Purchasing Meat and Game: Oxtail

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Fresh oxtail at my local Asian market. Almost $20/kg!

My chosen cut of meat is oxtail which comes from beef. I have chosen this cut of meat because I think it is not very common in comparison to typical cuts of meat. Also because it is the main meat component of one of my favourite Filipino dishes, Kare Kare.

Christopher Columbus brought cattle to the Americas in 1493. Cattle were mostly used for meat, milk, and labour in the past, but they are mostly used now to provide for meat and by-products like leather, gelatin, china, etc. Over 98% of cattle is used when it is processed to maximize the amount of yield obtained. About 45% of that initial percentage is used for meat while the rest is for by-products. Beef from cattle contains various essential nutrients which include zinc and vitamin B12, while also providing lots of protein. Various of the common beef cuts include Rib Eye, Filet Mignon, Skirt, T-bone, New York Strip, and many more. Oxtail is one of the cuts from cattle that allows the tails from the animal to not go to waste. From the name itself, one might think oxtail comes directly from oxen. Nowadays, oxtail primarily comes from either a Steer (Male cattle that has been castrated and cannot breed) or a Heifer (Young female cattle that has not produced a calf). The tails typically weigh between 7 to 8 pounds and is mostly made up of bone, cartilage, and little meat. Cutting an oxtail provides for gradually smaller pieces due to how a tail naturally tapers. In the centre of the oxtail is bone marrow, which is a delicacy itself. Oxtail is a very gelatinous cut of meat due to the amounts of collagen in it.

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Typical ingredients used in Kare Kare. Photo taken from https://amcarmenskitchen.com/2014/12/04/oxtail-kare-kare/

The preferred method of cooking this cut of meat is to slowly braise for at least 6-8 hours due to how tough and gelatinous it is. Without cooking it in this method, the oxtail will remain tough and not release the natural gelatin. Braising it slowly will allot the meat to become very tender and almost melt away. I think a suitable cooking method would be to initially brown the oxtail meat to get some colour and flavour, then to add liquid to slowly braise. Other cooking methods would be to use it in soups and stews since those are usually cooked slowly as well.

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A plate of fresh Kare Kare. Picture taken from https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1019215-oxtail-stew-in-peanut-sauce-kare-kare

I have included a recipe of how I would prepare Kare Kare. Please try it yourself if you would like to try something new!

Kare Kare Recipe.jpg

References

Cattle 101: History, Breeds, Fun Facts, Terms. (2019, April 10). Retrieved from http://beef2live.com/story-cattle-101-hist-breeds-fun-facts-terms-85-104671
Filippone, P. T. (2019, May 06). How to Cook Fork Tender Oxtail. Retrieved from https://www.thespruceeats.com/oxtail-cooking-tips-1805846
Frodnesor. (2016, July 15). Oxtail and tongue kare kare. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/foodforthoughtmiami/28218956172
Ghose, T. (2013, March 25). Longhorn Legacy: Surprising Origins of Columbus’ Cattle Found. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/28154-new-world-cattle-origins.html
B. (2017). Ox Tail and Peanut Stew (Filipino Kare Kare) | Easy Delicious Recipes. Retrieved from https://rasamalaysia.com/filipino-kare-kare-ox-tail-and-peanut-stew/
Patterson, H. (2016, March 15). Common Cuts of Beef. Retrieved from https://www.farmflavor.com/nebraska/nebraska-ag-products/common-cuts-of-beef/

Kahn, L., & Cottle, D. J. (2014). Beef Cattle Production and Trade. Collingwood, Vic: CSIRO PUBLISHING. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.gbcprx01.georgebrown.ca/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=760291&site=eds-live&scope=site

 

 

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