I know I’m not Jamaican but I can cook a mean oxtail stew. When I first moved to Colorado from New York, I had a strong craving for the oxtail my cousin and I got from this little Jamaican cook shop at Flatbush junction in Brooklyn. This was the best oxtail I ever tasted. It had the right amount of fat, tenderness and gravy. So I tried to replicate it. First going off of my own taste buds and then by looking up authentic Jamaican oxtail recipes online. Soon I realized that Jamaican oxtail stew was very similar to Guyanese beef stew, with the exception of all spice. All spice is what gave oxtail stew its unique flavor. Not familiar with All Spice? Click HERE to learn more about All Spice and how you can start incorporating it into your cooking.
It’s All in the Marinade
For this oxtail stew recipe I created a marinade using garlic powder, onion powder, parsley flakes, cayenne pepper, mustard, tomato paste, salt and coconut aminos. I let the oxtail marinate for 30 minutes. In this recipe I am using coconut aminos as a substitute for browning and brown sugar. Browning is a dark caramel made with cane sugar. For my more traditional Oxtail recipe using browning and sugar, click here. But if you are like me and trying to be conscious about added sugar in you diet, or perhaps you are doing a Whole30 and wanted to expand your meal prep with some Caribbean Flavor! Then keep reading.
Searing the oxtail
It is important to give your oxtail a good sear to seal in all the flavors of the marinade before cooking. I love cooking my oxtail in a heavy bottom pot, such as a dutch pot or dutch oven. I sear the oxtail on high heat, constantly turning for about 5 minutes, then add liquids, bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and let it cook until tender.
It takes about 3 hours of cooking to get oxtail to the right tenderness on the stove top. Don’t have that kind of time? Try using my Instant Pot recipe. Don’t have an Instant Pot? Click HERE to learn more about Instant Pots and to buy one.
Finishing up the Oxtail Stew
Once the oxtail cooks to the desired tenderness, skim the oil from the oil. Oxtail is very fatty and even when trimmed before cooking there is a lot of fat left on the oxtail. Once you’ve skimmed most of the fat from the stew, you may increase the heat to thicken the sauce/gravy. This should take about 5 additional minutes. I love to cook my sauce down until it is really thick and all of the flavors are concentrated into every bite.
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The Printable Oxtail Stew Recipe
- 3lbs oxtail (most of fat trimmed from meat)
- About 4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons of oil for cooking
- 1 tablespoon of onion powder or granulated onion
- 1 tablespoon of granulated garlic
- 2 tablespoons of parsley flakes or ¼ cup of fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of Cayenne pepper (skip if you don't want the heat)
- 1 cup of coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons of ground All Spice
- 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon of spicy brown mustard
- To make the marinade combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and mix together until fully combined
- Then add the oxtail and mix together well until the oxtail is fully coated with the marinade
- Next let the oxtail marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking
- Then when ready to cook add the oil to a large heavy bottom pot on medium heat and bring up to temperature
- When the oil is hot add the marinated oxtail and sauté on high heat until the oxtail is seared (brown) on all sides. This should take 5 to 10 minutes
- Then add 3 to 4 cups of water and bring to a roaring boil
- Let the oxtail boil of 5 minutes then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook oxtail until tender (this should take about 3 hours)
- Then when the oxtail is the desired tenderness skim the excess oil from the top of the stew and increase the heat to high
- Cook down until the gravy/sauce thickens, then remove from the heat and serve with your favorite sides
In another version of this I added fresh tomatoes and it added a nice amount of acidity to the stew.
If using a traditional pressure cooker to cut down on the cooking time after steps 1-5, add transfer into a traditional pressure cooker and pressure cook for 30 minutes. Then release the steam, remove the pot cover and cook down the liquids until a thick gravy forms, then remove from the heat.