This Chinese Braised Oxtail recipe was one of the very first recipes we posted on the site. At the time, however, our photo-taking skills weren’t so great.
On the one hand, I felt like this post was sort of lost in the archives, and I wanted to bring it back. On the other hand…I just felt like making this dish. It’s that good!
Note: This recipe was originally posted in March of 2015. We have since updated it with clearer images, recipe notes, metric measurements, and clearer instructions. Enjoy!
A Chinese Braised Oxtail
If you like oxtails (and there are quite a few oxtail stew and oxtail recipes on the internet), you’ll love this preparation.
Oxtails are a pretty tough cut of meat, and so they generally need to be stewed or braised to cook them through and draw out their flavor.
This Chinese version is drier than oxtail stews in other cultures. I actually cook off the liquid at the end so the rich sauce coats the oxtails themselves rather than serving them in a stew-like consistency or pools of sauce.
I braise the oxtails with soy sauce and spices until they’re extremely flavorful (and deliciously sticky with rice!).
While oxtails were once an inexpensive cut of meat, their price has skyrocketed due to greater demand. It seems that everyone’s now wise to how delicious they are!
While we don’t make oxtails often, they’re a special treat. I like to make them for holidays and family gatherings especially!
If you’re interested in more Chinese-style oxtail recipes, check out our Chinese Oxtail Soup!
Oxtail cooking times
I like my oxtails to have a bit of bite/chew left to them after they’re cooked, rather than having them completely falling off the bone. I think they have more flavor when cooked this way, and a more pleasing texture.
However, I know that many people like their oxtails to be fall-apart tender (as some of you have commented in the past).
If you like your oxtails cooked like me, use the lower range of cooking time I suggest (2 1/2 hours). If you like your oxtails more tender, cook them for 3 1/2 hours (or even longer if you like—just add more water if needed).
Chinese Braised Oxtails: Recipe Instructions
Add the oxtails back to the pot, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low.
Simmer for 2 to 3 hours, depending on how tender you like your oxtails. (Add more water during this process if needed.)
Uncover, and continue simmering for another 30 minutes until the meat is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
As it simmers, stir occasionally and add additional water if necessary to avoid sticking.
Don’t forget to serve those sticky, delicious oxtails over steamed rice!
Chinese Braised Oxtails
- 3 pounds meaty oxtails (cut into 2 to 3 inch thick pieces)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 half-inch thick slices of fresh ginger
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3-4 pieces star anise
- 6 cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ cup Shaoxing wine
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rock sugar (you can substitute regular sugar)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Salt (to taste)
- Clean the oxtails and pat them dry. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and brown them on all sides.
- Remove the oxtails and set aside on a plate. To the pot, add the ginger, garlic, star anise, cloves, and bay leaves. Cook for about 2 minutes.
- Now it’s time to add cooking wine, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, rock sugar, water, and salt (careful with the salt, as the soy sauce is already quite salty).
- Add the oxtails back to the pot, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours, depending on how tender you like your oxtails. Check halfway through and add more water if needed.
- Uncover, and continue simmering for another 30 minutes until the meat is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir occasionally, and add additional water if necessary to avoid sticking. Serve!