Smothered Oxtails

Smothered oxtails are the epitome of comfort food, a dish that warms your heart and soul with every savory bite. This classic Southern recipe combines tender oxtails with a rich, flavorful gravy, creating a dish that’s hearty, satisfying, and full of robust flavors. Whether you’re reminiscing about family gatherings or seeking a soul-soothing meal, smothered oxtails are the perfect choice. In this recipe, we’ll guide you through creating your own plate of Smothered Oxtails that will transport you to a place of culinary comfort.


For the Oxtails:

  • 3 pounds oxtails, trimmed and cleaned
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

For the Gravy:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water


Step 1: Prepare the Oxtails

  1. Rinse the oxtails under cold running water and pat them dry with paper towels.
  2. Season the oxtails generously with salt and black pepper.
  3. Dredge each oxtail in the flour, shaking off any excess.

Step 2: Brown the Oxtails

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Working in batches, add the oxtails to the pot and brown them on all sides. This should take about 8-10 minutes per batch. Remove the browned oxtails and set them aside.

Step 3: Sauté the Vegetables

  1. In the same pot, add the chopped onion, celery, and green bell pepper. Sauté until the vegetables become soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.

Step 4: Create the Flavor Base

  1. Return the browned oxtails to the pot with the sautéed vegetables.
  2. Add the bay leaves, dried thyme, dried oregano, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Stir everything together to combine the flavors.

Step 5: Simmer the Oxtails

  1. Pour in the beef broth and diced tomatoes, making sure the oxtails are mostly submerged in the liquid.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 2 to 2.5 hours, or until the oxtails become tender and almost fall-off-the-bone.

Step 6: Create the Gravy

  1. In a small bowl, mix the flour and water to create a smooth paste.
  2. Gradually add this paste to the simmering liquid in the pot, stirring constantly. Allow the gravy to thicken, which should take about 10-15 minutes.

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy!

  1. Remove the bay leaves from the pot.
  2. Serve the smothered oxtails hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley.
  3. Enjoy this comforting dish over rice, mashed potatoes, or with crusty bread to soak up the delicious gravy.


Smothered Oxtails are the embodiment of comfort food, a dish that combines the rich flavors of tender oxtails with a hearty gravy. This soul-satisfying meal is a testament to the culinary traditions of the South, and each bite is a warm embrace of flavor and nostalgia. Whether you’re savoring this dish alone or sharing it with loved ones, smothered oxtails are sure to bring a sense of joy and satisfaction to your table.

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