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Sep 19, 2011 01:44 PM

Oxtail Preparation Question

My spouse has a craving for oxtail stew. I have never cooked with oxtail before. I'd like to make this stew in a crockpot. Here is my question: Most of the recipes I have seen require the meat to be removed from the bone and cut up before putting it in the crockpot. Some even suggest making tge stew a day in advance so it can chill and the fat skimmed off before reheating. I don't have a lot of time in the a.m. and was hoping to just throw the oxtails in the crockpot with the other ingredients and then remove the bone after it is tender and fully cooked, like I do with ribs and pulled pork. Is this unfeasible? i don't have a lot of time in the morning to spend on food prep. Thanks!

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  1. I've never removed uncooked meat from oxtail, and while I don't cook it in a crockpot, I make oxtail stew all the time. I don't see any reason why you can't cook the oxtails and serve them whole on the plate. Especially if they've been cooking all day (and they should take pretty much all day in a crock pot).

    There is a good amount of fat that comes off them, but nothing you couldn't skim off at the end of the day.

    Good luck! I love the stuff. It's soooo unctuous and rich.

    1. Sure, just throw them in. You could brown them first if you have time, but it isn't strictly required. They will completely fall apart when they are done.

      When the time and labor-saving device begins to take more time and labor than otherwise, it begins to defeat its own purpose.... or something like that.

      1. Definitely just throw them in there, I would not dream of taking it off the bone, that is what makes it and the broth so delicious, is simmering them on the bone. And as ina says, you can skim the fat off at the end, although as with all braises it will be even better reheated the next day -- but that is not to say it won't be fabulous the day it is made. Oxtail stew also freezes very well, fwiw.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GretchenS

          Oh is it ever even better the next day...

        2. Removing meat from the oxtail before cooking-that should be one of those expressions like 'herding cats.' Sounds like a huge waste of time.

          I make oxtails often enough, too---my gravatar picture happens to be some oxtail soup with vermicelli that I made a few weeks ago. I prefer to brown them, but then you can just put them in your crock pot or stove top on low flame and let them be. I don't cook them until the bone completely falls apart on its own, but only until the meat slips easily off of the bone and the bone would only fall apart with jostling. Sucking the bones is part of the fun of eating the soup. I want the bones in the soup.

          Also, I believe oxtail isn't extremely fatty. You will get a thin layer of fat that comes to the top of your cold solidified oxtail gelatin-broth. It's not like you would be getting a whole inch of fat forming at the top. Oxtail soup does taste great the next day, but it isn't worth waiting for de-fatting unless you are on a very fat restrictive diet.

          Oxtails are extremely delicious and I think you will find that they make a meal very suitable to your time-crunch food prep needs.

          1. As stated above removing the bone before cooking is pretty unheard of.
            I would advise a nice deep browning before braising/stewing. It really helps to deepen the flavor and really enriches the color ( brown is nicer than grey).
            Curried oxtails (Caribbean style) is one of my favorite dishes.