Smoked Jerk Oxtails
Bone nibbling comfort food you won’t want to use use a knife and fork for. Smoky, fiery, tender beef oxtails with a slightly crisped crust.
What Are Oxtails?
For those unfamiliar, oxtails aren’t actually the tail from an ox, but are the tails from cows 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 render them butter like tender.
Oxtails for a long time have been a staple in soul food cooking. My grandmother would make big pots of them on Sundays and we’d have many guests pop over and enjoy individual bowl fulls with cornbread and hot sauce. As a kid, I ate them and enjoyed them thoroughly, but they were always like crawfish tails of beef; you worked hard for so little return. Now don’t get me wrong, they were/are crazy delicious, but there just ain’t a lot of meat. Back then it didn’t matter, cause at about a buck per pound or less you could buy lots of the stuff. Unfortunately, like neighborhoods all across trendy U.S. cities, once the masses discovered the deliciousness of what once was humble undesirable cuts of meat, gentrification occurred and the original soul food consumers have been priced out. Now that’s some ironic strange arithmetic. Chefs putting oxtails on their restaurant menu is akin to a Starbucks popping up in the hood. It’s just a matter of time before prices skyrocket. Oxtails in Austin stay around $7 or $8 per pound. If you can find them for $5 per pound grab them, as it’s considered a steal now. It’s not just oxtails, I remember going to a restaurant in Chicago where they had chicarrones aka “pork skins” on the menu as a $9 appetizer. A bag in the hood used to be less than a dollar.
I had the idea for a soul food tapas menu, I decided to add grilled oxtails once I came across a sale on the oxtails. I wanted an alternative way of enjoying them beyond the typical stews. The recipe is actually simple. I marinated them in a jerk marinade overnight and then smoked them on the pit at low temperature (250 degrees). The texture was more like tender, juicy smoked spareribs with the benefit of the full jerk flavor experience. The allspice, scotch bonnet, and brown sugar all shine through.
Grilled Oxtail Cooking/Meal Planning Tips
- Use a braising liquid or alternatively put them in a shallow metal pan and tightly cover with aluminum foil cooking for 1.5 – 2 hours more to get fork tender.
- Oxtails take long to cook. They don’t need much attention but be prepared for a few hours of cooking.
- Look to buy them on sale or shop for them at Hispanic markets as they tend to carry them often and at lower prices
- Trim away any extra fat from the oxtails
- Oxtail bones are ideal for making a flavorful stock. Save the bones, use them in a stock and get your money’s worth
- Eat this alone as an appetizer or pair with rice and beans for a hearty full meal
- I used a store-bought jerk marinade. Walkerswood makes a good one, but feel free to make your own if preferred.
Smoked Jerk Oxtails
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For other unique oxtail recipes try these Beef Oxtail Tacos.
Dope beats, fresh eats, best life. Don’t bother with any utensils, enjoy these tender Smoked Jerk Oxtails with your hands only the next time you fire up the grill.
Smoked Jerk Oxtails
- 4 lbs oxtails
- 1/4 cup Walkerswood Jerk Marinade
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Place the oxtails in a large bowl. Rub jerk marinade all over the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Heat the barbecue to 250F degrees. Smoke over indirect heat for 2 hours. Combine the apple juice and vinegar in a spray bottle. Open the smoker and spray the meat.
- Continue cooking for 2-3 more hours, until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 180F degrees. Spray liberally with the apple mixture intermittently as necessary to keep oxtails moist. Remove from the smoker and let rest 15 minutes before serving.