Rich in lean protein, baked oxtails are a culinary delicacy that tastes amazing. This cut of meat also makes a healthy addition to stews, soups and pasta dishes. Serve it with roasted potatoes, beans, wild rice or sautéed vegetables to boost its flavor.
Low and slow moist cooking works best for oxtails. This delicious dish takes at least three hours to cook, but you can let the oven do the hard work.
What Is Oxtail?
As its name suggests, oxtail meat comes from the tail of a cow. Before being sold on the market, it's skinned and cut into pieces of different sizes. Once cooked, it has a rich, beefy flavor. Its silky texture and gelatinous meat make it ideal for soups and stews, but you can also cook it in the oven.
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Beef oxtails are a powerhouse of nutrition — a 4-ounce serving (raw) has 170 calories, 9 grams of fat and 20 grams of lean protein. It also provides 10 percent of the daily recommended iron intake. This mineral plays a key role in red blood cell formation, as reported by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Low iron levels in the bloodstream may lead to anemia.
Read more: Is Pork Better Than Beef?
This cut of meat is also an excellent source of B vitamins, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium, reports USDA. Potassium, one of the most abundant minerals in oxtail, helps regulate blood pressure by increasing sodium excretion in the urine. When consumed in adequate amounts, it may lower your risk of stroke, heart disease and osteoporosis, according to a May 2013 review featured in Advances in Nutrition.
Zinc, another essential nutrient, supports immune function, reproductive health, neurotransmission and cellular metabolism, according to experts at Oregon State University. A 3.5-ounce serving of cooked oxtail provides 10 milligrams of zinc. Adult women require 8 milligrams of the mineral per day, while men should aim for about 11 grams.
Cooking Oxtails in the Oven
Baked oxtails are not only delicious but healthy, too. Plus, this flavorful dish is easy to cook and goes well with most veggies, from potatoes and carrots to asparagus and cabbage. If you're trying to cut back on sodium, use herbs and spices for extra flavor. Garlic, fresh rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, cayenne pepper and paprika are all great choices.
The best part about cooking oxtails is that you can let the oven do the hard work. Start by trimming the fat. This type of meat is naturally gelatinous. If you don't remove the fat, the dish will be greasy.
Next, put the meat in a shallow casserole dish. Add your favorite herbs and spices along with several splashes of soy sauce. Cover with aluminum foil but raise its edges a bit to prevent it from touching the food. Most recipes require setting the oven temperature at 340 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The USDA recommends a minimum cooking temperature of 325 F when cooking beef products.
Cook until the internal temperature reaches 145 F. This ensures that all harmful bacteria are destroyed. Once the meat is done, allow it to rest for at least three minutes.
As you see, cooking oxtails in the oven couldn't be easier. The downside is that it takes a long time because the meat is bony and high in fat. According to the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, low and slow moist cooking works best for this type of meat. Expect to wait at least three hours for your meal to be ready.
Feel free to experiment with other delicious recipes. Oxtails are versatile and can be cooked in a multitude of ways. Try your hand at slow-cooked oxtail stew, wine-braised oxtail or Southern smothered oxtails. Save the leftovers and add them to omelets, salads or steamed green veggies for extra protein.
- USDA: "Beef Oxtails"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Iron in Diet"
- USDA: "Cooked Beef Oxtails"
- Advances in Nutrition: "Potassium and Health"
- Oregon State University: "Zinc"
- USDA: "Beef From Farm to Table"
- National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health: "USA – Soul Food"
- Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board: "Beef Cuts - Oxtail"