In the words of our good friend Rasheed Philips of Philips Barbeque Co. in Atlanta, the best dishes come with an “emotional connection.” That certainly applies to his smoked Jamaican oxtail stew recipe, an homage to his grandmother’s dish steeped in traditional Jamaican flavors. And what flavors they are! Expertly layered by Rasheed, this smoked oxtail recipe combines wood-smoked aromas, rendered fat, fresh aromatics, the tangy heat from Scotch bonnet peppers, and more on a plate that’s as delicious as it is authentic. To learn more about how this dish came together — and how you can use these Rasheed's expertise to your advantage — check out our guide to layering flavors.
Ingredients for Oxtail Stew
- 8 lbs oxtail (1½”–2” pieces are best)
- Lemon juice (for rinsing the oxtail)
- White vinegar (for rinsing the oxtail)
- Coarse kosher salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Grace Browning Sauce (enough to coat oxtail and turn it golden-brown)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large white onion, rough chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, rough chopped
- 2–5 Scotch bonnet peppers, rough chopped
- 10 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 7 sprigs fresh thyme, rough chopped
- 96 oz unsalted chicken stock
- 5 cans butter beans or lima beans
Items You'll Need
Instructions for Oxtail Stew
- Briefly rinse the oxtail with water, lemon juice, and white vinegar while inspecting the individual pieces for bone fragments. Remove any fragments you find within the meat.
- In a large bowl, season the oxtail with the coarse salt, pepper, and browning sauce. You can be generous with the salt upfront because the later addition of beans will pull most of it away from the oxtail. For the browning sauce, start with a small amount and rub it into all pieces of the oxtail until they become golden-brown. Add more as needed.
- Preheat your kamado grill to 225℉, adding a few large chunks of pecan wood once the coals ash over. You can also use apple, hickory, oak, or any other readily available wood in your area.
- Place a heat deflector plate in the center of the middle rack. This will provide indirect heat during the smoking and Dutch-oven portions of the cook.
- Once your grill is preheated and set up for indirect cooking, place your oxtail on the grill. Thicker pieces should be placed on the perimeter of the grill so they can receive more rising heat, while the smaller pieces are best left in the center above the heat deflector.
- Close the kamado and let the oxtail smoke for 1½ –2 hours.
- After you’ve given the oxtail time to smoke, remove it from the kamado and set aside.
- Place your Dutch oven on the grill grates, and allow it to preheat with the deflector plate still in place on the middle rack.
- Once it’s gotten up to temperature, lightly drizzle olive oil inside the Dutch oven and give it a few minutes to heat up. To test the temperature of the oil, toss in a piece of chopped onion — if the oil sizzles and bubbles around the onion, then you’ll know it’s hot enough.
- Add the rest of the chopped onion and saute them for a few minutes, constantly stirring.
- Continuing to stir, add the green onion and Scotch bonnet peppers into the Dutch oven. Allow everything to saute for a couple minutes. (Pro tip: if you don’t want too much heat from the peppers, use fewer and remove the seeds and stem.)
- Finally, add garlic and thyme to the Dutch oven. (They go in last so they don’t burn.) Saute everything until fragrant.
- Add the smoked oxtail to your Dutch oven, then follow that up with enough chicken stock to cover the oxtail. You still want to leave room in the Dutch oven for the broth to build without boiling over.
- Add your beans, along with the juice from the cans. Stir and let everything settle in the Dutch oven. (Pro tip: if you find the stew too salty now or at any time throughout the cook, a bit of coconut milk or tomato paste will help you course-correct.)
- Place the lid on the Dutch oven, leaving a slight opening to allow the liquid to reduce. Now shut the kamado lid and let the magic happen. At this point, you can increase the temperature to 300°F–350°F. You should still keep a close eye on the fire because higher temperatures near 400°F and above will cause the oxtail stew to cook too quickly. It’s important that this dish cooks slowly because the oxtail’s fat, collagen, and bone marrow needs time to render and help thicken the stew.
- Let the stew braise for about 3–4 hours, then check the consistency to see if it’s to your liking. The stew should coat a spoon without being overly runny, while the oxtail should have pushed away from the bone and become spoon-tender. Continue braising the stew if the consistency isn’t quite right, being sure to frequently check so it doesn’t overcook.
- Once finished, remove the Dutch oven from the kamado and serve the oxtail stew over white rice or eat as is. For a more authentic experience, make the rice with coconut milk and add green peas. Whatever you decide, be sure to enjoy!
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