How Long to Boil Oxtails [Before + During Cooking]

Oxtail is not a common dish in the United States, but this delicious and nutritious meat is gaining popularity. As delicious as it is, oxtail can be tough to cook. This article explains how to …

frozen oxtail on a tray

Oxtail is not a common dish in the United States, but this delicious and nutritious meat is gaining popularity. As delicious as it is, oxtail can be tough to cook. This article explains how to boil it properly for delicious flavor.

It is crucial to blanch or pre-boil oxtails before boiling them all the way since this will help to remove any impurities and blood. Oxtail is a tough part of the cow, so it needs to boil for at least two hours.

During boiling, be sure to check the oxtails frequently to make sure that they are not sticking to the bottom of the pot, and add more water if necessary.

So how much time do you need to make an oxtail stew? Can you cook frozen oxtail? We’ll guide you through the process!

Should You Boil or Blanch Oxtails Before Cooking? Why?

We recommend boiling oxtails for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking. This process, which is also called blanching or a “pre-boil”, is the process of boiling oxtails for a short period of time before cooking. This is usually done to remove unwanted impurities or to make the oxtails more tender.

Impurities can impart a bitter flavor to the dish and also make it look less appealing. The impurities are generally composed of blood, fat, and gristle (source: Journal of Culinary Science and Technology).

You can also remove the impurities by soaking the oxtails in water for several hours or even overnight (source: Last in the Fridge). This is a much slower process, but it will also remove any unwanted flavors.

oxtail soup in a bowl and rice in a plate

How Long Do You Boil Oxtails to Make Them Tender?

Be sure to check the oxtails frequently while you boil them. You’ll want to turn them over so that they cook evenly. During the boiling process, the heat will help to break down the tough connective tissue and make the oxtails more tender (source: University of Agriculture in Krakow).

After about two hours, the oxtails should be tender and fully cooked. Check for doneness by piercing with a fork. They should be easy to pierce with no resistance. If they’re not cooked through, continue boiling for another 30 minutes to 1 hour. Just be sure to check on them every so often and add more water if necessary.

If you have more time, you can also cook oxtails in a crockpot or slow cooker. Simply place the oxtails in the pot and add enough water to cover them. When it comes to slow cooking,  the longer you cook them at low heat, the more tender and flavorful they will be (source: Science of Cooking).

Cook on low for 8 hours or until they’re tender. You can also add other ingredients like vegetables, seasonings, etc. as desired.

Aside from cooking them on a stove, you can also cook oxtail in the oven. The same pre-boiling process should be done to remove the impurities. Then, season the oxtail with your desired rub or seasoning. Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for 3 hours or until they’re fork-tender.

Can You Boil Oxtails From Frozen?

You can boil frozen oxtails, which are found in many supermarkets. They are often pre-cut and packaged for easy preparation. When boiling frozen oxtails, you’ll need to add an extra hour to the cooking time.

Here are the steps on how to cook oxtail from frozen:

frozen oxtail on a tray

1. Defrost the oxtails or use the defrost setting on your microwave to make sure they’re thawed completely. This step is important because if they’re not thawed, they will not cook evenly.

2. Once they are completely thawed, rinse them with cold water to remove any ice crystals.

3. Pre-boil or blanch the oxtails for 30 minutes to 1 hour to remove any impurities.

4. After that you can now cook your oxtail in any kind of method you want, such as stewing, slow cooking, or baking in the oven. Then you can proceed with your oxtail recipe. Add other ingredients and season as desired.

If you don’t have time to defrost the oxtails, you can also boil them straight from frozen. Just add an extra hour to the cooking time and don’t forget to pre-boil!

Oxtail dishes like soup, stews, or curries are usually slow-cooked for hours to achieve the desired result, which is fork-tender meat with rich and robust flavor.  So if you’re planning to cook oxtail, make sure you have enough time on your hands.

A delicious meal like oxtail stew or soup is definitely worth the wait. By following these simple tips, you can have a delicious and hearty meal that everyone will love. The next time you’re thinking about what to make for dinner, give oxtails a try!