Introducing my Slow Braised Oxtail and Gravy recipe! This recipe was originally called Braised Oxtail and Butter Beans in my first ebook As Seen on IG, and has gone through quite the transformation since its debut there, so once again I’m encouraging anyone who owns the books to refer to the website live version because it’s wayyyyy better!
A note: these are specifically southern style or smothered oxtails. There is nothing Caribbean about anything in this recipe, so if that’s what you’re looking for you’re in the wrong place!
Slow Braised Oxtail and Gravy Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Slow Braised Oxtail and Gravy recipe:
- Beef oxtails: It’s a cow’s tail, cut up! The sizes will vary because the tail tapers so you’ll likely have some larger than others. That’s expected. Unless your butcher allows you to select every single oxtail he sells you, that’s expected.
- All-purpose flour: For the gravy. The original recipe calls for the oxtail themselves to be floured before searing and used a cornstarch slurry to thicken at the end, but I like this way much better.
- Beef broth, red wine vinegar, water: Our Slow Braised Oxtail and Gravy liquids! Red wine vinegar for deglazing the pan and marrying the mirepoix, beef brother for simmering, and water for building the gravy. Feel free to use red wine.
- Olive oil: Just for searing the oxtails. Oxtail is like 60% fat so there’s no need to add more to this dish.
- Carrots, onion, celery, garlic, tomato paste: Our aromatics! The mirepoix (carrots, onion, and celery) is discarded after the oxtails are tender because they’ve given all they have to give. If you want to eat them you can, but if I were you I’d saute another batch of mirepoix separately and add that at the same time as the butter beans so you’re not eating mushy veggies.
- Bay leaves, smoked paprika, kosher salt, seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce, cracked black pepper, garlic powder: Flavorings. Most of these season the Slow Braised Oxtail directly, but you’ll need seasoned salt for the gravy, and bay leaves for the long simmer.
- Butter beans: They’re optional, I guess. Butter beans and lima beans are the same things, sometimes in different stages of maturity. Use whichever one you can find.
How to Make Slow Braised Oxtail and Gravy
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Slow Braised Oxtail and Gravy recipe:
- Boil those tails! Make sure your oxtail has been trimmed of excess fat. Place a large pot over high heat and add the oxtails, whole garlic cloves, and the halved white onion. Cover with water and stir in the full teaspoon of kosher salt, and stir. Bring to a rolling boil and keep them there for about 30 minutes. You’ll notice a greyish foam develop on the top of the water, that’s just protein and is harmless. After the oxtail has boiled for about half an hour drain them and discard everything except the oxtails. Set those aside to cool.
- Season and sear ’em. When the oxtail has cooled enough to handle, season them liberally with the smoked paprika, remaining kosher salt, Worcestershire sauce, cracked black pepper, and garlic powder. Use your hands to really work the seasonings into the meat, in every crook and cranny. Place a heavy-bottomed dutch oven or braiser over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Let it preheat for 2 minutes, then begin adding the oxtail to sear. Make sure there are a couple of inches between each oxtail – don’t crowd the pan, go in batches adding more oil if needed. Sear the oxtails on all six sides and set them aside.
- Deglaze and build. Preheat your oven to 300°F and make sure a rack is in the dead center. Lower the heat under the braiser or dutch oven to medium and add the red wine vinegar. Use a wooden spoon or scraper to scrape up the pan fond (the darkened bits stuck to the pan) as best you can, then stir in the mirepoix (the diced onion, carrot, and celery). Cook the vegetables for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant and slightly softened, then clear a space in the center of the pan. Add the tomato paste and minced garlic, then stir them into the mirepoix, cooking for a few minutes longer. Next, stir in the beef broth. Add the oxtail and bay leaves. The liquid should come about only about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up the sides of the oxtails – we are not boiling!
- Braise. Slowly. SLOW Braised Oxtail and Gravy, I said. Place a lid slightly ajar on top of the pot – or use a piece of parchment paper – and place in the oven. Cook for about 4 hours, turning the oxtails over at the top of every hour so they cook evenly and remain moist throughout. When the meat is pulling away from the bone – you should be able to see the true shape of the bone in the center of each oxtail instead of just a perfect circle, and the meat should be jiggly and loose, and easily pierced with a fork.
- Gravy time! Place the dutch oven back on the stove and turn the heat on to medium. Remove the oxtails and set them aside, then pour the liquid through a sieve to remove the cooked mirepoix, bay leaves, and any other solids. You can also just use a slotted spoon to remove this stuff. Next, remove one cup of the liquid left in the pan and transfer that to the bowl of flour. Use a whisk to whisk them together until a thick paste has formed. There should be no lumps of flour. Add that paste to the pan and whisk it into the liquid left in the pan until that has been absorbed into the paste, too. Now, add the water in one cup increments, whisking it until completely smooth before adding the next cup. Taste and add seasoned salt if needed, then stir in the butter beans. Add the oxtails back to the pan, and coat them in the gravy. Cover completely with the lid and either pop it back in the oven or simmer over medium heat – stirring occasionally – for 30 minutes, until the butter beans are tender. Oil will leak from the oxtail into the gravy and that’s OK, just give it a good stir before serving. Dassit!
What To Serve With Slow Braised Oxtail and Gravy
Pretty much any and everything goes with this Slow Braised Oxtail and Gravy recipe! Here are some ideas.
Obligatory Pin –