Recipe for Authentic Jamaican Oxtail Stew

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  • Total: 4 hrs 50 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 4 hrs 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings (serves 4)
Ratings (42)

Oxtails are actually beef tails. They are loaded with fat and bone and take a long time to cook -- and are just right for braising and use in stews, soups, and stocks. Korean and Italian cuisines are both especially known for using oxtails.

They make a deliciously rich and hearty stew filled with vegetables. The Jamaican touch is in the use of the allspice. Don't skip it.

This recipe comes from "The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors" by Jeff Smith.

What You'll Need

  • 1/3 cup small white beans (dried)
  • 2 cups water (approximately, divided)
  • 3 pounds beef oxtails
  • 1 tablespoon lard (freshly rendered or vegetable oil)
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)
  • 1 medium onion (yellow, peeled, and diced)
  • 1 medium tomato (diced)
  • 2 cups beef stock (homemade or canned)
  • 2 tablespoons allspice (freshly ground or to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Tabasco (to taste)

How to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Place the beans in a small saucepan and add 1 cup of the water.
  3. Bring to a boil, covered, and turn off the heat. Allow to sit for 1 hour, covered.
  4. Then drain.
  5. Brown the oxtails well in the lard or oil.
  6. Place the oxtails in a 6-quart stovetop casserole, along with the garlic, onion, and tomato. Add the beef stock and enough water so that it just covers the contents of the pot. Then add the allspice, salt, and pepper.
  1. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, then add the drained beans.
  2. Simmer for an additional 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid during the last hour of cooking if you prefer a thicker sauce. Be careful that the pot does not boil dry; if it looks imminent, add a bit more water.
  3. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed, and a few shots of Tabasco, to taste.
  4. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

  • A beefy stew is just right for a chilly night in front of a blazing fire. This oxtail stew is rich with vegetables and is a one-dish meal.
  • Bread always makes a welcome complement to stew. Choose from artisan bread, soft Italian with poppy seeds, a crusty French loaf or San Francisco-style sourdough.
  • Oxtail stew calls for a dry red wine. Choose a familiar one like malbec, cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel or merlot. Try a blend of cabernet and shiraz or merlot and cabernet. Or get really adventuresome and crack open a bottle of Spanish tempranillo or a tempranillo blend. It's an earthy wine that goes great with a hearty stew like oxtail.


  • Change up this recipe by braising in red wine; whichever one you like to drink with stew would be a good choice to add to the recipe.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
892 Calories
37g Fat
29g Carbs
108g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)