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Delicious African Boiled Oxtail Recipe

Let's cozy up with my go-to boiled oxtail recipe, a comforting dish that feels like a warm hug with every delicious bite.
Close-up of flavorful boiled oxtail in savory broth

Nothing makes my mouth water more than this delicious boiled oxtail recipe. 

In the past two weeks, I’ve prepared this dish twice. For one, it is so darn good, and for two, my husband won’t stop begging to have it again. 

Seeing how good this dish came out and realizing I don’t have a single oxtail recipe on my blog, I felt it would only be fair to share it with you all. 

If you love to eat African oxtail soup and just so happen to have some oxtail money lying around somewhere, I recommend you consider making this dish. 

For this recipe, I will boil the oxtail in a pot. However, I’ve also used my slow cooker to make this exact dish, and it came out perfect. So, if you have a slow cooker in your kitchen, don’t hesitate to consider it in this recipe. 

So, without further ado, here is how I prepare my African boiled oxtail recipe. 

Rustic serving of boiled oxtail over rice

Ingredients you will need: 

Oxtail: The star of the show. I was lucky to find it recently at an international grocery store five minutes from our house. 

For the longest time, I couldn’t get oxtail at any major grocery store I visited. If you are in the US and are looking for where to purchase oxtail, I highly recommend visiting an international grocery store in your area (more specifically, the Hispanic grocery stores). You’re welcome.

Red Bell Pepper: I chopped up one large red bell pepper for this dish. However, you can use green or yellow bell pepper if that’s what you have.

Onion: I used half a medium-sized onion and chopped it up. Try not to use too much onion in this dish.

Beef Broth: I prefer beef broth over chicken broth in this dish because of the rich flavor of beef broth. That said, chicken broth works as a great substitute.

Brown sugar: Adds sweetness to the oil we will use to brown the oxtail. I suggest you don’t skip it. It makes a huge difference.

Garlic: For this recipe, I used minced garlic.

Hearty bowl of boiled oxtail stew with vegetables

Water: I used boiling water and the beef broth to cook the meat and ensure it became tender throughout the cooking time.

Worcestershire sauce: This adds a rich flavor to the meat.

Tamari: If you have soy sauce, you can also use it. However, you will only need a little to give the meat some taste. 

*Coconut aminos (substitute): I LOVE the flavor coconut aminos add to meat. Thus, I tend to replace tamari and soy sauce with them. However, feel free to skip this if you already have soy sauce or tamari on hand.

Ketchup: Don’t skimp on the ketchup. That tomato flavor is one secret ingredient to a great-tasting oxtail stew.

Stock cubes: I used Maggi, which I freaking love. If you’re African/Caribbean, then you will know this makes every dish taste so good. However, feel free to use any stock cube you prefer.

Oil: For cooking

Seasonings: To season the meat, I added salt, black pepper, Allspice, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, ground basil, chili powder, ground cilantro, and ground ginger. 

How To Make Boiled Oxtail 

The secret to a great-tasting boiled oxtail is in the marination. Since I have already given you the essentials needed to make this bomb oxtail, we can proceed to the first step. 

Step 1: Soak your oxtail 

Soaked oxtail before marinating for boiled recipe

The first step in making your oxtail stew is to wash and soak the oxtail in water for about 30 minutes to an hour to extract some of the blood from the bones. This step is crucial, so don’t skip it. The color will change as the blood begins to seep out from the meat. It is normal and a sign that you’re ready for step 2. 

Step 2: Marinate the oxtail with seasonings

Oxtail marinating with spices and sauces in Ziploc bag

Grab a Ziploc bag or bowl (if you prefer) and add the meat to the bag. Proceed to add your chopped bell peppers and onions, tamari, Worcestershire sauce, coconut aminos (if using), minced garlic, salt, black pepper, Allspice, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, ground basil, chili powder, ground cilantro, and ground ginger.

Seal the ziplock bag and leave it in the fridge overnight. If you can’t wait that long, I suggest leaving it for at least 2 hours for the best flavor. 

Step 3: Brown the oxtail

Browning marinated oxtail in sugar-oil paste on stove

Heat some oil in a large pot or pan on medium heat and add your brown sugar. Once a paste begins to form, gently transfer your marinated oxtail to the pot along with the rest of the marinade. Brown the oxtail on both sides, ensuring the sugar-oil paste touches each piece of meat.

Step 4: Mix in your ketchup and beef broth

Adding ketchup and beef broth to browned oxtail in pot

Once you’ve browned your oxtail, add your ketchup and beef broth. Combine thoroughly.

Step 5: Add hot water and stock cubes

Boiled oxtail simmering in broth with stock cubes

After mixing, add some boiling water and two stock cubes (I chose to grind my stock cubes in a mortar and pestle before adding them to the pot). Make sure to add enough water to cover the meat. 

Cover the pot and leave to boil on low to medium heat for about 2 hours or until the oxtail becomes tender and the meat easily falls off the bone. 

Step 6: Serve your boiled oxtail and enjoy

Hearty and tender boiled oxtail ready to serve

After the meat softens, use a spoon to skim off any excess oil from the top of the sauce. Serve over Jollof rice, orzo, or mashed potatoes, and enjoy!

Why this African Oxtail recipe works 

Unlike my crockpot beef stew recipe, which called for a slow cooker, this recipe can be prepared in any pot or pan and requires no oven. 

The meat is left to marinate, giving it more time to absorb the flavors, and the beef broth and water help to perfectly cook the meat until tender. 

In addition, the combination of ingredients introduces a little bit of sweetness in the brown sugar, saltiness in the soy sauce/tamari/coconut aminos, tanginess/umami in the ketchup, and that pungent heat flavor from the minced garlic. 

All of these, when combined together, are sure to always produce a great-tasting dish. 

I have no doubt you will end up loving this boiled oxtail dish. 

Hearty and tender boiled oxtail ready to serve
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Boiled Oxtail Recipe

A hearty and savory boiled oxtail recipe that combines tender meat with a rich, aromatic broth, seasoned to perfection for a warming and satisfying meal.
Total Time6 hours 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: african, American, jamaican
Servings: 9 oxtail
Calories: 81kcal
Author: Eleanor

Ingredients

  • 9 oxtail
  • 1 red bell pepper - diced
  • ½ onion - diced
  • cups beef broth
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp garlic - minced
  • 1 cup water - hot water
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp tamari - substitute with soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 maggi - or any stock cube of your choice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp All spice - ground
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper - ground
  • tsp cinnamon - ground
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin - ground
  • 1 tbsp basil - ground
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cilantro - ground
  • tsp ginger - ground

Instructions

  • Start by washing the oxtail and soaking it in water for 30 minutes to an hour to remove blood from the bones, which will change color as it purifies.
  • Combine the oxtail in a Ziploc bag or bowl with chopped bell peppers, onions, tamari, Worcestershire sauce, coconut aminos, minced garlic, and a blend of spices including salt, black pepper, Allspice, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, ground basil, chili powder, ground cilantro, and ground ginger. Seal and marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or for a minimum of 2 hours for enhanced flavor.
  • Heat oil in a large pot or pan on medium, add brown sugar, and wait for it to form a paste. Add the marinated oxtail, ensuring each piece is browned on both sides and coated with the sugar-oil paste. Finally, pour the remaining marinade from the bag into the pot.
  • Mix in ketchup and beef broth with the browned oxtail, ensuring even distribution.
  • Pour boiling water into the pot, add two crushed stock cubes, and adjust the water level so it covers the oxtail. Cover the pot and simmer on low to medium heat for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and easily falls off the bone.
  • Before serving, skim off any excess oil from the top of the sauce. Serve the tender boiled oxtail with a side of rice, orzo, or mashed potatoes.

Notes

Ensure you don’t add too much salt. Worcestershire sauce and tamari/soy sauce already contain high levels of sodium, which should be more than enough for this dish.
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