Jamaican Oxtail Stew

Jamaican oxtail stew is a dish that is often enjoyed as a Sunday meal, so it’s perfect for colder winter weekends.

4 servings

Time: 3 hrs 30 mins

By Keith McBrayer

The recipe breakdown originally appeared in The Mouthful, our weekly food newsletter for the curious home cook.

Keith McBrayer

Keith McBrayer



  • Braising meat

    • oxtails
      , cut into chunks
      1000 g2 lb
    • salt
    • cooking oil
      a drizzle
  • Aromatics & spices

    • onions
      , diced
    • garlic
      , roughly chopped
      2-5 cloves
    • scallions
      , diced
      1 bunch
    • scotch bonnets
      , deseeded & diced
    • fresh ginger
      , minced
      A 2" knob
    • black pepper
      , ground
      a spoonful
    • allspice
      , ground
      a spoonful
  • Braising & flavoring liquids

    • ketchup
      , (optional)
      a spoonful
    • browning sauce
      a spoonful
    • water
      , or broth
      enough to submerge
    • salt
      to taste
  • Starch additions

    • butter beans
      , drained
      a 14 oz can
  • Garnishes

    • scallions
      , thinly sliced green tops
    • thyme
      , fresh sprigs


Step 1: Sear the oxtails

Generously season the oxtail pieces with a sprinkle of salt on each side.

Add a drizzle of cooking oil to a braising pot over high heat. In batches, the oxtail chunks on each side until well .

  • Once all oxtails are seared, set them aside.

Step 2: Sweat the aromatics

Add all aromatics and spices to the pot to over medium heat until they begin to soften and go fragrant. Scrape to any browned bits on the bottom of the pot (add a splash of water to prevent burning, if needed).

  • Add in reserved, seared oxtails.

Step 3: Add braising liquids

Add in the ketchup and browning sauce, and stir in with the meat & aromatic base until the oxtail chunks are well coated.

Add in the water or broth until everything is submerged. Add a sprinkle of salt to season the liquid.

Bring the pot to a , and then reduce the heat to low.

Step 4: Simmer

Let the pot on the stovetop, partially covered, for a 2-3 hour or until the meat is tender

Add in the butter beans and thyme sprigs and simmer for an additional, final 20 minutes, uncovered.

  • The braising liquid should and thicken a bit during this final cooking stage. Stir as needed to prevent burning.

Step 5: Finish & serve

Taste the braising liquid & a small piece of meat. Adjust with more salt, if needed. Turn off the heat and let the braise cool for about an hour.

This dish can be served immediately or reheated throughout the week.

  • Garnish with sliced green scallion tops.


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