Oxtails are a flavorful and succulent cut of meat that can transform any dish into a culinary masterpiece when cooked correctly.
But how long does it take to cook oxtails to achieve that perfect tenderness and flavor?
The cooking time for oxtails varies depending on the method you choose, such as braising, slow cooking, or pressure cooking. Generally, it can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to cook oxtails until they are fall-off-the-bone tender. The key to a delicious oxtail dish is patience and the right cooking technique.
If you’re eager to learn the secrets of cooking oxtails to perfection, this ultimate guide is a must-read.
In this article, we will cover the essential factors that determine the ideal cooking time for oxtails – from selecting the best cut to choosing the right cooking method and checking for doneness.
By the end of this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to prepare mouthwatering oxtail dishes that will impress your family and friends.
How Long to Cook Oxtails and Different Methods
Cooking oxtails to perfection requires patience and the right technique. Since oxtails are a tougher cut of meat with lots of connective tissue, they need adequate time to break down and become tender.
Here’s a breakdown of the different cooking methods and their respective cooking times for oxtails:
Braising is a popular method for cooking oxtails, as it combines slow cooking with a flavorful liquid base.
To braise oxtails, you’ll first need to sear them in a hot pan, then transfer them to a pot or Dutch oven with your choice of liquid, such as beef broth, red wine, or tomato sauce.
Cover the pot and cook the oxtails in a preheated oven at 325°F (163°C) for approximately 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat is tender and easily falls off the bone.
2. Slow Cooking:
Using a slow cooker is a convenient and hands-off approach to cooking oxtails.
To slow cook oxtails, sear them in a hot pan first for added flavor, then transfer them to your slow cooker along with your desired liquid and other ingredients.
Cook on low heat for 7 to 8 hours or on high heat for 4 to 5 hours, until the oxtails are tender and the meat easily separates from the bone.
3. Pressure Cooking:
A pressure cooker is the fastest method for cooking oxtails, as it uses high pressure to break down the connective tissue in a shorter amount of time.
To cook oxtails in a pressure cooker, sear them in a hot pan, then transfer them to your pressure cooker along with the liquid and other ingredients.
Secure the lid and cook at high pressure for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the oxtails. Allow the pressure to release naturally before opening the cooker and checking for tenderness.
4. Stovetop Simmering:
Another way to cook oxtails is by simmering them on the stovetop. Sear the oxtails in a large pot or Dutch oven, then add your choice of liquid and other ingredients.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 3 to 4 hours, or until the oxtails are tender and the meat easily falls off the bone.
Regardless of the method you choose, always check the oxtails for tenderness before serving, as cooking times may vary depending on the size and thickness of the oxtails.
5. Oven Roasting:
Although not as common as braising, oven roasting can be a suitable method for cooking oxtails. Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C).
Season the oxtails with salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs and spices. Place them on a wire rack over a baking sheet to allow even heat distribution.
Roast the oxtails for about 2 to 2.5 hours, turning them occasionally for even browning. Keep in mind that this method might result in slightly drier oxtails, as they won’t be cooked in liquid.
While not a traditional method for cooking oxtails, air frying can still provide a unique spin on this delicious cut of meat. Preheat your air fryer to 380°F (193°C). Season the oxtails with salt, pepper, and your desired herbs and spices.
Lightly coat the oxtails with oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking. Place the oxtails in the air fryer basket in a single layer, making sure not to overcrowd them. Cook for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through for even cooking.
Note that this method is best suited for smaller, thinner oxtail pieces, and the final result may not be as tender as with other cooking methods.
Grilling oxtails is another unconventional yet delicious way to prepare them. It’s essential to pre-cook the oxtails using a moist-heat method, like braising or boiling, to ensure their tenderness before grilling.
After pre-cooking, season the oxtails with your choice of spices or marinate them for added flavor.
Preheat your grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grates to prevent sticking. Grill the oxtails for about 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally for even cooking and browning. Baste the oxtails with a sauce or glaze during the last few minutes of grilling to create a flavorful, caramelized crust.
Tips For Cooking Oxtails
Cooking oxtails can be a delightful culinary experience when done right. Here are some valuable tips to help you achieve perfectly tender and flavorful oxtails:
- Choose the right cut: Look for oxtails with a good amount of meat on the bones and a rich, dark color. Avoid cuts that appear dry or discolored.
- Season well: Generously season your oxtails with salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs and spices before searing. This will help build a flavorful base for your dish.
- Searing is key: Searing the oxtails in a hot pan before slow cooking, braising, or pressure cooking allows the Maillard reaction to occur, enhancing the overall flavor of your dish. Make sure your pan is hot and use oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable or canola oil.
- Deglaze the pan: After searing the oxtails, deglaze the pan with a liquid like wine, broth, or tomato sauce to scrape up the flavorful browned bits. This liquid will be added to your cooking pot, adding depth of flavor to your dish.
- Be patient: Oxtails require a long, slow cooking process to break down the connective tissue and become tender. Rushing the process will result in tough, chewy meat. Be patient and let the oxtails cook until they reach the desired tenderness.
- Skim the fat: Oxtails can be fatty, so it’s essential to skim off the excess fat that rises to the surface during cooking. You can either skim the fat while cooking or refrigerate the dish after cooking and remove the hardened fat layer before reheating and serving.
- Balance the flavors: Oxtails have a rich, robust flavor that pairs well with acidic ingredients like tomatoes, vinegar, or wine. Adding these elements to your dish will help balance out the flavors and create a more harmonious taste profile.
- Give it a rest: After cooking your oxtails, let them rest in their braising liquid for a while, or even better, refrigerate them overnight. This allows the flavors to meld and develop, resulting in a more delicious dish when reheated and served the next day.
- Serve with a suitable side: Oxtails go well with various side dishes, such as creamy mashed potatoes, polenta, or rice. These sides help to soak up the rich, flavorful sauce and complement the tender meat.
How Long To Cook Oxtails
- Slow Cooking
- Pressure Cooking
- Stovetop Simmering
- Oven Roasting
- Air Fryer
- Pick your favorite way to cook your oxtails from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected cooking method with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.