Guinness-Braised Oxtail

I’m obsessed with good food right now, and this dish, along with the Texas-style brisket briefly shown in the oxtail video, has been among the best things I’ve ever prepared.  Stay tuned to the 180 Kitchen blog for the rest of the year.  I’m planning to go off with some really neat stuff and posts twice per week or more… 

It was a little daring going with Guiness for this braise, but the finished product had a unique flavor that is truly one of the deepest, richest, and most exotic flavors that I’ve ever created in one pot.  I’m not sure I’ll ever use red wine to braise with ever again, especially when Costco sells Guiness for $1 per can.  I served it with a very rare form of Ligurian homemade pasta… a lost art known as croxetti, which someday I hope to demonstrate as well. 

Anyway, the video below (which features the term “poop chute”) demonstrates the universal method for braising, which can work for everything from rabbit legs and lamb shanks to Osso Bucco, short ribs, and the most flavorful – oxtail. 

There’s no finer way to heat your home as we head into fall than with a good braise at low temperature in your oven. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 oxtail, additional meat and bones from other cuts if desired
  • 2 cups each of carrots, celery, and onion – medium dice
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 cans Guinness
  • 1 “bouquet garni” or herb bundle of thyme as shown in the video
  • Salt to taste
  • 3T coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Dry oxtail with paper towel
  2. Brown in hot coconut oil until all sides have at least some brown coloration
  3. Remove oxtail and sweat mirepoix (carrots, celery, onion) in remaining fat in the pan until very soft and lightly browned
  4. Add tomato paste and toast in the hot pan for several minutes to form what’s called a “pincage”
  5. “Deglaze” with Guiness, add oxtail back to pan along with herb bundle, bring to a boil, and reduce until saucy consistency.
  6. Cover with cold water just until everything is submerged, but don’t drown it.
  7. Bring back to a boil.
  8. Cover with a lid and put in the oven at 300 degrees F for 4-5 hours or overnight at 250 degrees F.
  9. Remove meat from the bones and mix meat back into the liquid.
  10. Skim most of the visible fat off of the surface with a spoon or ladle and save for future use – a good fatty oxtail makes the stew too greasy

Serve, ideally with creamy grits or polenta or root vegetable puree in the center with the stew surrounding it. 

For clarification on any of the above cooking terms, or for other variations of this basic recipe, see 180 Kitchen: 180 Kitchen Tips, Recipes, and More - the ultimate online cooking tutorial.

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36 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow, croxetti, pincage…I’m learning all kinds of new words today. This looks awesome. I was all skeptical about Guiness in recipes until I had some lamb stew in Ireland that was made with it and it blew my mind. Since then I use nothing else in Irish stew.

    This is the first time I’ve ever seen you advocate pasta Matt. It makes me feel a bit better since I eat it a couple of times a month as a treat.

    • I”ll go ahead and say Guinness is the ultimate braising liquid. No tannins or obnoxious overbearing acid like red wine. No funky beer flavor. Just a black hole of flavor like nothing I’ve ever made before. I wouldn’t call myself a pasta advocate, but it is far better for ya than bread, and I feel like I’m about the biggest culinary badass on earth when I’m hand-stamping pasta and making something that virtually no one has ever heard of.

  2. I’m gonna do a Guiness pot roast this week-end. I never thought of it before, but yeah, you’re right you don’t get any of the funky tannins or acids with Guiness that you do with red wine.

    I make pasta at home with the little crank machine or do gnocci or on rare occasions ravioli by hand. I’ve never been able to master home made ravioli. Croxetti looks like it might be similar difficulty to ravioli, just from looking at the few online things I’ve seen about it. I look forward to your post on it.

    I made glace viande this week, thanks to your book. Holy balls of awesome! So simple. So amazing to taste! A pint of stock yields about a tablespoon of the stuff but I can tell a little will go a long way.

    • Congrats on the glace.

      Croxetti is actually pretty easy. Maybe I’ll do a ravioli vid someday too, as I was an oustanding pasta maker in my culinary heyday. I used to make this braised rabbit ravioli that more than one person told me they traveled all over Italy without having anything that compared to it. You woulda flipped out. We made a sauce with it containing little chunks of country ham, the braising liquid, and of course sweet little peas and carrots. $o Money!

      • So what’s the best way to use my one tablespoon of glace? (Don’t think I wasn’t tempted to just mix it with some butter and spread it on a cracker.) Like if you were on a desert island with only a little glace, what would you do with it?

        I’d love a ravioli vid. My two attempts were inspired by awesome home made ravioli at a restaurant. My ravioli would always pop open in cooking and get water logged. Same thing happens to me with perogi. If I could unlock the secret to boiled dough success….well there’s no tellin.’

      • Okay, when I make raviolis next (not a weekly ritual by any means) I’ll video it. They shouldn’t be opening up like that. You have to press them just right and squeeze all the air out.

      • I guess I kinda forgot to answer your glace question. I like using it kind of like how you would use butter to finish a basic pan sauce. In other words, deglaze a pan after cooking some meat/poultry, add some glace and a little butter, reduce it to saucy consistency, and you got yourself a truly excellent sauce. Of course, there are infinite variations on glace-based sauces. The most classic is probably a reduction of red wine and shallots mixed with glace called bordelaise. Pretty tight, and very versatile. Amazing with filet or other super traditional uses like that. But I’d save that glace for really special occasions, like filet mignon and crap like that.

  3. How many pounds is one oxtail or how many pounds did you use? Hey when the alcohol disappears after cooking the beer, you end up with just sugar right? I have never cooked with beer, just asking. Would it be more healthy with chicken stock?

    • An oxtail is usually 1-2 pounds, but they are usually packaged together as 1 oxtail like you see in the video, so I couldn’t tell you how much those two weighed. For strictly health purposes, you’d be better off probably using water and saving your chicken stock for something that doesn’t already have a bunch of bones in it to produce a rich, flavorful, gelatinous stock. It’s too rich with stock anyway.

  4. Hi there

    recipe looks delicious. For us neophytes, what does one oxtail weigh if we are buying buy the pound? I usually see them all cut up

    • I’d say 1-2 pounds – or .4-.9 kilos. That’s just a guess though. There’s usually 3-4 total pieces per tail.

  5. Looks amazing, Matt. Best time of year for us in the Northeast to fill the house with those aromas. Already put my order in for some ox tail with farmer Paul though my chuck roast came out scrumptious with the same ingredients and technique. Would you say those bones and trimmings would still produce a hearty stock after this thrown in a pot with water for another 10-12 hours? Or does the oven time bring out all the gelatinous nutrition? And somewhat on that note, how much of those trimmings did you eat besides the meat?

    Thanks

    • Northeast, Northwest, North-North, North-South… This smells good anywhere!

    • The bones could be used again, especially that thick beef bone in there that isn’t oxtail. It’s called a “Remi,” which, if I’m not mistaken, was the name of the rat in the movie Ratatouille. As for the trimmings, a very large percentage of the fat on the oxtail gets cooked out of them and floats to the top. I skim almost all that off which I regrettfully did not show in the video, as it’s important. I filled up an entire 8-ounce mason jar thingee with pure fat from the oxtail after cooking. But I do eat the cartilagey parts and remaining fat along with the meat. They are yummy.

  6. funny, everytime I see the word “mirepoix” I think of Mr. Mixelplix who caused all that trouble for Superman.
    Oh and that oxtail, I need to get me some o that.
    xo deb

    • Yeah, I heard you needed some tail.

  7. Looks great Matt! I stopped using red wine because sometimes it just comes out way too acidic. I use beer to braise and brandy to deglaze.
    Love oxtails, I make them often just how you mention. I usually cook barley in it at the end and just have it like a soup.

    • Atta girl Vida. Sounds great! Speaking of beer, I gotta hit the hay. Big slow-pitch softball tournament tomorrow. Look out!

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog. This recipe looks great- I’ve never had oxtail and would love to try it someday.

    • Thanks PJ chef. There is no richer flavor than oxtail. Definitely the ultimate thing for stewin’ it and stewin’ it and stewin’ it well.

  9. This exists in my kitchen right now! I removed the meat and reduced the sauce to a gravy to have over some champ. It was a great warm up to Marco pierre white’s stuffed pigs trotter recipe I will be making in 2 days. Braised pigs feet stuffed with chicken mousse, sweetbreads, mushrooms, with an amazing sauce. Do you have any experience with stuffed pigs feet that I should be forewarned about?

    • I don’t. Just the heads! Anything filled with sweetbreads sounds like a party to me though!

      • Yes it was delicious, this is the recipe incase you’re curious

      • Nice. That’s one hell of a process. Me likes it though. I love crap like that. Truly real food. The stuff that chefs eat behind closed doors while serving everybody else the boring stuff they’re familiar with.

  10. Where are you peeps getting sweetbreads? I have been on the hunt for offal other than just kidneys and liver for more than a year. Despite the fact that we are pretty much cow and hog butcher to the world in MN you can’t get the extra bits anywhere. Even for ready money.

    Am making a guinness brasied beef stew as we speak. Going to serve it with English dumplings made with shredded suet. So I here I go with the boiling dough. At least the dumplings are whole lumps so I don’t need to worry about water getting in.

    • I get sweetbreads every now and then from a little boutique-ey market. I just tell ‘em I want some and they order it for me and call me when it comes in. They are definitely better than trying to eat kidneys and livers no doubt about that.

      • Oh, good idea. I will try Italian or Asian.specialty markets. I’m going to start phoning every specialty market in town. I mean the Twin Cities area is a prime meat production zone and has a lot more foodies than one would expect for the Upper Midwest. It’s really dire, though. I meet a lot of meat producers at farmer’s markets and they just give me this look like I’m Ed Geen or something when I ask for sweet breads. It’s such a different culture from Europe where you still see whole pigs heads hanging around in butcher shop windows.

      • Yeah, Asians are good like that. That’s why Maui has pig’s heads in the supermarket – hence the December 2008 photos that adorn the blog.

    • I got mine from a higher end local organic butcher that orders ‘em in every so often. They are much more expensive than any other organ meats though. They run around $10/pound here in Toronto. Compared to liver, tongue and heart which all are $2-3/pound.

      • $10 a pound still ain’t bad. That’s about what I get ‘em for too. Cheaper than many nice cuts of beef. Way the hell cheaper than foie gras, and I like sweetbreads almost as much.

  11. I will save my glace for bordelaise sauce then. I am thinking of doing some filet mignon soon anyway since I missed Million Mignon March.

  12. So yeah, I finally found some tail. Ox tail, that is. I made this on Saturday, let it sit in the fridge overnight and had it on Sunday with polenta. All. kinds. of. awesome. It’s amazing how powerfully flavorful this is. A couple of tablespoons carries a whole big serving of polenta. I reckon I’ll get nine servings out of this one ox tail. Not bad for a $10 piece of meat. And the tallow. My tallow jar runneth over.

    • Nice. Ox tail is heavy duty stuff man. Potent. It’s as if Chief was a cut of beef. Glad you tried it. Make sure when you make such things to rap LL Cool J’s “Stewin’ it and stewin’ it and stewin’ it well.” These things are kitchen traditions.

      • Oh, I will. Did I tell you that I always sing “One Sauce Viande” to the tune of Madness “One Step Beyond.”

        I’ll be serving it on Thursday with a root veggie puree. I can actually get the boy to eat rutabega if I blend it in with lots of potato and half and half.

      • Root veggie puree is where it’s at. You said you tried the celery root puree with cream right? Not much in this world better than that.

      • Yeah, the celery root is the bomb. I think the kiddo likes it better when it’s mixed with a bit of tater as well. I think Jr is going to turn into a spud.


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