The Right Way To Order Oxtail From Your Butcher

There are many cuts of meat out there, and they all have their intricacies when it comes to preparing and cooking them — and that's before you even get into pairing them with other ingredients. As such, it's very, very easy to just stick with your favorite cut or two, and shine the light of your cooking skills exclusively on them. Then again, why limit yourself? After all, there's nothing wrong with sticking to what you know ... but there's even less wrong with the willingness to challenge yourself in the kitchen.

Take oxtail, for instance. This ingredient might invoke images of delicious, yet deceptively complex soups and stews that invoke a life of immersion in very specific types of cuisine, or at least some pretty extensive kitchen training. Despite this, it's actually "just" a perfectly great cut, waiting to be turned into a tasty dish. All you need is a nice recipe — and, of course, a way to make sure your oxtail is good to begin with. With this in mind, let's take a look at the right way to order oxtail from your butcher.

Get your butcher to cut the oxtail for you

Oxtail, as Cook's Info notes, is actually a type of offal — the once-popular food genre that typically refers to organs like the liver, but includes occasional outliers like the tail, as well. The oxtail you're picturing right now — the neatly-cut bits with the bone cleanly exposed — is obviously not the whole tail of the cow. If you head to the butcher's to get the prime stuff, they might be selling the tail in whole, which is a considerably sturdier affair. As such, be sure to ask your butcher to cut the tail into two-to-three-inch pieces. That way, you'll leave the butcher's with those ready-to-cook tail bits, and won't have to painstakingly chop up the tail yourself.

If you remember to take this small step while acquiring the meat, you have a set of perfectly-sized oxtail pieces. Now, all you need is a quality recipe, like one for surprisingly delicious soy-braised oxtail, and you're all set for some highly rewarding time in the kitchen. Yum!