I’ve been eating ox tail for a while. Specially when I was a kid. This is the kind of meat that is used to flavour beef soups and makes some wonderful stews. My mom loved using it a lot but hated eating it. She literally set it aside. Not a true carnivore… obviously. Me and my cat didn’t mind its rubbery cartilaginous texture. In fact, I truly love this stuff. Many awesome dishes can thank the humble Ox’s tail for their success. Its flavour is unique and doesn’t need much help from any seasoning to bring out its boldness. This is no shy cut of meat and it’s relatively inexpensive.
Like any super tough cut, long cooking times are required to break down the collagen and make the meat tender to eat. After reading a post from my friend Stefan on Ox tail cooked sous vide I was encouraged. I’m not gonna lie, when I read about the cooking time I was … ok, I was sold! It will require more or less 100 hours of slow cooking so plan ahead… like a real far ahead, specially if you’re planning on feeding other human beings at a dinner party.
If you are obsessed about meat and don’t fear the the oceans of time between the ordinary and the awesome then this article might be of your interest. Besides, at the next potluck when the subject of slow cooking gets brought up (which I’m sure it will since you’ll be there), guess who’s gonna blow them all away. That’s right.
But joking aside, cooking ox tail this way has definitely taken this cheap cut to a whole new dimension of wow. The meat almost melts in the mouth. Another thing to notice is the presence of some maillard reaction or at least what seems to be so. I hope that’s the case. I know this reaction can happen at very low temperatures over a long period of time… basically what happened here. Wish I knew but maybe is just oxidation.
How to do this. The process is pretty simple. Season with salt. Add to the plastic baggie and vacuum seal. Set your sous vide bath to 60C and cook for 100 hours. Done.
One thing that might be worth mentioning. This way of cooking doesn’t render as much fat and gelatine as traditional cooking methods would. I would only go with the sous vide approach If cooking stews and other similar preparations but not soups. In soups, I much rather have as much gelatine and fat rendered into the stock as humanly possible.
100 hours. tic toc… that cat from the first paragraph is getting impatient. Good luck.