender is time, low temperature, and a good braising liquid.

Dice the carrots and potatoes as uniformly as possible for more even cooking. The smaller you cut them the faster they cook.

The gravy that is created from the long slow cooking has super rich flavor. Reserve some and use it in other recipes. Include mashed potatoes, rice, etc. as your oxtail dinner sides.

This recipe is not the same as a Jamaican oxtail recipe which typically is seasoned with browning sauce and packs a little hit with the scotch bonnet peppers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cooking Southern Oxtail

Can Oxtail Be Cooked In A Crock Pot or Slow Cooker?

Slow cooker oxtail is a popular way to make Southern oxtail. A lot of crockpot oxtails and gravy recipes call for it as it's such a simple, no-fuss to cook large pieces of meat. Just be sure to brown the meat first before adding it to the slow cooker.

Can Oxtail Be Made In A Pressure Cooker?

Pressure cookers and oxtails go well together. An instant pot obviously gives you an advantage with cook time, but perfect texture and flavor both can be easily achieved.

How Are Southern Oxtail Different Than Jamaican Oxtail?

Southern style and Jamaican style oxtail recipes share a lot in common but there are also some big differences. Both are slowly braised to break down all that connective tissue and net super tender meat with a rich gravy, but the additional ingredients and seasonings are very different.

Southern oxtail relies more on paprika and Worcestershire sauce with just a few vegetables. Jamaican oxtails stew includes oxtail seasoned with browning sauce, soy sauce, and likely includes scotch bonnet pepper as well as butter beans.

Can you fry oxtails?

Sure you can fry anything, but it doesn't mean you should when it comes to oxtail You have to cook oxtail slow and low. To give all that collagen a chance to break down. Otherwise, you're stuck with tough chewy meat.

For Other Oxtail Based Recipes Try These:

Instant Pot Oxtail

Mexican Braised Oxtail

Instant Pot Jamaican Oxtail

Caribbean Style Braised Oxtail

Beef Oxtail Soup with Blackeyed Peas and Collard Greens

Beef Oxtail Tacos

Smoked Oxtail (Jerk Seasoned)

Popular Soul Food Meats Guide

Make This Recipe

This smothered oxtail is the perfect comfort food for a winter night. The rich, flavorful gravy pairs perfectly with the tender oxtail and rice. I hope you'll try this recipe and enjoy it as much as I do!

If you make this delicious simple Southern oxtail stew recipe please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

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oxtails, gravy, and rice in white bowl

Southern Smothered Oxtail

This southern oxtail recipe is comfort food at its finest. Rich gravy and tender meat will make it a family favorite!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Soul Food, southern
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 1514kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

For the Oxtail

  • 3 lbs Beef Oxtail
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ medium Yellow Onion diced
  • ½ Bell Pepper diced

For The Sofrito

  • ½ medium Bell Pepper roughly chopped
  • ½ medium Yellow Onion roughly chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 ribs Celery roughly chopped
  • 8 oz. San Marzano Tomatoes

For the Stew

  • ½ cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Apple Cider
  • 4 cups Beef Broth
  • cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 2 medium Carrots chopped
  • 2 medium Potatoes chopped

Instructions

Marinate the Oxtail

  • Clean oxtails with a combination of water and lime juice. Set aside
  • Using a small mixing bowl or ramekin mix the dry seasonings together. Set aside.
  • Place oxtail in a large bowl and then season them oxtail generously with the spice mixture. Add the Worcestershire sauce rubbing the oxtail well to make sure they are fully covered. Add the diced onions and peppers then marinate the oxtail for at least 30 minutes but overnight preferred if you have time.

Prepare the Sofrito

  • Heat oil in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat and saute the onions, celery, peppers, and garlic 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove all ingredients and place in a blender with the tomatoes. Blend to a smooth puree. Set aside.

Cook the Oxtail

  • Heat oil in a large dutch oven pot on medium-high heat. Add the marinated oxtail (reserve the marinade leftovers) and brown on all sides. Remove the oxtail and set aside in a paper towel lined bowl.
  • Add the flour and give it a stir mixing it into the oil. Add more oil if needed.
  • Add the cider and deglaze the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon scraping up all the brown bits. Allow the mixture to thicken slightly.
  • Add the beef stock and the sofrito. Add some more of the dry seasoning and mix everything well.
  • Add the bay leaves, fresh thyme, and the leftover marinade mix to the pot.
  • Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes then add the browned oxtail back. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 3 hours. Add the diced carrots and potatoes and cook for another 20-30 minutes until both are fork tender.
  • Remove oxtail then reduce pot liquid to desired gravy consistency.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Oxtail meat depending on where you buy it from may have much fat. Feel free to trim away some of the excess fat for a better overall eating experience.
The key to making oxtail tender is time, low temperature, and a good braising liquid.
Dice the carrots and potatoes as uniformly as possible for more even cooking. The smaller you cut them the faster they cook.
The gravy that is created from the long slow cooking has super rich flavor. Reserve some and use it in other recipes. It's great with mashed potatoes, rice, etc.

Nutrition

Calories: 1514kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 151g | Fat: 66g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 32g | Cholesterol: 499mg | Sodium: 3308mg | Potassium: 1770mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 8563IU | Vitamin C: 102mg | Calcium: 260mg | Iron: 25mg
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Recipe Rating




Laura

Monday 14th of November 2022

Just checking the pictures really makes me want to make this dish! I will definitely be trying this soon as I've never cooked oxtail, thanks for the recipe!

Alex

Monday 14th of November 2022

It's been way too long since I've had oxtail! Your recipe looks awesome so I'll be trying it soon.

Kari Heron | Chef and Steward

Monday 14th of November 2022

Moop, as a Jamaican, you knew that I had to come look and grab this recipe for your Southern style oxtail because oxtail is a fixture in Jamaican cuisine as well. So full of flavour your recipe is. Thanks for sharing!

Erin

Monday 14th of November 2022

How much lime juice do you use to clean the meat? I've never heard of that. I'm intrigued!

Loreto and Nicoletta

Sunday 13th of November 2022

I had never eaten oxtail until some friends from Africa made me oxtail soup. I have to say it was a bit spicy, but very very flavorful! Your oxtail sounds exsquisite. Just layers of flavor!