Cooking Oxtails In The Oven: The Ultimate Guide

Oxtails have long been an underrated and underappreciated cut of meat, but with its rich, tender flesh, it’s perfect for slow-cooking. One of the easiest ways to cook oxtails is in the oven. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about cooking oxtails in the oven. From selection to preparation, and from cooking tips to delicious recipes, this guide will give you everything you need to know to create the perfect oxtail dish.

The Food Science Behind Oxtails

Before we dive into the detailed process of cooking oxtails in the oven, let’s first understand the science behind this versatile cut of meat. Oxtails are essentially the tails of cows, hence their name. It’s a tough, bony cut of meat that’s normally cut into sections before cooking.

Oxtails get their rich, beefy flavour from the marrow found inside the bones. The bones slowly release their nutrients, minerals, gelatin and collagen as they cook at a low temperature, rendering the meat succulent and flavourful. Marrow is a nutrient-dense meat that contains a high amount of essential vitamins and minerals, especially iron.

When cooking oxtails in the oven, it’s important to remember that this cut of meat is low in fat. To get the best results, it should be cooked slowly and at a low temperature to help tenderize the meat and make it succulent. This will also draw out and infuse the flavours that will best complement the natural richness of oxtails.

Selecting the Best Oxtails

Choosing the best oxtails is crucial to achieving a delicious and successful product. When choosing oxtails, it’s best to go for fresh, high-quality cuts.

The best place to buy oxtails is from a butcher. Fresh cuts are more flavourful and tender than frozen ones. Fresh oxtails have a beautiful red coloration on the outside and should feel firm to the touch. You can also look for oxtails that have a little bit of fat on the exterior, as this will help with tenderness.

When selecting oxtails, make sure to judge each piece separately, based on color, size, and shape. This is because oxtails come from different parts of the cow and can have varying degrees of tenderness and fat. Use your intuition and select the cuts that look the most inviting and appetizing.

Cleaning and Preparing the Oxtails


Once you’ve chosen your oxtails, it’s time to clean and prepare them. First, you need to rinse the oxtails under cold water and pat them down with a paper towel. Then, use a sharp knife to trim any extra fat or connective tissue.

After cleaning, you can also cut the oxtails into smaller sections to make them easier to handle. Some cooks even prefer to cut the oxtails into individual section pieces to allow for more even cooking and easier serving.

Tips for Cooking Oxtails in the Oven


Cooking oxtails is all about patience and slow-cooking techniques. Here are some tips to help you get the best results:

Add flavourful ingredients

The key to cooking oxtails is to infuse them with flavour. Experiment with different herbs and spices to make the dish your own. You can add ingredients such as bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, garlic, onions, and red wine.

Use a Dutch Oven

The best way to cook oxtails in the oven is by using a Dutch oven. A Dutch oven allows for consistent cooking temperatures and will keep the oxtails tender throughout the cooking process.

Adjust the oven temperature

Since oxtails are lean, low-temperature cooking is necessary to get the optimal results. Set your oven to 300°F and let the oxtails slow-cook for 3-4 hours.

Check the tenderness

After about 3 hours of cooking time, use a fork to check the tenderness of the meat. The fork should go easily through the flesh without requiring much pressure. Keep in mind that cooking time may vary, depending on the size and thickness of the oxtail sections.

Perfect Oven-Baked Oxtails Recipe

oven baked oxtails

Here’s a simple oven-baked oxtail recipe that will help you get the best results. You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 4 lbs of fresh oxtail

  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

  • 1 diced onion

  • 2 chopped tomatoes

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 sliced carrots

  • 2 stalks of celery, diced

  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  • 2 cups of beef broth


  1. Preheat your oven to 300°F.

  2. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped onion and let it sweat for a minute or two.

  3. Add the chopped carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot and stir well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

  4. Add the oxtails to the pot and cook for an additional four to five minutes until they start to brown.

  5. Pour beef broth into the pot until the oxtails are covered.

  6. Add chopped tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to the pot.

  7. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and place in the oven.

  8. Allow the oxtails to cook for three to four hours until the meat is tender and separates from the bone.

  9. Remove the lid and increase the oven temperature to 400°F.

  10. Let the oxtails cook for another 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens.


Here are some tips to help you modify the recipe according to your preferences:

  1. For a rich and deep flavour, marinate the oxtails overnight before cooking them.

  2. If you’re hosting a large gathering, double the recipe so you can feed more people.

  3. Serve the oxtails with a side of mashed potatoes, rice, or steamed vegetables.

Overcooking and Undercooking

oven baked oxtails

Overcooking or undercooking oxtails can spoil the dish. Overcooked oxtails become too soft and lose their rich and meaty texture, while undercooked oxtails can be too chewy and tough.

To avoid overcooking or undercooking your oxtails, make sure to check the tenderness of the meat regularly. Use a fork to test the meat for tenderness. The ideal texture should be tender, but still slightly chewy.

If oxtails are undercooked after three to four hours of cooking, it’s possible to continue cooking them. Simply return them to the oven and bake in increments of 20-30 minutes until they are fully tender.


There are many variations of oxtail dishes that you can experiment with to create a range of different flavors and presentations. Some popular variations include:

  • Oxtail soup: Oxtail soup is a classic dish that’s both hearty and nutritious. Simply add your preferred vegetables, herbs, or grains to the pot to create a delicious soup with oxtails.

  • Jamaican oxtail stew: Jamaican oxtail stew is a popular variation of this dish. This recipe includes allspice, scallions, and peppers to create a rich and spicy stew served over rice or with bread.

  • Oxtail in red wine: Some folks love to add red wine to their oxtails. This creates a deep red wine flavor and a thick and rich sauce that’s perfect for dipping bread or soaking up with mashed potatoes.


In conclusion, oven-baked oxtails are a delicious and versatile dish that’s perfect for any meal or occasion. With the right selection, preparation, and cooking techniques, you can create a mouth-watering dish that will leave your taste buds in awe. Use this guide as your ultimate reference to cook oxtails in the oven and discover new ways to make this dish your own.

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  • FAQS On Oxtails Oven Recipe

    Can I Cook Oxtails In The Oven?

    Yes, you can definitely cook oxtails in the oven. In fact, utilizing the oven is a popular and convenient method for preparing this flavorful dish.

    What Ingredients Do I Need For An Oven Oxtails Recipe?

    To make an exquisite oven oxtails recipe, you will need about 4 pounds of oxtails, 2 medium-sized onions, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 medium-sized carrots, 2 stalks of celery, 1 cup of red wine, 2 cups of beef broth, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 2 bay leaves, fresh thyme, salt, and black pepper.

    How Long Does It Take To Cook Oxtails In The Oven?

    Cooking time may vary depending on your oven and the size of the oxtails. Generally, you can expect it to take around 3 to 3.5 hours in the oven at a temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius). This slow cooking method allows the meat to become tender and juicy.

    Should I Sear The Oxtails Before Putting Them In The Oven?

    It is highly recommended to sear the oxtails before placing them in the oven. Searing enhances the flavor and helps to develop a rich, deep brown crust on the meat. This step adds complexity and depth to the final dish.

    Can I Make Any Adjustments To The Oven Oxtails Recipe To Suit My Taste?

    Absolutely! Cooking is an art, and you can certainly adjust the recipe to suit your preferences. You can add or reduce the amount of seasoning, experiment with different herbs and spices, or even incorporate other complementary ingredients like mushrooms or root vegetables. Feel free to tailor the recipe to your liking and have a delicious meal tailored specifically to your taste buds.