Thank the Gods for Beef & The Big Bang for Beer

(Scroll down for recipe)

You don't have to be rich to eat like a king. Cheaper cuts of beef are the best for slow-roasting and stews. Chefs like Henry Harris, Karam Sethi, Jeremy Lee, Chris Cosentino, Fergus Henderson, and many more, embrace the nose-to-tail movement and so do I. Some of these chefs have elevated what was previously considered "poor people food," like offal, to Michelin-star status. And although oxtails aren't quite offal, it is definitely a "poor man's cut" and I love it.

I often crave rich stews and my Jamaican version of oxtail stew is definitely at the top of the list.  If you haven't eaten oxtail stew before, you're missing out on a whole world of gorgeous, succulent, delicious, gooey, finger-licking freaking yumminess. By now, you know I have a love affair with beef, and if you love it like I do, you know that there's nothing more satisfying than a tender piece of meat falling off the bone. You know that there's nothing like BBQ beef ribs or a juicy and tender piece of smoked Brisket. You know that there's nothing like a filet cooked to medium-rare perfection and just melts in your mouth - these are the things my dreams are made of. This slow-cooked Jamaican oxtail recipe is the kind of dish that makes you want to lick your fork, knife, plate and ask everybody at the table if they're going to finish theirs. It's the kind of dish that Anthony Bourdain travels the world for, hoping to be invited to dinner at the house of an old auntie whose home is filled with the scent of this etherial goodness we call beef. It's the kind of dish you can get lost in. Screw being polite; it's just too good to be focused on etiquette or anything else other than savouring every single morsel. No talking please. Let me enjoy my meal in peace, with dignity, a glass of rich dark ale, and a choir of mmmm's. That's the only music I need. And let me thank the Gods, and/or the big bang, for giving us beef & beer. You simply have to try it. You'll love it & so will your friends, family, and lovers. Find the recipe below. It's easy to make.

Slow-cooked Jamaican Oxtails

Super yummy Jamaican oxtail stew

(serves 4)

1kg Oxtails
2 large onions
1 large bell pepper
3 large carrots
6 cloves of garlic
1 thumb of ginger root
10 or more sprigs of thyme
15 Allspice berries
1 tbs freshly ground pepper
1 tbs himalayan salt
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs smoked Paprika
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbs olive oil
3 tbs tomato ketchup
3 cups of beef stock or cold water (2/3 of a litre).
1 Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper

Note: Where to buy Oxtails?
First ask your local Metzger (butcher)
If you reside in Stuttgart, Galleria Kaufhof Supermarkt usually has it. 

You can also use cheaper cuts of meat like chuck, round, flank, brisket, or shank.

If you're buying meat in Germany, you can use Suppenfleisch, Nacken, Bauch, Keule...

(Cook time - 5 hrs)

Finely chop garlic and ginger then set aside. Pick thyme and set aside. Chop carrots into 3cm chunks and set aside. Cut tomatoes into chunks and set aside. Slice onions and bell peppers into rings and place into a large mixing bowl.

Preheat oven to 200ˆC/392ˆF

Add the oxtails, soy sauce, salt, paprika, and black pepper to the mixing bowl with the onions and bell peppers. Rub the spices and seasoning into the oxtails  and combine by massaging the mixture for approximately 2 minutes. You can also use a wooden spoon but it's better to use your hands. 

Next, add 2 tbs of olive oil to a large cast iron pot and set it on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough, remove the pieces of oxtails from the mixture and sear them in the pot. Continue to turn them to get an even sear on each side. Add the remaining mixture from the large mixing bowl to the pot with the oxtails and stir periodically until onions are transluscent. Once the onions are transluscent, add the garlic, ginger, allspice, and thyme to the mixture and stir for 2 minutes (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add tomatoes, ketchup, and sugar, then stir. Press the chunks of tomatoes to release their juices and stir. Wait approximately 10-15 minutes for the tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers to caramelize. Add the 3 cups of beef stock or cold water and stir. Add the whole scotch bonnet to the mixture. Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Set the timer for 3.5 hrs. 

Remove the pot from oven and pour 2/3 rds of the mixture into a sauce pan. Once you've poured the sauce into the sauce pan, cover the pot with the oxtails and put it back in the oven for another hour or until tender. 

Next, put the saucepan on the stovetop and set the flame to low heat. Let the sauce simmer until the desired consistency is reached. It should be able to coat a wooden spoon.

Once you remove the oxtails from the oven, pour the sauce that was simmering in the saucepan over the oxtails and give it a gentle stir to combine the mixture. 

If you have a low tolerance for spicy food, you can leave the scotch bonnet out altogether or cut a very thin slice. 

If you don't have a cast iron pot, you can use a pan & then transfer the contents to a casserole dish for the oven. 

I served the oxtails with rice & peas which is a Jamaican tradition but it's also great with mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables. 


Slow-cooked Oxtails

Strong Suffolk Dark Ale

Of course, no meal would be complete without some German juice to complete the experience. Since heavy-malty ales typically pair well with game and red meats, we chose Strong Suffolk Dark Ale. It was given to me in a sampler from some friends of mine. If you like Malty beer with fruity flavors this one might be up your alley. The aroma is fruity with notes of oak, cherry and dark fruit. It's soft, plummy and a too sweet for my palate. It lacks roundness and the finish is a bit sharp. I would have preferred a much smoother finish with a little less noticeable presence of alcohol to accompany the oxtails. Try it and let us know what you think. 

German Juice - Beer

I hope you enjoy this recipe, beef, and beer as much as I do. Let us know in the comments how it goes if you try it at home. We love hearing from you and if there's anything you'd like us to cook for you, let us know. Eat well, drink well, and share a good meal with a great friend. You deserve it.