Jamaican Oxtails

Jamaican Oxtails

Get ready to fall in love with this Jamaican oxtail recipe with butter beans and gravy. Serve this flavorful dish over rice or mashed potatoes for a seriously decadent meal that guarantees to be a crowd-pleaser!

Jamaican Oxtails5

Growing up, oxtails was easily one of my favorite dishes. It was one of the only meals that I was happy to wait hours to enjoy because that was how long it took for those oxtails to become so tender that they fell right off the bone. Trust me; it was well worth the wait. Luckily, this Jamaican oxtails recipe is made with a pressure cooker, cooking to perfection in an hour. 

This is one of those incredible dishes that taste good enough to save for a special occasion but is so easy to make that you could also enjoy it on any old weeknight for a family dinner. The secret to achieving a truly amazing flavor is making these oxtails with burnt sugar, which is basically the brown roux of Jamaican and Trinidadian cooking.

You have come to the right place if you’ve been looking for an excuse to fire up your pressure cooker. Jamaican Oxtails are juicy, tender, and bursting with flavor. This dish tastes like it took all day to prepare, so it’s the perfect dish if you’re looking to impress your family or friends. Serve it hot with rice, mashed potatoes, or grits for a meal that you’ll never forget. Now, let’s get into the good stuff.

Jamaican Oxtails

Key Ingredients

Let’s talk about what you’ll need to bring this authentic Jamaican oxtail recipe to life.

  • Oxtails: Look for medium-sized oxtails that are all similar in size to ensure that they all cook evenly. A little fat is good for flavor, but try to avoid overly fatty oxtails. 
  • Beef Stock: As with any pressure cooker recipe, the liquid is essential for creating the pressure that cooks the dish. I like to use beef stock for maximum flavor, but you can also use vegetable stock.
  • Savory Cajun Seasoning: This is a great all-purpose Cajun seasoning that’s low in sodium and full of flavor. If you can’t find Savory Cajun, feel free to use your favorite seasoning salt instead.
  • Light Brown Sugar: Old-school Jamaicans use a technique known as “burnt sugar” to give dishes a deep flavor and color. That’s why I use the best quality sugar on the market, Imperial Sugar. Their high-quality sugar and sweetener products can be found at retailers throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma and commissaries and Costco stores across the US.
  • Fresh Thyme: This fresh herb adds a deliciously earthy flavor to the dish that really complements the rest of the flavors. If needed, you can use dried thyme, but I recommend using fresh thyme for maximum flavor.
  • Butter Beans: Butter beans, pigeon peas, or board beans are traditionally used in Jamaican oxtail recipes. They pair well and also make the dish even more filling and delicious!
  • Green Onions: Also known as scallions, green onions are another ingredient commonly used in Jamaican cuisine for added flavor and brightness.
Jamaican Oxtails2

How to Make Jamaican Oxtails and Gravy

Now that you know what you need to whip up this dish let’s break down the steps for how to make the best Jamaican oxtails. Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for exact measurements. 

Step 1: Burnt Sugar

Turn the heat to medium in a large heavy bottom skillet like a cast iron. Add brown sugar once it begins to melt, constantly stir until sugar is a dark cocoa brown color. Remove from heat and stir in water until the sugar is thick and runny. Let cool. 

Step 2: Marinate the Oxtails

In a large bowl, toss oxtails with vinegar and rinse under cold water. Blot dry with paper towels place back in the bowl. In a small bowl, combine Savory, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and allspice. Liberally season all sides of oxtails with half the seasoning. 

Add burnt sugar and evenly coat oxtails. Add onion, green onions, cover and pop in the fridge for 45 minutes to overnight.  

Step 3: Brown the Oxtails

Turn the heat to medium, in a large skillet, add 3 tablespoons oil, once hot, brown oxtail for 1 minute on each side (you can do this on sauté mode in the pressure cooker.) Add oxtails to the pressure cooker, then repeat until oxtails are browned. 

Step 4: Prep the Pressure Cooker

Wipe down the pressure cooker, add 2 tablespoons oil, then the onion, green onion, bell pepper, tomato, and scotch bonnet, and then cook for 3 minutes until the vegetables are tender. 

Stir in extra seasoning mix, garlic, and thyme, cook for 30 seconds. Add vegetables, soy sauce, and worcestershire to pressure cooker, stir to combine. Place the lid on and cook on high pressure for 1 hour, then let the pressure cooker naturally release. This should take about 20 minutes.

Step 5: Thicken the Gravy and Serve

Open the lid, then remove the oxtails and tent with foil. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water into a slurry, stir into the pot and add butter beans. Cook on sauté mode for 5-8 minutes until the gravy thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot over rice, mashed potatoes, or grits.

Jamaican Oxtails1

Recipe Notes

Want to make the best pressure cooker Jamaican oxtails? Here are some of my top tips to help you get the most flavorful results: 

  • If you can’t find scotch bonnet peppers, you can swap them for scotch bonnet pepper sauce. Habernos may be your first thought, but they only provide heat; scotch bonnets have a sweet-heat flavor. Worried about the heat? Reduce the amount to one pepper or swap out one of the scotch bonnets for a jalapeno pepper.
  • Don’t have a pressure cooker? You can cook this dish on the stovetop for 3 to 3.5 hours until the oxtails are fork-tender. Once the oxtails are done, remove them from the pot and bring the pot to a simmer until the gravy has thickened.
  • If needed, you can replace the cornstarch with all-purpose flour or arrowroot powder, but you will need to double the flour or arrowroot.
  • For the best results, I highly recommend marinating the oxtails in your spices for at least 45 minutes or overnight to allow the flavors to infuse into the meat.
  • Don’t skip searing the meat before pressure cooking it! Browning the oxtails before cooking them is essential for locking in the juices and flavor.

Jamaican Oxtail Recipe FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about this Jamaican-style oxtails recipe:

How do you clean oxtails with vinegar?

To clean oxtails with vinegar, use white distilled vinegar to rinse oxtails. Soak oxtails in the vinegar for approximately 5 minutes. Drain oxtails, then rinse with cold water. This helps remove any blood from the oxtails while tenderizing them simultaneously.

Savory Seasoning Wide Ad

What is burnt sugar?

Burnt sugar is made similarly to caramel. It’s a technique commonly used in Jamaican cuisine to enhance the flavor and color of dishes by caramelizing sugar to create a deep, rich syrup. It might sound tricky, but burnt sugar is really easy to make and adds a ton of flavor to this Jamaican oxtails recipe. 

It’s also sold commercially as browning. Browning and worcestershire sauce are not the same; although they may look similar, they provide different benefits. You can use burnt sugar and browning in savory dishes like oxtails, brown stew chicken, or Christmas cake.

What is oxtail meat?

To put it simply, oxtail meat is the tail of a male or female cow. While it was once an incredibly affordable cut of meat because it was less prized than others, it’s gained a ton of popularity in recent years and has gone up in price. Oxtail requires braising to release the incredible gelatinous flavor and fork-tender texture, which is why I like to cook it in the pressure cooker.

Jamaican Oxtails4

How to store leftover oxtails?

If you wind up with leftover oxtails, let them cool before transferring them to an airtight container. You can store the oxtails with gravy for up to 4-5 days in the fridge or freeze them for 3 months. Then make my Oxtail Quesadillas with them. 

What is good to eat with oxtails?

This recipe for oxtails has butter beans, so a bed of white or brown rice would be perfect. However, if you’re looking for something else, I recommend serving them over Coconut Sweet Mashed Potatoes, Rice and Peas, Smoked Gouda Grits, or Garlic Mashed Potatoes. These are great because you can make them while the oxtails are cooking and finish simultaneously as the oxtails are finished cooking. 

Latest Recipe Video:

Jamaican Oxtails6
Southern Creole Banner Ad-1

More Crave-Worthy Instant Pot Recipes

If you loved this oxtail recipe, try these fantastic Instant Pot recipes next:

Fall in love with this Jamaican oxtail recipe! Look no further if you’re looking for a dish that will wow your taste buds. This oxtail recipe is packed with flavor and sure to please even the pickiest eaters. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes for an extra-special meal. And don’t forget to leave me a 5-star rating if you make the recipe!

Recipes:

Jamaican Oxtails5

Jamaican Oxtails

Kenneth Temple
If you're looking for an authentic Jamaican oxtail recipe, you've come to the right place! This brown stew oxtail recipe is made with butter beans and gravy, a serious crowd-pleaser.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 6 persons
Calories 798 kcal

Ingredients
  

Burnt Sugar:

Oxtails:

  • 3-4 lbs. oxtails
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Savory Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large onion chopped medium
  • 2 green onions chopped medium
  • 5 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 bell pepper chopped medium
  • 1 medium tomato chopped medium
  • 2 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 16 oz. can butter beans drained

Instructions
 

  • Turn the heat to medium in a large heavy bottom skillet like a cast iron. Add brown sugar, once it begins to melt stir constantly until sugar is a dark cocoa brown color. Remove from heat and stir in water, sugar should be thick but runny, cool.
  • In a large bowl, toss oxtails with vinegar, rinse under cold water. Blot dry with paper towels, place back in bowl. In a small bowl combine Savory, salt, black pepper, garlic powder and all spice. Liberally season all sides of oxtails with half the seasoning. Add burnt sugar and evenly coat oxtails. Add onion, green onions, cover and pop in the fridge for 45 minutes to overnight.
  • Turn the heat to medium, in a large skillet add 3 tablespoons oil, once hot, brown oxtail for 1 minute on each side (you can do this on sauté in the pressure cooker.) Add oxtails to pressure cooker, repeat until oxtails are browned.
  • Wipe out the skillet, add 2 tablespoons oil, then the onion, green onion, bell pepper, tomato and scotch bonnet, cook for 3 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in extra seasoning mix, garlic, and thyme, cook for 30 seconds. Add vegetables, soy sauce, worcestershire, ketchup to instant pot, stir to combine. Place the lid on, cook on high pressure for 45 minutes let pressure cooker natural release. This take about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, remove the oxtails and tent with foil. In a small bowl combine cornstarch and water, stir into pot and add butter beans. Cook on sauté for 5-8 minutes until gravy thickens, taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot over rice, mashed potatoes or grits.

Notes

Want to make the best pressure cooker Jamaican oxtails? Here are some of my top tips to help you get the most flavorful results:
  • If you can’t find scotch bonnet peppers, you can swap them for scotch bonnet pepper sauce. Habernos may be your first thought, but they only provide heat; scotch bonnets have a sweet-heat flavor. Worried about the heat? Reduce the amount to one pepper or swap out one of the scotch bonnets for a jalapeno pepper.
  • Don’t have a pressure cooker? You can cook this dish on the stovetop for 3 to 3.5 hours until the oxtails are fork-tender. Once the oxtails are done, remove them from the pot and bring the pot to a simmer until the gravy has thickened.
  • If needed, you can replace the cornstarch with all-purpose flour or arrowroot powder, but you will need to double the flour or arrowroot.
  • For the best results, I highly recommend marinating the oxtails in your spices for at least 45 minutes or overnight to allow the flavors to infuse into the meat.
  • Don’t skip searing the meat before pressure cooking it! Browning the oxtails before cooking them is essential for locking in the juices and flavor.        
How to store leftover oxtails?
If you wind up with leftover oxtails, let them cool before transferring them to an airtight container. You can store the oxtails with gravy for up to 4-5 days in the fridge or freeze them for 3 months. Then make my Oxtail Quesadillas with them.

Nutrition

Calories: 798kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 77gFat: 42gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 249mgSodium: 1856mgPotassium: 588mgFiber: 6gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 2084IUVitamin C: 39mgCalcium: 109mgIron: 12mg
Keyword Jamaican Oxtails
Cooked this recipe?Let me know how it was!

2 thoughts on “Jamaican Oxtails”

  1. Jamaican oxtail do not utilize burning the sugar, that’s a Trini thing, Jamaicans do more of a braising kinda method! Jamaicans barely use burnt sugar in any of their dishes! .

    Thank you

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating