This hearty delicious Jamaican oxtail stew is slow cooked for hours with a combination of flavoursome herbs and spices with traditional butter beans.
**stove top option available (see post)
If you are looking for a Jamaican cuisine that is meaty, flavoursome with a difference then try this Jamaican oxtail stew. If you enjoy eating red meat then I promise to have you hooked after reading the entire recipe. Oxtail has so much depth it, trust me, this gelatin enriched meat was made for being braised for several hours.
In case you are not aware Jamaicans love their oxtail with butter beans (that’s lima beans). If you have ever been to a Jamaican restaurant, cook up or takeaway I guarantee that some oxtail will be on the agenda along with some fish – fried, steamed or roasted.
My family literally have a war among each other in respect to who makes the best oxtail. To be honest with you, I don’t know who makes it the best because they all make their recipe taste so darn amazing. Hopefully I will do my family proud with my braised oxtail recipe.
What is oxtail
In short, oxtail is the meat from the tail end of cattle, usually cow. There was a time when oxtail was considered a poor mans food because of it being so bony with high fat content and a lengthy cooking time. Nowadays things now changed, due to the public demand, butchers quickly caught onto how sought after oxtail was which resulted in a price increase.
In my neck of the woods oxtail is very expensive so I usually purchase it on occasion and I dare not experiment with it because I don’t have money to waste on doing lots of trial and error with pricey oxtail meat.
How to clean oxtails
As per Caribbean traditional, meat is washed prior to cooking it. I know not every culture believes in washing meat, but that’s how I have learnt to prepare meat.
You will need …..
- a large bowl
- 2 Limes or lemons
First you need to trim as much of the fat that you can from the oxtail. Keep in mind oxtail is naturally a fatty meat, so do not worry if you cannot remove all of the fatty parts.
Then place the oxtail in a large bowl and cut the lime/lemon in halves then squeeze the juice all over the meat. Your hands (can wear gloves) to rub the juice into the meat to get rid of any slime or excess blood.
Rinse the meat off in water and blot dry with paper towels.
How to make Jamaican oxtail recipe slow cooker style
As previously mentioned oxtail takes a while to cook so I like to cook mine using my slow cooker. It’s great that I can leave the meat to cook while I run errands or carry out chores.
Jamaican oxtail ingredients
- Browning sauce
- Butter beans
- Pimento berries (allspice)
- Beef seasoning
- Beef stock or water
Marinating the meat – After washing the oxtail I grab the ingredients I need to create my marinade – onion, carrots, scallion, garlic, browning, allspice, beef seasoning and use both my hands to really work the seasoning into the meat. The meat should be left to marinate overnight for best results or at least a few hours if you are pressed for time. One of the key ingredients for darkening the meat is browning sauce.
This is my homemade browning sauce recipe made from caramelised sugar and water. It’s a very important ingredient in Caribbean cooking for darkening meat. I’ve used it for many recipes including my Jamaican brown stew chicken and stewed beef.
Butter beans – Since this is a slow cooker recipe I took the liberty of using dried butter beans and simply soaked them overnight. You do not have to use dried beans, canned beans are fine but they will need to be added around 30 minutes before the cooking time is done so they do not breakdown.
Searing the meat – The meat needs to be browned prior to the start of the slow cooking process. Simply scrap off the excess vegetables that was used to form the marinade and sear both side of the meat. The browning of the meat will take approximately 10 minutes and add your vegetables to the same skillet/dutch oven so they soften.
Get your crockpot ready and transfer the contents from the skillet and the butter beans to your crockpot. Then stir in your tomatoes, thyme and beef stock. If you don’t have beef stock to hand that’s fine, water is suffice.
Cooking time – I normally cook my good old fashioned oxtail stew for 4 hours on high mode. If you want to extend the time to 6 hours then simply set your crockpot to a low setting for 6 hours instead. The slurry is what thickens the stew, it’s not crucial but recommended if you want a thicker stew.
How to cook oxtails on the stove
- Wash the oxtail as instructed (see recipe post)
- Place the oxtail in a bowl then add the beef seasoning, pimento berries, garlic, onion, carrot and browning. Use your hands to rub the marinade into the meat.
- Refrigerate overnight or for at least 3 hours.
- Melt coconut oil on medium heat, scrap off the marinade and brown oxtail alone. This should take roughly 10 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic, carrots from the bowl to the skillet/dutch oven and saute until soft.
- Now stir in the tomato paste, thyme and dried butter beans.
- Pour 4 cups beef stock/water in the dutch oven/skillet. start with 4 cups add more water if needed during cooking time.
- Reduce the pot to low heat, cover with lid and cook for 2-3 hours.
- Add the canned beans (if using 30 minutes before finishing)
- For a thicker stew mix the starch/water together and stir in the slurry 30 minutes before finishing.
Oxtail and rice pairs well together
Jamaican steamed cabbage (low carb, keto option)
Pikliz (low carb, keto option)
Jamaican boiled dumpling
Steps of making Jamaican oxtail stew (with pictures)
Place the washed oxtail in a large bowl then add the browning sauce, beef seasoning, pimento berries, scallion, onion, carrot and garlic. Mix together then set aside to marinate.
Melt the coconut oil in a skillet and brown the meat then add the onion, scallion and carrots.
Add the thyme, butter beans, tomato paste and beef stock (or water).
Set the slow cooker to high and cooks for 4 hours.
Tips and notes
- Pimento is known as allspice
- Only use 1 tbsp of browning sauce if using my homemade version. If you are using the store brought kind use 1/4 tsp as it is far more bitter and concentrated.
- Beef stock yields more flavour but water can be used
- Butter beans are as known as lima beans
- Omit the butter beans if you want the recipe to be keto or paleo friendly
- Recipe can be made in either crockpot or stove stop
- Freezer friendly
Jamaican oxtail stew
Delicious, fall off the bone Jamaican oxtail stew – gluten free
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 4hrs
- Total Time: -26064930.55 minute
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Slow cooker
- Cuisine: Jamaican
2lb of oxtail
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 large carrot, sliced
2 small scallion, sliced
2tbsp of tomato paste
6 sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp Pimento berries
1tbsp Browning sauce (Only use this amount if using my homemade version, see post)
1tbsp Beef seasoning
1 cup of dried butter beans (or use 1 can, drained)
3 cups of Beef stock/water
4tbsp of coconut oil
To make the slurry
2tbsp of tapioca starch
2 tbsp of water
Wash the oxtail as instructed (see recipe post)
Place the oxtail in a bowl then add the beef seasoning, pimento berries, garlic, onion, carrot and browning. Use your hands to rub the marinade into the meat.
Refrigerate overnight or for at least 3 hours.
Melt coconut oil on medium heat, scrap off the marinade and brown oxtail alone. This should take roughly 10 minutes.
Add the onion, garlic, carrots from the bowl to the skillet and saute until soft.
Transfer the contents from the skillet to the slow cooker.
Pour the beef stock/water into the slow cooker
Now stir in the tomato paste, thyme and dried butter beans.
Set the crockpot to high mode for 4 hours if using canned butter beans add them 30 minutes prior to finishing.
Mix starch and water together then add the slurry 30 minutes prior finishing.