Moment(s) in Black History West Indian/Caribbean Oxtail Stew

February 3rd, 2018 – By: Ishton W. Morton

West Indian/Caribbean Oxtail Stew.

Subsequently, oxtail Stew is an authentic traditional meal in the English-speaking West Indies/Caribbean Islands. The population of these islands is comprised predominantly of Black People.

It has been enormously suspected that, during the plantation era, or slavery in West Indies/Caribbean oxtails were the leftovers after slaughters and they were discarded only to be retrieved under the shades of night by the enslaved. Yes! They were an enslaved and oppressed people!

Oxtail is the common name for a cow’s tail. Oxtail like chitterlings was discovered out of the same necessarily, or inevitability, or unavoidability for continued life an enslaved people. The enslaved had a need for protein. Oxtail itself has protein just like any other meat but the protein content is not extremely high enough for you to have the benefits of a high protein diet unless you eat a huge amount.

Because oxtail is most often served as part of a larger dish and is most commonly stewed, the number of calories consumed in a dish of oxtail will depend significantly on the other ingredients used. Usual ingredients include onions, garlic, beans and winter vegetables.

Although the Jamaican and the Chinese has popularized varieties of oxtail cuisines it must be made perfectly clear as to its origin.

Also, recipes pertaining to oxtail stew has been shared so often, that it has reached many, many nations. The Caribbean/West Indian oxtail stew is the original including Jamaican oxtail stew, to be followed by the Korean oxtail stew, French oxtail stew, Chinese oxtail stew, and so on. The Jamaican oxtail stew is the most well known of them all.

Oxtail is most often served as part of a stew or a soup, as the fat, cartilage and bone marrow add plenty of flavor. The meat becomes very tender when it is subjected to wet cooking for long periods of time.

Typically, the oxtail is seasoned or braised with butter beans and a complex taste of allspice which includes garlic, thyme, scotch bonnet and onion medley. The process is done through browning sauce prepared using a technique that imparts a hint of caramelized flavor.

When presented with this dish of fragrant oxtail stew one always want more. The slow-cooked dish is always passionate with flavor. Today, oxtail stew is a comfort food for friends, family and home for anyone from the Caribbean (West Indies).

Predicated on my research it is uncertain as to the exact origin of oxtail stew. However, I will continue to believe that the enslaved on plantations in the English-speaking (West Indies) Caribbean have contributed enormously  to the perfection of  this dish.

A somewhat bewildering or confusing school of thought has suggested that the first one comes from France. During the French Revolution, not many people were concerned with eating all of the parts of an animal, but as times became hard, that quickly changed. The slaughter houses will send their hides to the tanneries without cleaning them. Supposedly, most of the tail from the hide will still be attached along with other pieces of meat people normally ignored. One day, a noble asked for a tail from a cow and thusly oxtail soup was first coined and or created. The recipe was then brought to Britain, Korea and other places.

Accordingly, this account does not give rise to believability. During this period, there were no means to preserved perishable

Another school of thought says; The second story comes from the time of the slave trade. In the early 1400s the slaves often retrieved throwaway foods from the plantation’s owner. They made due with these leftover cuts and ended making several recipes that are well known even today. They are pig’s feet, beef tongue/tail, ham hocks, chitterlings (pig’s small intestines), pig ears, hog jowls, tripe and skin. These were their main sources of protein.

To start off with, the main ingredient of oxtail stew is the tail bone of cow, not ox like the name suggests. It is a hearty soup that takes a long time to cook it, but on a cold winter day, it is the perfect meal to eat. Below I shall leave a list of ingredients and the steps for preparation for this spectacular and delicious dish.

Amazingly, in today’s financial prudence world food that were once discarded for garbage has become a multi-billion commodity that it is no longer affordable to the many whose ancestral survival depended on them.

Recipe – West Indian/Caribbean Oxtail Stew

West Indian/Caribbean Oxtail Stew

Braised oxtail with butter beans not only provide a complex note from allspice. Including the ever familiar garlic, thyme, scotch bonnet and onion medley. Fall of the bone tender.


  • 2 -3 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 pounds oxtail cut up medium pieces
  • 1 or 2 onions chopped (based on size)
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 4 medium whole carrots
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup /tomato paste
  • 1 Whole Scotch bonnet pepper
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 5-6 Whole pimento seeds (allspice),
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon curry or more adjust to preference
  • 15 ounce can butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon browning (Kitchen Bouquet  optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon bouillon powder or cube (optional)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Season oxtail with, salt and pepper.
  2. Set aside for carination.
  3. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat, until hot, then add the oxtail sauté stirring frequently, any browned bits off the bottom of the pot, until oxtail is brown.
  4. If desire drain oil and leave about 2-3 tablespoons.
  5. Add onions, green onions, garlic, thyme, all spice, Worcestershire, smoked paprika, stir for approximately one minute.
  6. Throw in scotch bonnet pepper, tomato paste, bouillon and curry powder, stir for another minute.
  7. Add approximately 6 cups of water and bring to a boil and let it simmer until tender (depending on the oxtail size and preference) Cook in a saucepan for approximately 2- 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  8. Approximately 20-30 minutes before removing from the stove add the broad beans.
  9. Adjust thickness of soup with water or stock.
  10. Season with salt according to preference.

Author: Ishton W. Morton

Formerly, Ishton W. Morton is an educator and promoter for community advocacy which includes creating programs and services, developing partnerships, and changing public policies, laws, and practices to improve the lifestyle of all people I’m still having an overwhelming desire to provide an Outreach Continuing Education process through this media.