Richly browned oxtail sections are simmered low and slow in a rich tomato sauce until the meat comes off the bones-- this oxtail ragu is almost foolproof. The only way to screw up this incredibly succulent cut of beef is to not cook it long enough.

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
4 hrs 45 mins
total:
5 hrs
Servings:
4
Yield:
4 servings
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Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Lightly oil a baking pan large enough to hold the oxtails in a single layer.

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  • Place chopped onions and garlic in prepared pan. Rub oxtail sections with olive oil; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange on top of onions. Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Turn oxtails and continue roasting until well browned, another 20 to 35 minutes. Remove pan from oven.

  • Pour in wine vinegar, tomato sauce, chicken stock or water, rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt, and red chili flakes to the baking pan; stir. Pour the entire mixture into a large pot. Place over medium-high heat until sauce begins to simmer. Cover; reduce heat, and simmer over low heat until meat easily separates from the bone and is very tender, about 4 to 5 hours. Skim off fat before serving.

Cook's Tip:

Serving tip: Serve oxtails over rigatoni with a ladleful of sauce and some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and chopped parsley. This recipe should yield enough sauce and meat for 1 pound of pasta.

Since this ragu does take so many hours to simmer, it's almost always best to make this the day before you serve it.

Nutrition Facts

607 calories; protein 65.1g 130% DV; carbohydrates 19.2g 6% DV; fat 30.8g 48% DV; cholesterol 221.4mg 74% DV; sodium 3307.4mg 132% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (25)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
04/17/2017
I made this for our Easter Sunday dinner. This was so rich, so delicious... AND SO EASY! The only labor I expended was crushing the San Marzanos by hand, and ladling all the fat out of the sauce that pooled to the top. That's it! Time and your dutch oven will do all the work for you. I didn't change the recipe at all, or make any kind of substitutions. It took about 5.5 hours for the meat to fall right off the bones. There were some slightly stubborn pieces of meat with that silvery connective tissue holding the meat to the bone, so I just let those particular pieces simmer in the sauce for another half hour, and they released when the connective tissue dissolved. I was wary of making this and was afraid it would be too greasy (bad experience making short ribs once), but it totally wasn't! I didn't have time to refrigerate it to chip the fat off, so I just used a flatter ladle and poured the fat into one of the San Marzano cans. The sauce was silky and rich, the meat was so flavorful, and I cannot wait to have the leftovers tonight for dinner. Thank you, Chef John, for a very special recipe and for guiding me through a cut of meat I never used before! Read More
(10)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
02/27/2018
I followed the directions exactly but it was a bland letdown. The sauce didn t even stick to the pasta which I didn t rinse before using Read More
28 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 23
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 5 stars
04/17/2017
I made this for our Easter Sunday dinner. This was so rich, so delicious... AND SO EASY! The only labor I expended was crushing the San Marzanos by hand, and ladling all the fat out of the sauce that pooled to the top. That's it! Time and your dutch oven will do all the work for you. I didn't change the recipe at all, or make any kind of substitutions. It took about 5.5 hours for the meat to fall right off the bones. There were some slightly stubborn pieces of meat with that silvery connective tissue holding the meat to the bone, so I just let those particular pieces simmer in the sauce for another half hour, and they released when the connective tissue dissolved. I was wary of making this and was afraid it would be too greasy (bad experience making short ribs once), but it totally wasn't! I didn't have time to refrigerate it to chip the fat off, so I just used a flatter ladle and poured the fat into one of the San Marzano cans. The sauce was silky and rich, the meat was so flavorful, and I cannot wait to have the leftovers tonight for dinner. Thank you, Chef John, for a very special recipe and for guiding me through a cut of meat I never used before! Read More
(10)
Rating: 5 stars
01/25/2017
I genuinely believe this is one of the best dishes I've ever made. So easy and hands-off, and intensely flavorful! I did add a dash (probably 1/4-1/2 tsp) garlic powder after tasting the final sauce, to fit my family's taste. I also wish I had added more red pepper flakes, as 1/4 tsp can't be tasted in the final sauce at all. Some notes that may help others: This was my first time working with oxtail, and I didn't realize that some of the bones have little "caps" about the size of a nickel. It was easy to pull out the primary bones, but my husband got a "cap" in his ragu - whoops. Next time, I will go through the final sauce very carefully before serving. We used two cans diced tomatoes plus one small can tomato sauce in place of the 4 C sauce (just because it's what we had on hand). Some additional sauce would have been welcome - it was pretty meat-forward the way we did it - and also we ended up with about a half an inch of burnt-on goo in the bottom of our pan that was hell to remove. :( So DO use that 4 C recommendation as your starting point, don't go skimpy like us! The bright side of using diced tomatoes (and the reason I will probably use them again, albeit in greater quantity) is that the sauce was a little more chunky, so no fat skimming was necessary. All liquid left in the sauce WAS fat, so we just poured it off. Couldn't be easier. The dish still turned out moist, flavorful, and absolutely delicious, and the sauce stuck to the pasta well. Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
09/06/2016
This was by far one of my favorite ox tail recipes! Thanks Chef! Read More
(5)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/07/2017
Absolutely delicious and flavorful! Best tomato sauce I've ever experienced. It's really easy to make and just takes lots of time to cook properly. Really hard to mess this dish up. Just keep cooking on simmer until the meat falls off the bone. Great dish by Chef John and highly recommended. Thanks to you sir. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
03/29/2016
This turned out even better than I expected it would. I made it the day before I planned to serve it. After skimming off the fat the next day I brought it back to a simmer and cooked another 45 minutes or so. The meat falls off the bones and the sauce is incredibly rich with all the oxtail flavor. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
05/22/2019
Awh man succulent piece of meat; the marrow from the bone cooks out while the meat is slowly cooked off the bownn that rite thur is the cats meow. I'll tell ya what... you wanna make the dogs bark? Cook this n' up cause it will make them dag gum dogs bark. In all seriousness though this is an amazing dish and very easy to cook with wonderful flavor tell ya boo to fix some up for ya and teller ya boi Bar sent ya she'll know what it means.;) Read More
(2)
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Rating: 5 stars
11/07/2017
This recipe is really easy to follow and takes the worry out. Since I was pressed for time after I had broiled the oxtails I put everything in the pressure cooker for 75 minutes. My husband and kids loved it! I also switched the white wine for red wine and added some sweetness with whole prunes. Read More
(2)
Rating: 4 stars
08/15/2018
This was really tasty! I added a bit of diced carrot and celery to the onions/garlic and instead of simmering on the stove top I placed this in a 225 degree oven for 4-5 hours instead. My burners on my gas stove have a tendency to burn things even when on "low" so the oven was the better route for me. In hindsight I would add the carrots and celery a bit later as they did burn on the pan a bit while roasting the oxtail (my fault). Overall the flavors were spot on and the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender. We tossed this with ziti but rigatoni would be great as well. Will make again! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
08/09/2018
This was delicious and fairly easy. My only problem was finding large pieces of oxtail. The grocery stores in my area only carry one brand of oxtail in shrink wrap packages. After opening the packages I discovered one or two large pieces of oxtail in each package and lot of smaller pieces from nearer the tip of the tail I presume. So my presentation was not as pretty as Chef John's because I had to remove the meat from a lot of small pieces of bone but it still tasted great. Read More
(1)
Rating: 1 stars
02/27/2018
I followed the directions exactly but it was a bland letdown. The sauce didn t even stick to the pasta which I didn t rinse before using Read More