Just as the name implies, oxtail refers to the tail of oxens. In recent times, oxtail refers to the tail of oxen, cattle (beef) and young calves (veal). The practice of eating oxtail came from a period when no part of an animal was left to go to waste.
Oxtail was not an accidental discovery, it was discovered out of a need to prevent wastage of meat. Today, oxtail is no longer eaten out of necessity, but rather as a comfort food or delicacy.
Beef is very popular among Americans, but do you know that every cut of beef has distinctive tastes? Every part of the cow tastes different from the other, and they are all delicious. Oxtail is an exquisite part of beef, it doesn’t look pretty, but it tastes good, and many people haven’t tried it, or have an idea of what it tastes like.
What does oxtail taste like? The taste of oxtail is similar to beef. However, it has a richer flavor and a texture that can be likened to ribs; the only difference is the texture, which is silkier and tender than ribs.
Oxtail has a great taste; it tastes so good that some people have termed it the food of the gods. When you have a taste of oxtail, you can’t help but love it; that texture is yummy and heavenly. Oxtail isn’t just delicious, it has nutritional benefits.
Nutritional Benefits of Oxtail
Oxtail might be an unusual cut of beef, but it has similar nutritional properties. It supplies the body with protein, sodium, fiber, sugar, potassium, non-saturated fats, saturated fats, fat, cholesterol, carbohydrate, and a calorie count of 100 in 100 grams serving.
Collagen is an important kind of protein in the body; it is usually found in the muscles, tendons, skin, and bones. 30 percent of the collagen in beef can be found in the legs and tails. Collagen keeps the body together. In addition to keratin, it helps with the creation of skin tissue that helps to maintain healthy skin.
Oxtail contains a significant amount of protein and calcium. The protein does not contain all the essential amino acids, but it still helps with the growth of cells, muscles, and tissues in the body. Calcium strengthens the bones and helps to maintain a good bone structure. It is believed that eating oxtail regularly might be able to help increase one’s sexual arousal. Records of this claim can be found in the records of the Mataram Palace from the historical kingdom in Java.
Oxtail also contains selenium, which plays a huge role in reducing the risk of degenerative diseases as old age sets in. There are a lot of benefits that can be attributed to eating oxtail, but you can’t eat oxtail all the time or eat too much. Oxtail contains a high level of cholesterol, which is bad for our wellbeing. Too much cholesterol in our bodies causes heart-related diseases.
Oxtail also contains sodium, which in excessive amounts can lead to high blood pressure. The protein obtained from oxtail is incomplete; it doesn’t contain all the essential amino acids. This makes oxtail harder to digest, it might cause discomfort for your stomach or leave you feeling too full.
Culinary Uses of Oxtail
The tail of beef isn’t small, it weighs about 7 to 8 pounds. To better handle it; it is usually cut into sections. Oxtail is traditionally used to make oxtail stew and soup, but today it can be used to make more than that. The high amount of bone and cartilage in oxtail requires that it is cooked under low heat for a long period to get the best out of it.
When you want to cook oxtail, you would need a cooking time of about 3 hours. Cooking oxtail for a long time under low heat turns the bones and cartilage present in it into gelatin. Gelatin has a rich flavor, and it makes any sauce better.
The best way to cook oxtail is to braise it in liquid. This means to cook it in a small amount of liquid. If you have a slow cooker, crock pot, or pressure cooker oxtail will give you an avenue to put it to good use. You can make gravy using oxtail, or try recipes like the Jamaican oxtail stew, the Roman coda alla vaccinara, or you can try it the European way by using it in barley soup and eating it with rye bread. Oxtail is majorly made up of bones and not much meat, so it might not be applicable in recipes that require meat.
What is the Origin of Oxtail? Where to Procure it?
The discovery of oxtail is probably similar to how offal meats were discovered. Oxen were usually used as beasts of burden, compared to cows, they are much docile and easier to use as farm animals, when these oxen finally give up as a result of old age or too much workload, it is killed as a source of meat.
Since oxen do not share the temperament of cattle, their meat was much tastier, probably because they don’t run around so much. The practice of eating oxtail was developed when every part of an animal that was slaughtered needed to be utilized. People had to find recipes that would be right for oxtail, and the oxtail soup came into existence.
Oxtail might be expensive due to shortages, but it is not hard to find. You can walk up to a butcher’s counter in a market and ask to buy or if you are lucky enough you might find it in a butcher’s boutique.
Why is Oxtail Expensive?
One pound of oxtail is sold for about 10 to 15 dollars. The reason why oxtail is so expensive is because of its limited supply. It is a small part of a huge animal and can not measure up to the amount and supply of other cuts of meat.
Facts You Don’t Know About Oxtail
- Back when slavery was still a thing, oxtail is part of the scraps of meat that is usually served to slaves in the United States. It does not have a pleasant history.