Crock Pot Caribbean Oxtails

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IMG_4063What the heck is oxtail? Most of what we – and by we I mean Americans – call oxtail is actually tail sections from a cow. It contains a center bone and can be a bit fatty, but when cooked low and slow, the meat becomes super tender. Sounds like a perfect job for the crock pot though you could certainly braise these on the stove top instead.

Have I told you how much crock pots rule? Yes, I have, but it bears repeating: if you are strapped for time and think you don’t have the chance to cook,  a slow cooker is probably the single best use of $30-40 that I can think of. It’s the ultimate in lazy smart cooking because once the food goes in, you literally have to do nothing but wait. Win!

When I researched Caribbean recipes for oxtail, most of them had Paleo-unfriendly ingredients like flour or sugar. Ick. Instead, I’ve given you all the amazing flavor without any unsavory additions. This would be super tasty served over cauliflower rice. For an even *faster* version, eliminate steps 2-4 and just throw everything into the crock pot together. I think the extra couple minutes it takes to brown the meat is well worth it though.

If you can’t find oxtail, you could substitute stew meat instead.

Prep time: 15 min     Cook time: 6 hours    Makes: 2 lb of meat plus veggies

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb (1 kg) beef oxtails
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
  • 2 cups beef stock, homemade or organic is best
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon allspice berries (or 1 teaspoon ground allspice)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (I like Red Boat Fish Sauce)
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • Coconut oil or fat of choice
  • Sea salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare all the veggies: dice the onions and carrots. Mince the garlic and ginger. If using jalapeño pepper, you can remove some or all of the seeds and mince. If you like it spicy, you can keep the seeds or even add a hotter pepper such as habanero (Scotch bonnet).
  2. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add a spoonful of coconut oil. Sprinkle the oxtails with salt and pepper. Brown them on all sides, and place them in the crock pot. 
  3. In the same skillet, add the onion, carrot, garlic, ginger and jalapeño. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, allspice berries, fish sauce and thyme. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up all the browned bits from the oxtail. If you want to get fancy, this is called deglazing the pan and the bits are called fond. Fun with cooking!
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the contents into the crockpot to cover the oxtail.
  6. Cook on high for 6 hours.
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28 thoughts on “Crock Pot Caribbean Oxtails

    1. Steph

      It’s so tasty! The meat is moist and usually releases a bit of gelatin in the cooking process. Try asking around at the local butcher or in the supermarket (or if there’s a farmer’s market you go to). It’s getting more popular so sometimes it’s harder to find.

      Reply
  1. erinrosalita

    Yum! I’m always looking for interesting ways to cook oxtail. So full of gelatin and collagen, but a little wacky on the taste scale…kind of like liver. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
    1. Steph

      Hi there! You know…I didn’t think about it until you mentioned it but you’re totally right! I think it reminds me a bit of lamb shank (which I have a really hard time eating because I find the flavor very strong). To get around the taste of liver, I grate it into meatballs or burgers :)

      Reply
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      1. Kela

        Hey Steph, I added the the tamarind paste because Worcestershire sauce is an oft called for ingredient. in oxtail soup. Tamarind and some sort of anchovy or fish sauce are some of the more key ingredients and are paleo. Example of typical Worcestershire sauce recipe: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Worcestershire-Sauce. Your fish sauce made me think of it. It gave it a nice sour-tart edge. The mushrooms I added because I love mushrooms to the point of being in the local mushroom club and collecting both eating, dying and medicinal use. Ta!

        Reply
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  4. robert

    i’m making this just now, will post to say how it goes tomorrow, im adding in a few extra types of veg as well to bulk it out further.

    sadly oxtail in the uk is gettting more and more expensive it used to be a staple of my grans generation for a big family to be fed on the cheap, now as it is becoming trendy it is getting more expensive!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Robert…It’s the same way in the States…getting a lot more pricey, just like pork belly. Strange, right??

      Hope it turns out well for you!

      Reply
      1. robert

        was really good, i added a bit of star anise as well gives a nice aniseed note,
        yeah pork belly used to be sooo cheap here now its as expensive as pork loin
        Still quite cheap ive found are pork cheeks or ox cheeks these are typically discarded and are very cheap, you’ll have to speak to your local butche ri would think tho to land them.

        but cooked identically to above would be stunning, maybe even cheat a lil and throw in a glass of red during cooking it would be phenominal.

        Reply
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  8. David Birney

    I will be trying this for sure. They sell Ox tail all over the place down here for cheap, and I have always meant to try it.

    Reply
  9. Arlene

    I made this today and it was absolutely delicious. Instead of the jalapeño I used regular bell pepper and used a dash of seasoning salt and fresh green seasoning. Eating this made me feel like I was at my grand mom’s house in the Caribbean :)

    Reply
  10. Roz

    This is one of my go-to oxtail dishes! I made up a batch yesterday. I take the meat off the bones once it’s cooked & then use them to make stock. Win-win!

    Reply
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  13. David Sosna

    I’ve been getting into this blog a lot lately. Good stuff. I just got out of surgery on my Achilles and prepped food for two days for super nutrient-dense recovery meals. One of the dishes I made is this stew. First of all, let me start off by saying it was amazing and easy….stupid easy. I did alter a few things, however, not really because I thought it needed it but just based on what i had. My point is, one of the many great things about this recipe is it’s adaptability, so I hope you appreciate the changes as a compliment to how versatile it is. I used homemade chicken broth instead of beef (the real stuff, with heads, feet, carcass, the works). I used parsnips instead of carrots and added a whole bunch of sweet potato and green cabbage. I also used about twice as much ginger, garlic, and jalapeno with seeds, and used lard instead of coconut oil. I browned the oxtails first as recommended but I would always do this coming from a cooking background. I added the veggies (which were browned in the same pan as the oxtails, with about two hours left to cook so that they wouldn’t be too mushy. I agree, however, that keeping it simple by not browning anything and adding everything at the same time would still leave you with a tasty, nutrient-rich dish. Well done, Steph, thank you.

    Reply

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