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Are ox tails just not for me?

Let me preface this by saying there is generally no food I do not like if it is prepared well. I have tried ox tails at two local (Jacksonville FL) carribean / Jamaican restaurants, and I just have not been that impressed. At one restaurant, the flavor was a little boring, but at the second, it was a very delicious and spicy. That said, at each place, it seems like a chore to get the meat off the bone, as there is still a lot of fatty connective tissue. In my mind, it seems like this stuff should break down if cooked a little longer. However, since it was an issue at both restaruants, I wonder if this is the way it should be cooked. In other words, is "fall off the bone" overcooked for ox tails? I'm just wondering if I should keep giving this dish a try or just go back to the jerk chicken.

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  1. That's oxtails for you no matter how it's made...."fall off the bone" overcooked and sometimes lots of connective tissue and sometimes it can be fatty.
    Wouldn't say part of the fun is eating it and can be some work, but no two oxtails are the same from my experience.

    1. Don't give up, when prepared properly they are delicious. I grew up on them in the UK. They should be fall off the bone tender, this way the natural gelatin in the bone has also thickened the gravy. Normally I just prepare them in a stew with onions and root vegetables and serve them with dumplings or boiled potatoes. I have had them at some good restaurants where they were already removed from the bone and served in the gravy. When cooked properly there should not be any work involved in getting them off the bone. The problem seems to be that in some cases people do not allow enough time for them to simmer slowly. Try them again and good luck!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: giveittomikey

        +1. IMO they should be fall of the bone tender. I think they'd be almost impossible to eat otherwise.

      2. When I fix oxtails, I cook them till the cartilage disks separate from the bones.

        1. You have to cook oxtails a minimum of four hours until the bones separate, that's when they're best.

          3 Replies
          1. re: MandalayVA

            "Minimum of four hours" -- well, that's assuming you're not using a pressure-cooker, eh?

            1. re: racer x

              I've never tried a pressure cooker. Time isn't the issue, it's taste. ;)

              1. re: MandalayVA

                And if you use a pressure cooker, you'll have the best of both worlds.

          2. You need good tail and to cook it properly. There's cheap tail out there that never soften up no matter how long you cook it...

            For me the perfect oxtail is bursting with fat and gelatin and falls right off the bone. You should try making it at home.

            7 Replies
            1. re: joonjoon

              "cheap tail"...hehe.
              I agree with most posters here, that when done right, oxtail can be great. Also pointed out that even if falling-off-the-bone, you still have to suck, slurp, gnaw, and pick through the bones, and yeah, thats part of the satisfaction (like eating crab or crawfish or many times goat).
              If you lean more towards buttertart and don't like the idea of oxtail, then no sweat, return to jerk chicken. But if you wanna follow-up, maybe try cooking it at home, as suggested, and go from there

              1. re: porker

                If you're having to "s, s, g & p" through the bones, then they aren't falling off the bone. A knife and fork will cause the pieces to come right off.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Correct, but like chicken wings, I don't want to use a knife and fork.

                  1. re: porker

                    If I prepared chicken wings the way I prepare oxtails, I'd be eating them with a knife and fork. I sincerely can't imagine eating either with my hands. Guess I'm not into the whole caveman thing :)

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Point taken {:/), Theres a thread kicking around about all things cartiledge and a few of us are exchanging varying opinions.

                      I wholeheartedly enjoy food much more (I guess I fall into the caveman camp) when I can pick it up in my fingers, plop it into my mouth (or hold it against my mouth), and gnaw away.

                      I realize this isn't everyone's cup of tea...but for me, this is a big draw: ribs, chicken, shrimp, crab, lobster, a sandwich.... whatever..... it doesn't matter, if I can pick it up with my hands to eat, its much more enjoyable.

                      1. re: porker

                        For me the best part of baised oxtail is gnawing on the sticky gooey stuff on the ends of the bone sections...and sucking out the goo from the cavity.. :)