Growing up, every Sunday my mother would make oxtails with butter beans and rice and peas. It was good, but being a kid I complained, “why we always got to eat the same thing all the time.”
Little did I know the LUXURY meal I was having. Back in the day, oxtail was specifically the tail of an ox. Today, it can be the tail of any cattle. It taste like beef, but because of the extra fat, gelatin, and so on, oxtails produce an incredibly rich stock or stew and the meat, when stewed, has a better texture than most parts of the cattle.
Just like chicken wings, oxtails were considered a poor man's food. Back when my mother made it oxtails were about $1 per lb...until stores caught on that people liked them. What used to be considered a throwaway cut of meat is now one of the most expensive, ranging from $5 to $13 per lb. At that price it is truly a luxury.
Oxtails is a dish that is popular around the world, but specifically within the Caribbean and within Caribbean communities in the US and Europe. It’s a very simple, but time intensive dish.
Restaurant Depot has a 15lb box for $4.67 lb. It came out to be about $70, so i spilt it with a friend. Here's the joke. After cleaning the oxtails we ended up with about 10lbs of meat and 5lbs of fat (I threw away) so it ended up to be about $7.00 lb of goodness.
When you find or buy oxtails make sure you or the butcher trim most of the fat and clean it with water and vinegar. Season your oxtails with the basics: thyme, onions, mushroom soy sauce, black pepper, salt, garlic and a little bit of @nicksseasonings duh.
Use a crockpot (or pressure cooker) when making this dish. Set on high and cook for 7-8 hours. The meat will become tender because it is braised for hours. Add a little water if needed, but it should spring up its own. At 6 hours, add the butter beans. The butter beans soak up oxtail gravy and literally melt in your mouth. Serve with rice and peas and enjoy.
Oxtails keep well in the refrigerator and taste better with time. Just make sure you reheat them slowly in the oven at low temperatures (225-250 degrees).