Jamaican Oxtail Recipe

Flavorful Jamaican Oxtail Recipe

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Jamaican cuisine is known for its bold flavors and unique spice blends, and this oxtail recipe is no exception. Tender oxtails simmered in a rich, savory sauce infused with Caribbean spices create a dish that is sure to delight your taste buds. Let’s dive into the ingredients, instructions, cook notes, variations, and even keto and low-carb versions of this mouthwatering Jamaican oxtail recipe.


  • 2.5 lbs oxtails
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon browning
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 2 whole carrots, chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, seeds and membrane removed and chopped
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 Tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 16 oz can Butter Beans, drained


  1. Prepare the Oxtails: Rinse the oxtails under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. This helps to remove any bone fragments and excess moisture.
  2. Marinate the Oxtails: In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, ground allspice, and browning. Add the oxtails to the bowl and toss until they are well coated in the marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. Sear the Oxtails: Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the marinated oxtails until they are browned on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the oxtails from the pot and set them aside.
  4. Saute Aromatics: In the same pot, add chopped yellow onion, green onions, chopped garlic, chopped carrots, and chopped scotch bonnet or habanero pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add Remaining Ingredients: Return the seared oxtails to the pot. Add beef broth, ketchup, dried thyme, and drained Butter Beans. Stir to combine.
  6. Simmer: Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer gently for 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the oxtails are tender and the sauce has thickened.
  7. Thicken Sauce: In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch until smooth. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the pot with the oxtails. Continue to cook, uncovered, for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency.
  8. Serve: Once the sauce has thickened, remove the pot from the heat. Serve the Jamaican oxtails hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley or green onions, if desired. Enjoy with rice and peas or your favorite side dishes.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Slow Cooker Method: For added convenience, you can prepare this dish in a slow cooker. Follow steps 1 and 2 to marinate the oxtails, then transfer everything to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the oxtails are tender.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the amount of scotch bonnet or habanero pepper according to your spice preference. For a milder flavor, remove the seeds and membrane from the pepper before chopping.
  • Vegetarian Version: For a vegetarian version, you can substitute oxtails with seitan or mushrooms. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, as these alternatives may cook faster than oxtails.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

  • Keto Version: To make this recipe keto-friendly, omit the brown sugar or substitute it with a keto-friendly sweetener such as erythritol or monk fruit sweetener. Be sure to adjust the amount according to your taste preferences.
  • Low-Carb Version: Reduce the amount of carrots used or omit them altogether to lower the carb content of this dish. You can also replace Butter Beans with a low-carb alternative such as green beans or broccoli.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use a different cut of meat instead of oxtails? A: While oxtails are traditional for this recipe and provide a rich flavor, you can use beef short ribs or beef chuck as alternatives. Keep in mind that cooking times may vary depending on the cut of meat used.

Q: What is browning, and can I substitute it with something else? A: Browning is a concentrated sauce used to add color and flavor to Caribbean dishes. If you don’t have browning, you can omit it from the recipe or substitute it with a small amount of molasses for a similar depth of flavor.

Q: How do I store leftovers? A: Allow any leftovers to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or freeze for longer storage. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

Q: Can I make this recipe in advance? A: Yes, you can prepare the oxtails up to a day in advance and store them in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Simply follow the recipe up to the point of searing the oxtails, then cover and refrigerate. When ready to cook, proceed with the remaining steps as directed.

This Jamaican oxtail recipe is a celebration of bold flavors and aromatic spices that come together to create a truly memorable dish. Whether you’re looking to impress dinner guests or simply craving a taste of the Caribbean, this recipe is sure to satisfy. With its tender oxtails, rich sauce, and vibrant vegetables, it’s a comforting meal that will transport you to the sunny shores of Jamaica with every bite. Enjoy the flavors, and happy cooking!

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