This comprehensive guide explains everything you need to know about oxtail meat, including what it is, how it compares to beef, where to buy it, how to cook it, nutritional benefits, common recipes, and answers to frequently asked questions about this uniquely flavored cut of beef taken from the tails of cattle.
Is Oxtail Beef Or Pork?
Oxtail is a cut of beef that comes from a cow’s tail. It is not pork or any other type of meat. Oxtail’s distinctive appearance and flavor set it apart from other beef cuts.
What Is Oxtail?
Oxtail refers to the tail of a cow or bull. It contains sections of vertebrae bones with meat attached. The meat cut closest to the tail is the toughest, while the meat higher up is more tender. Oxtail has a high proportion of bone, fat, and connective tissue. It contains collagen and marrow inside the bones.
Oxtail has been used worldwide for stews and soups. It is a popular ingredient across European, Asian, African, Jamaican, and Latin American cuisines. Oxtail is prized for its rich, beefy flavor that intensifies when braised low and slow. The bones and cartilage add body, texture, and nutrients when cooked.
Difference Between Beef And Oxtail
While it’s still technically beef, there are a few distinctive elements that make oxtail stand out. Here are some of them:
- Cut of meat – Oxtail comes from the tail, while beef can come from other areas like the chuck, ribs, loin, etc.
- Bone content – Oxtail contains bones, while cuts like steak remove the bones.
- Fat and collagen – Oxtail has higher fat and collagenous connective tissue levels.
- Flavor – Oxtail has a deeper, more intense beef flavor when cooked due to the bones, fat, and marrow.
- Texture – Oxtail turns gelatinous when braised, unlike chewy steak.
- Cooking method – Oxtail requires braising, while beef can be grilled, pan-fried, or roasted.
What Type Of Meat Is Oxtail?
Oxtail is classified as a form of beef since it comes from cattle. However, it differs from typical beef cuts due to its high bone, fat, and collagen content. Oxtail contains four main components:
- Tail vertebrae bones – sections of small tailbones rich in marrow.
- Meat – thinly layered meat between each vertebrae.
- Fat – thick layers of fat throughout for moisture.
- Connective tissues – collagen and gelatinous tendons.
The combination of these parts makes oxtail unique in taste and texture. Other meats cannot replicate it!
Is Oxtail Beef Healthy?
Yes, it is indeed super healthy! Oxtail provides some valuable nutrients:
- Protein – High amounts of protein comparable to other cuts of beef.
- Iron – Oxtail contains substantial iron to support hemoglobin levels.
- Collagen – Collagen is a protein beneficial for skin, hair, nails, and joints.
- Bone marrow – Nutritious marrow encased inside the bones.
However, oxtail is higher in saturated fat and cholesterol than leaner cuts due to the high-fat content. Overall, oxtail can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Is Oxtail Good For Weight Loss? Oxtail’s Calories Break Down
Oxtail can be incorporated into a weight-loss diet, but you need to be mindful of it. Some factors to consider:
- It is higher in calories than lean beef due to fat content. Approx. 200 calories per 3oz serving.
- Provides protein to retain muscle mass when dieting. About 10-15g protein per serving.
- It contains collagen, which helps improve satiety and fullness.
- Rich, meaty flavor can satisfy cravings with smaller portions.
- Best consumed periodically, not daily, due to saturated fat content.
Is Oxtail Expensive?
Oxtail costs more per pound than common beef cuts like ground beef or steak. The reasons for the high price are:
- Less popular – Lower demand means butchers order less inventory.
- Specialty item – Prized as a delicacy in many cuisines.
- Limited supply – Each cattle only has one tail for oxtail meat.
- Labor intensive – It is time-consuming to cut and prepare the vertebrae sections.
Expect to pay $6 per pound or higher. Oxtail prices can increase further at ethnic grocers, specialty butcher shops, or farmers’ markets.
Where To Buy Oxtail?
Now, let’s talk about where you can cop one of these delicious cuts for your stew! Check these sources to purchase quality oxtail meat:
- Local butcher shops – Custom cut fresh oxtail. Provide advance notice.
- Ethnic grocery stores – Caribbean, Asian, Hispanic, and Halal markets often stock oxtail.
- Online retailers – Purchase frozen, vacuum-packed oxtail to be shipped.
- Farmers markets – Look for local beef farmers or ranchers selling oxtail.
- Large supermarkets – Some offer oxtail in the freezer or fresh meat cases.
Here is a quick tip: Inspect the oxtail for a deep red color and white fat marbling before purchase.
What Is The Best Way To Cook Oxtail?
The low and slow braising method is ideal for oxtail to break down the fat and connective tissues. You want to simmer your oxtail in a beautiful liquid and/or seasonings. Try these cooking techniques:
- Braise – Brown, then braise oxtail for 3-4 hours until tender.
- Stew – Add oxtail chunks to beef, lentil, or vegetable stew recipes.
- Soup – Simmer oxtail to create rich bone broth for soup bases.
- Grill – Grill oxtail on low heat, occasionally basting to prevent drying.
Remove the meat from the bones after cooking for easy serving.
Best Oxtail Recipes – Let’s Talk Globally
As mentioned above, oxtail is an essential part of many cuisines. Here are some of the best contenders for best oxtail recipes:
- Jamaican Oxtail Stew – Simmered in aromatic spices and scotch bonnets.
- Korean Galbi Jjim – Braised oxtail with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.
- Italian Ossobuco – Cross-cut veal shanks are similar to oxtail.
- Portugese Caçoila – Hearty oxtail and bean stew.
- Caribbean Oxtail Ragu – Made with tomatoes, herbs, and Caribbean flavors.
- Vietnamese Pho – Flavored with oxtail bone broth and rice noodles.
Let us know if you want an easy-to-follow guide on how to make any of those lovely dishes!
How To Store Oxtail?
Based on the condition, oxtail can be stored for even months!
Raw oxtail can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or around 6 months in the freezer. Thaw frozen oxtail overnight in the fridge before cooking.
Store cooked oxtail in an airtight container for 3-4 days refrigerated or 2-3 months frozen.
What Kind Of Meat Is Oxtail?
Oxtail is a cut of beef from the tail of a cow. It contains tailbone sections and meats.
Is Beef Oxtail Halal?
Yes, oxtail is halal since it meets the requirements for permissible beef in Islamic law.
Is Oxtail Similar To Beef?
Oxtail is a type of beef but differs due to its higher bone, fat, and collagen content. The meat tastes like beef but turns gelatinous when cooked.
Where Does Jamaican Oxtail Come From?
Jamaican oxtail comes from the tails of locally raised grass-fed cattle. It differs by being seasoned with Caribbean spices.
Is Oxtail Healthier Than Beef?
Oxtail can be healthy in moderation but is higher in saturated fat and cholesterol than leaner beef cuts. It provides more collagen.
In summary, is oxtail beef or pork? It is a uniquely flavored cut of beef from the tails of cattle prized by cooks worldwide. It delivers a rich, meaty flavor when braised low and slow. With its high nutrition and versatility, oxtail is a delicious alternative to regular beef.
- Oxtail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxtail
- USDA Table of Cooking Yields for Meat and Poultry: https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400525/Data/retn/USDA_CookingYields_MeatPoultry.pdf
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