The Tail End for the Cook

Oxtail 1

Despite the name, these days oxtail doesn’t necessarily come from an ox, it can come from any beef cattle. The name is, however, reflective of the part of the animal it comes from: the tail. But don’t let this put you off; it’s incredibly tasty and meaty and if you didn’t know what it was and you ate it off the bone you’d think it was no different to any other cut of beef, except perhaps more flavoursome.

I’d never cooked oxtail – never even come across it as far as I can remember – until the other night and now I can’t wait to catch my next tail. It has the most deliciously intense, beefy flavour that you wouldn’t believe and the gelatine in the bone gives you a wonderfully gelatinous broth full of heart and soul. If you’re looking for comfort food when you’re feeling under the weather this is the real deal.

I started off making a stew with my oxtail but the broth was so good I decided not to reduce it down and turn it into a soup. All it took was some slow bubbling on the hob with classic stew vegetables and beef stock for 3 hours. Then I just served a piece of the oxtail in a bowl surrounded by all the glorious broth.

This may have been my first encounter with oxtail but it will by no means be my last. I can see this being made throughout the winter when it turns bitterly cold. I have a chapter in my cookbook on winter cooking and I feel it would be a crying shame to leave this out; in that one meal it earned its place.

Oxtail 2



  1. Cathy M
    September 14, 2009 / 10:54 am

    We always had oxtail soup when I was growing up. Now, they're to hard to find in the stores. I really miss that soup, it was so good.

  2. tamara
    September 14, 2009 / 12:04 pm

    I used some neck of lamb in a recipie this weekend

    As with Oxtail I think many people are put off using it, but it so tasy and the left over bones make a great stock. Waste not want not and half the price of lamb steak.

    This looks good, I know my butcher does do Oxtail but I have not had it in a while, my husband would love this recipie, thank you.

  3. Mary
    September 14, 2009 / 5:37 pm

    I haven't used ox tails in a long time. When my children were small I made soup with them all the time. I'll have to try them again. You are my inspiration :-). Have a wonderful day.

  4. Phoo-D
    September 14, 2009 / 8:22 pm

    I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed this! I've been pondering cooking oxtail for some time now, and just haven't gotten the nerve to do it. The soup looks perfect for our cold winter nights.

  5. Janice
    September 14, 2009 / 9:31 pm

    Looks great. My grandfather was a butcher and gran used to use all sorts of odd cuts, she pressed ox tongue, which I have to say, put me off it for life! I did like a bit of oxtail though.

  6. Kavey
    September 15, 2009 / 8:19 am

    I think I first had oxtail on safari, of all places… it was part of the menu for an evening meal held outside in a boma instead of in the normal camp dining room.
    Been meaning to try it myself!
    Must get around to it!

  7. noodlecapricciosa
    September 15, 2009 / 9:36 pm

    The soup looks so comforting; does the gelatinous-looking part in the middle of the bone a bit like bone marrow?

  8. kate
    September 18, 2009 / 2:39 pm

    Julia, as always you're such an inspiration! My husband's family raises cattle and we are blessed to receive all our beef from the ranch, but I've never even heard of using the tail. I will definitely be sharing this with my MIL. Thanks!

  9. food4two
    September 22, 2009 / 7:50 pm

    I've really wanted to try oxtail for ages and seeing this has made me want to give it a go even more. Do all butchers stock it, its not always on display, maybe I need to ask for it?

  10. Foodycat
    October 4, 2009 / 3:23 pm

    Oxtail is delicious! I love a really classic oxtail soup, but my husband likes my oxtail tom yum so much I don't get to do it any other way!

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