I am not a chef nor a professional cook. I do not pretend to be either.
I throw DOWN.
I rarely eat out anymore. When I want a particular dish, I don’t ask anyone to make it for me. At the very least, I attempt to make it myself. With the exception of that funnel cake disaster, I succeed in my attempts.
Such was the case with one of my all-time favorites that I’ve never made: ox tails. My mother used to make them but stopped when they got “too expensive”. One of our former ministry members, who hailed from Jamaica, brought a serving of ox tails to my house when my sister died. I couldn’t enjoy them at the time because my roommate was a mentally unstable white woman whose mind was so blown by the concept that for the entire time that I ate them, all that she could say was, “And they’re ox tails?” “Ox tails?” “They’re ox tails?” She wasn’t autistic; she was one of those nitwits who liked to see how hard she could push someone’s buttons before they snapped. And she chose to do this while I was mourning the sudden death of my baby sister. I should have punched her, but God wouldn’t let me. It would not surprise me if she were chopped up in someone’s freezer right now.
And back to the subject of ox tails….
The final straw was a church event where we pre-ordered our food from a nearby Jamaican restaurant. The orders were supposed to be filled at the event. Long story short, some people got fed and the rest of us went hungry while waiting. I got a refund, but I would have preferred the ox tails that I ordered and still believe that they owe me.
Never mind, my Jamaican sisters. I can do this myself…without the curry or the blow-my-eyeballs-out jerk seasoning.
The perfect cut of oxtails was found at a grocery store in MY OWN neighborhood. Unclench your cheeks and hear me out. When the ShopRite in my neighborhood ran out of oxtails, I went to a ShopRite in a “less racially diverse” neighborhood close by. The oxtails on the left were bought there. The oxtails on the right were bought in my neighborhood about a week later. You compare and decide which ones were bigger.
Same store…different cuts. The cuts were even smaller in Lancaster, where Jenise and I usually go to get our meats. The Pennsylvania Dutch apparently don’t do oxtails, and that’s okay. Maybe oxtails are a delicacy that European cultures don’t appreciate as much as we do. In any event, this is what I did….
- I WASHED each ox tail thoroughly under the water. I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust any store to give me ready-to-cook meat.
- My preferred seasonings are Weber Steak ‘N Chop and Weber Roasted Garlic & Herb. That’s what’s in the container, ready to sprinkle.
- I rolled the fatty sides with Steak ‘N Chop before searing (“pre-browning”)
- I seared the meat on all sides in a screaming hot pan….
- Out of the pan and straight into the cooker.
- I seasoned liberally with the Roasted Garlic and Herb. I use that stuff on just about everything.
- I set the cooker for 6 hours because I wanted them to be done as soon as Jenise got home. I prefer the results of an 8 hour cook (off the bone!), but I absolutely LOVE how these turned out!
- The rice was a total afterthought. When I told Jenise on her way home what was for dinner, she said, “Can we have rice with it?” That’s her sing-song voice in the background 🙂
- Ox tails a la Chantal! These were every bit as good as they looked!
- Mama’s got this!