Rich and flavorful crockpot oxtails are wonderful on a bed of mashed cauliflower for the perfect comfort food meal!
If you like slow-cooked, rich and aromatic beef dishes, you will love this recipe. And the fact that you can make it right in your crockpot – pretty much “set and forget” – is a bonus.
I love most slow-cooked meats, such as this pot roast. But there’s something unique about these crockpot oxtails. They are so incredibly flavorful! Wonderfully fatty, tender meat, that literally falls off the bone. It’s one of my favorite winter dishes.
Are they really the tail of an ox?
They used to literally come from the tails of oxen, but these days they generally refer to the tails of cattle of both genders. Much like internal organs (such as cow tongue), eating them is a wonderful way of utilizing the entire animal, which to me is the most ethical choice for meat-eaters.
The ingredients you’ll need
These are the ingredients you’ll need to make this hearty stew. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
Bone-in oxtails: I get them at Whole Foods. Sometimes I need to special order them.
Soy sauce: Or you can use a gluten-free alternative.
Sesame oi: I like to use toasted sesame oil in this recipe. It’s so flavorful!
Rice vinegar: If you don’t have any, white wine vinegar should work too. I would steer clear of distilled white vinegar, though, which is quite acidic.
Honey: Just one tablespoon. It doesn’t make the crockpot oxtails sweet – it just balances out the other favors. You can use a sugar-free alternative if you wish.
Hot sauce: Much like the honey, this is not about making the dish spicy. It’s more about adding a layer of flavor. I like to use sriracha when I have it.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use. And if you use real soy sauce, you can skip the salt entirely.
Garlic powder: You can also use fresh minced garlic.
Cornstarch: A small amount to help thicken the stew. This is optional.
How to make crockpot oxtails
It’s easy! The detailed instructions are in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
1. You start by placing the oxtails in your slow cooker.
2. Whisk together the remaining ingredients except for the cornstarch. Pour them over the meat.
3. Cook on low for 8 hours.
4. Reduce the cooking liquids over medium heat, adding a slurry of cornstarch and water to help them thicken.
5. Serve the meat with the rich sauce.
How long does it take for them to get tender?
This meat is tough, but slow cooking allows it to become very tender and the fat to soften and melt. I cook this stew in the slow cooker on the low setting for 8 hours to get the best results.
Where to find them
I get them at my local Whole Foods. It’s usually available in the meat department, although sometimes I do need to order it. It’s also available online at grasslandbeef.com.
What side dishes go with crockpot oxtails?
Since it’s a wonderfully saucy dish, I like to serve it on top of something that would absorb those juices. So I almost always serve this dish on top of mashed cauliflower. And then I add something green, such as roasted asparagus.
What about leftovers?
Leftovers keep very well in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3-4 days. In fact, like many stews, they taste even better the next day. I reheat them gently, in the microwave, covered, on 50% power.
More slow-cooked recipes that you might enjoy
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- 3 lb. raw bone-in oxtails
- ¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce (or use a gluten-free alternative and add salt)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce such as sriracha
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (can omit if using soy sauce)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or ½ teaspoon konjac flour)
- Place the oxtails in your slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients except for the cornstarch. Pour over the oxtails, and stir to coat.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours, until the meat is very tender.
- Temporarily transfer the cooked oxtails to a platter. Strain the liquids from the slow cooker into a saucepan. Return the oxtails to the slow cooker, cover with the lid, and set to WARM.
- Heat the cooking liquids over medium heat. Whisk the cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water and stir it into the saucepan. Keep cooking the sauce, whisking often, until it has thickened into a rich glaze, 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the oxtails from the slow cooker. Pour the sauce over the oxtails and serve.