Smoked and Braised Ox Tail
What is oxtail anyhow?
Oxtail is exactly what it sounds like. It is literally the tail of a cow and is often considered to be a delicacy. A whole oxtail normally weighs in at around 7 lbs. before being trimmed. Unlike our whole entire oxtail, it is normally cut into 1-2” thick sections for resale. Being that it comes from the cow, it is a cut of beef. Because of all of the collagen and intramuscular fats in oxtail, when prepared properly, the meat is soft and tender and packed with flavor.
Oxtail is a staple in many different cultures food and is well known as a favorite kind of Jamaican food. This is definitely not the only spot on the globe that enjoys oxtail though. It is very well known to be a regular meal in S. America, W. Africa, China, Korea, and Indonesia.
The Smoked and Braised Method
There are many ways to prepare oxtail but the one thing that most of the recipes call for is to braise the meat for a long period of time. This is necessary to properly break down all of the fats and make it tender. For us, there is one way to improve the flavor of the already flavor packed meal. Smoke that tail first!
Let me explain. In most preparations that you will find, they will call for the oxtail to be browned in a hot pan on all sides and then braised. This helps make a good crust on the meat using the Maillard Reaction. This is the process where the heat will caramelize the natural sugars in the meats and really pull the maximum flavor form your meal.
Instead of browning, we prefer to smoke the meat for a bit before braising. This allows the meat to take on a kiss of smoke that cannot compare to browning in a pan. Once the tail has smoked for 2 hours, we remove it and drop it in the braise. The braise is nothing more than some herbs, seasonings, broth, wine, and tomato products that the meat gets cooked in for the last few hours. Talk about building flavors!
Once the smoking period is over, its time to drop the meat down into the pot. This last step ensures that your tail is going to be juicy, tender, and best of all, delicious!!! This could take 3 hours or more to finish. You can do it on the grill, or many people opt to switch it over to the oven to finish the braising. It really won’t make a difference as it will be covered and not exposed to smoke anymore. It is up to you. We finished ours over charcoal.
Don’t worry about it if you cannot find a whole oxtail at your local meat shop or butcher. You can buy the sectioned pieces at the grocery store, and it will work just as well. Enjoy the oxtails video. If there is something that you would like to see us make a video about, please feel free to let us know. Until then, remember to #GetOutAndGrill and we will see you the next time, on The FOGO Life!
- Find yourself an entire whole oxtail. You can also use the sectioned oxtail that you’d normally find. I found ours at Broward Meat and Fish. Trim any excess fat but leave a small layer. Rub it with Wagyu Beef Tallow and then coat it to your liking with Tina Cannons European Blend and Al Frugoni’s Dry Chimichurri mix.
- Take your Stainless ½ Moon Drip-n-Griddle pan and spray the inside with Duck Fat Spray for MUCH easier cleanup. Place the seasoned oxtail on the rack in the pan. Allow it to sit out while you prepare the grill for indirect grilling.
- Fill your grill with FOGO Premium Charcoal and prepare for indirect grilling at 275°. Once the grill is heated, place a few smoking chunks in the fire and place the pan with the meat on the cooking grate.
- Once the meat has hit 170° internal, (approx. 2 hours)remove it from the grill. Open your vents to allow the grill to heat up to 350°. Place the oxtail into the Dutch oven along with the vegetables, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes. Now cover the meat halfway with a 50/50mix of beef broth and wine. Sprinkle about 1 tsp. of Tina’s rub in there, cover and put it back on the grill. Cook covered, until the meat is tender and shreds easily. Remove the meat, shred, and serve over mashed potatoes, cheesy grits, polenta, egg noodles or anything else that your heart desires. Spoon the liquids and veggies over the meat when serving.
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