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Smoked Oxtail Stew

dparker

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Joined Sep 12, 2016
I visited several local Hispanic markets last week looking for some cabrito (kid goat meat), but everybody was fresh out.  Instead I managed to find some nice oxtail, so I grabbed 3 lbs of it and called it a good outing.  I've never cooked oxtail before, but since the weather here in N. Central Texas is finally turning kinda'-sorta' Fall-ish (translation: high temps below 70° F) I decided to try making a nice hearty stew this past Saturday.  Since I spent Thanksgiving and the next day busy with all sorts of activity I resolved to be a bum on Saturday and never leave the house while making the stew, which meant confining myself to only those ingredients I had on hand, making for a more challenging project.

Of course, it wouldn't have been right without putting the tails in the smoker for a couple of hours with some pecan chunks first, just for some added flavor, while I went on a scavenger hunt through the fridge and pantry.  After 2 hours @ 225° F the tails looked like this:


I kept the time in the smoker limited because I was also going to be braising the tails sections in the oven for 4 hours, and I didn't want to render much of the flavor-rich bone marrow or the remaining fat (I trimmed the excess outer fat first) in the smoker.  The result was that the smoke flavor in the final product was somewhat subtle, which is OK because there was plenty going on (including the smoked paprika I added).

From there the tails were lightly dredged in some flour that had been seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and sea salt.  In keeping with the rustic and ad-hoc nature of what I was doing I just eye-balled everything.  At no point were a measuring spoon or cup utilized, except for when I made the beef broth using this stuff:


I then put a little EVOO in my 7 qt dutch oven and browned the tails over medium-high heat.  After that they were removed and set aside, more oil added to the pot and the veggies I could find (diced carrots, diced onion, chopped scallions, sliced celery and minced garlic...alas, we had no potatoes) went in and were stirred over the same heat until they began to caramelize.  Then the pot was deglazed using a half bottle of forgotten pinot noir I found in the wine fridge, the tails were put back into the pot and the whole mess covered up with 4 cups of beef broth.  I eyeballed about 1 tsp each of oregano, thyme and rosemary, as well as ~1 tbsp smoked paprika and 2 bay leaves.  A few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (what was left in the bottle I found) completed the additions to the pot and it went, covered, into a 325° F oven for 4 hours.  I checked on it at the 2 hour point to make sure that the liquid had not reduced down too much and this what it looked like:


It's kind of hard to tell much from that, other than verifying that I did in fact add rosemary.  And when my wife got home we were both so hungry that I forgot to get pics of the finished product before we finished and I had cleaned up, so apologies for that oversight.

When it came out of the oven I picked each tail section out with a pair of tongs and, using a fork I was easily able to get all of the meat off each one.  It was so moist and tender that I just sort of dragged down with the fork and the meat literally fell off and back into the pot, at which point I used the tongs and fork to pull the chunks of meat apart into smaller chunks and shreds for easier eating with a spoon.

As mentioned we had no potatoes, which would have made for a more traditional and heartier stew, I think.  Serving it over egg noodles would have been good too, but we didn't have any on hand.  But I did find a box of Uncle Ben's in the pantry, so I went Creole style on the starch.  It worked well.  In fact my wife said she thought it was perfect, and that potatoes would have made the dish too heavy overall.  Personally, I like my cold weather stews to be on the heavy side, but I can live with this too.  Overall it was delicious, and I'll definitely be trying it again, especially as the weather gets colder.
 
Last edited:

dirtsailor2003

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Love oxtail stew, almost impossible to find them in my neck of the woods. Every once in a while I get lucky and find some. Good ol Basque food!

Points!
 

SmokinAl

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Nice job on the stew!

It looks delicious!

Al
 

dparker

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Joined Sep 12, 2016
Nice job on the stew!

It looks delicious!

Al
Thanks, it was...and is even a little better now after a couple days in the fridge. I will say that I believe I'll cut back on the wine just a smidge next time. There's a hint of fruitiness in the "gravy" that, while not unpleasant on its own, is out of place in a savory dish like stew. Other than that I'm quite pleased with it.
 

daveomak

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Oxtails are sooooo good...   I like them on egg noodles too.....  pts.
 

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