What is Oxtail Meat? (2 Best Cooking Method Included)

Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: December 5, 2023

If you’re new to cooking oxtail, it may seem challenging, but this meat is actually easy to work with. I’ve been on a carnivore diet for ten years, and I’ve cooked countless oxtail over this time.

Today, I’ll explain exactly what oxtail meat is, what it tastes like, and I’ll give you my tips on cooking it the right way.

Quick Summary

  • Oxtail meat comes from the tail of cattle of any sex.
  • Oxtail should be cooked low and slow.
  • Oxtail is a great source of protein, collagen, and fat.

What is Oxtail?

An image of a whole raw oxtail meat

Oxtail is a cut of beef skinned and cut into pieces to be sold. It used to come from the tail of the ox, thus the name oxtail. Nowadays, oxtail can be sourced from cattle of any sex.

Oxtail usually weighs around seven pounds, and it’s a combination of the tail bone, meat around it, and a layer of fat. This is rich-tasting meat.

Oxtail comes in sizes ideal for braising and slow cooking. It comes from the tail, which is rich in gelatin because it has a large amount of collagen. This makes it best used for soups, braises, and stocks.

Oxtail pieces are different — the tail end is narrow, while the center is the marrow, and it has meat and fat. Butchers usually bundle the pieces around the center bone and sell them as one packet.

This cut is best cooked low and slow because of the large amount of bone, cartilage, and little meat.

Finally, oxtail is an affordable cut, and it’s cheaper than bone-in short ribs.

If you need quality meat for a flavorful oxtail dish, ButcherBox only sells sustainably raised meat, 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef, grown without additives or hormones.

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What Does Oxtail Taste Like?

Oxtail tastes like beef. This meat has a rich flavor when cooked. In comparison to short ribs, oxtail is more tender with a smoother texture.

Properly cooked oxtail is tender and succulent. I mentioned it’s rich in collagen and fat. These melt as you cook, giving sauces a great texture and a slightly sticky feel to the meat.

Oxtail flavor comes from the center section of the bone. The bone is cut crosswise, which means each section has a hearty amount of marrow. The marrow melts as the meat cooks, giving the dish a slightly nutty taste.

Overall, if you like the flavor of beef, you’ll like oxtail.

“Oxtail is a dish that’s popular around the world, but specifically in the Caribbean and Caribbean communities in the US. It is what it sounds like. Back in the day, it was the tail of an ox, and today it can be the tail of any cattle.”
- Food Insider, YouTube Channel

Cooking Oxtail

An image of oxtail stew dish on a white plate

Oxtail has traditionally been used for soup and stew. Nowadays, it’s used in a variety of dishes. It’s best to slow braise meat in a liquid such as red wine. This gives the most tender result and extracts maximum flavor from little meat.

Slow-cooking oxtail transforms the bone and cartilage into gelatin, which makes a wonderful sauce. Keep in mind braising takes time. You should set out for at least three hours to cook oxtail.

You can also use oxtail to make beef stock. The beef flavor comes from the bones and marrow, and the rendered stock is thick because of all the collagen. You can use the stock as a basis for a delicious oxtail soup with oxtail meat, vegetables, and herbs.

You should cook oxtail for two and a half to three hours, or about an hour if you use a pressure cooker.

Serving tip: Serve oxtail with something that can soak up the juices and broth leftover from the cooking. For example, you can serve it with mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, or crusty bread. I like to add oxtail to chili or ragu while it simmers, then remove and shred it before adding it to the recipe.

Cooking tip: You can convert any short rib recipe into an oxtail recipe, but remember that oxtail has less meat, so you can serve fewer people than with short ribs.

Oxtail Nutrition Info

Oxtail has a high amount of bone marrow, which means it’s fatty meat. 100g of oxtail has 262 calories, out of which 130 are from fat [1]. Keep in mind oxtail is commonly served as a part of a larger dish, so the number of calories depends on what other ingredients you use.

The total fat amount is 14g of fat. This comes from the bone marrow and is valuable fat because it’s a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Oxtail is a protein-rich type of meat. Also, it has 30 g of protein, so it’s a good choice if you’re on a high-protein diet.

Finally, oxtail is rich in collagen, which means it’s great for skin, nails, and hair [2]. You can make oxtail bone broth to get the most collagen benefits.


What is Oxtail Meat Made From?

Oxtail meat is made from the tail of cattle. The tail is cut into chunks and then braised.

Is Oxtail Pork or Beef?

Oxtail is beef. This meat comes from the beef cattle tail, either male or female.

Is Oxtail Healthy to Eat?

Yes, oxtail is healthy to eat. It’s rich in collagen, which is a vital protein that helps the body repair. It’s also high in fat, so it’s a good choice for a keto or a carnivore diet.

How Do You Eat Oxtails?

You eat oxtails by holding the bones with your fingers and chewing on them until you consume all the meat.


  1. https://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/generic/beef-oxtails-cooked
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835901/


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About the author

Arianna Foster
Nutritionist/Editorial Director
Arianna Foster is the editorial director and senior reviewer at Carnivore Style. She loves sharing her passion for nutrition, diverse cooking techniques, and the many health benefits of a meat diet with readers.
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