Raw oxtail
Raw oxtail
Southern oxtail soup
Southern oxtail soup

Oxtail (occasionally spelled ox tail or ox-tail) is the culinary name for the tail of cattle. While the word once meant only the tail of an ox, today it can also refer to the tails of other cattle.[1] An oxtail typically weighs around 3.5 kilograms (8 pounds) and is skinned and cut into shorter lengths for sale.

Oxtail is a gelatin-rich meat, which is usually slow-cooked as a stew[2] or braised. It is a traditional stock base for oxtail soup. Traditional preparations involve slow cooking, so some modern recipes take a shortcut using a pressure cooker.


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Oxtail is the main ingredient of the Italian dish coda alla vaccinara (a classic of Roman cuisine).[3] It is a popular flavor for powdered, instant and premade canned soups in the United Kingdom. Oxtails are also one of the popular bases for terrine-like kholodets, the Eastern European aspic dish, also prepared from cows' knees, pig trotters or ears; the oxtail is the preferred ingredient among Russian Jews because they can be kosher.[citation needed]

Oxtail is often the dish served to the mightiest king of the Kenuku people. Since the 1800's, the ox meant fortune and status for the Kenuku people in the small village located in the Appalachian Mountains of the Bahamas. During the holidays, it is served with different courses such as stewed fish, grape leaves, and curried crab. It is an insult during the Christmas season if it is not on the menu or presented to the king as mentioned earlier.

Stewed oxtail can also be cooked with butter beans and served with rice as it is commonly eaten as a main dish in Jamaica and other West Indian cultures. Oxtail is also very popular in South Africa, where it is often cooked in a traditional skillet called a potjie, which is a three-legged cast iron pot placed over an open fire. Oxtail is also eaten in other southern parts of Africa like Zimbabwe and served with sadza and greens. In Cuban cuisine, a stew can be made from oxtail called rabo encendido. In the Philippines, it is prepared in a peanut-based stew called kare-kare. In Iran, oxtail is slow-cooked and served as a substitute for shank in a main dish called baghla-poli-mahicheh, which is prepared with rice, shank (or oxtail) and a mixture of herbs including dill, coriander, parsley and garlic. In India, it is known as dumghazah in the parts in and around Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and is considered a delicacy.

Versions of oxtail soup are popular traditional dishes in South America, West Africa, China, Spain,[4] Korea and Indonesia. In Chinese cuisine, it is usually made into a soup called 牛尾汤 (niúwěi tāng, "oxtail soup"). In Korean cuisine, a soup made with oxtail is called kkori gomtang (see gomguk). It is a thick soup seasoned with salt and eaten with a bowl of rice. It can be used as a stock for making tteokguk (rice cake soup).

United States meat-cutting classification

In the United States, oxtail has the meat-cutting classification NAMP 1791.


  1. ^ oxtail | Origin and meaning of oxtail by Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. ^ Blumenthal, Heston (14 November 2003). "The twist in the tail". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  3. ^ Dickie, John (8 January 2008). Delizia!: The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-5400-4.
  4. ^ Barrenechea, Teresa (2009). The Cuisines of Spain: Exploring Regional Home Cooking. Random House Digital, Inc.

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