Do This If Your Oxtail Stew Is Too Oily

You've spent hours cooking down your oxtail — or tail of beef or veal (via The Spruce Eats) — to render it tender and succulent, and just imagining that first delicious bite of your hearty oxtail stew already has your mouth watering. You can practically taste it — that high concentration of gelatin and bone turning into "the most tender and full-bodied stew," as Serious Eats describes it, with a taste that goes beyond that of short ribs (via Simply Recipes). You go to check on the progress just to see a less-than-appetizing oily pool floating on top. Yuck! But before you toss your whole pot out and order a lackluster takeout instead, there are some easy ways to salvage your too-oily oxtail stew.

First, you can spoon off the fat that's on top of the stew towards the end of the cooking process, according to Immaculate Bites. If that isn't possible, one Redditor mentioned that placing sheets of paper towels across the top can be useful, or as Chicago Tribune says, you can dip paper towels into the stew to absorb the fat and get it out.

Plan ahead to avoid oily oxtail stews

A third method, which only works if you're cooking your oxtail stew ahead of when you plan to serve it, is to refrigerate your stew overnight, and then spooning off the white layer of fat on top before you reheat and serve the stew (via Reddit). The Chicago Tribune offers a variation on this method and recommends straining the liquid from the stew into a jar, freezing it, and removing the fat that rises to the top and solidifies.

There are also ways to minimize the fattiness of your stew to begin with, and that starts with when you get your oxtail, whether at the butcher or the supermarket. When you order oxtail from your butcher, ask them to cut the tail into ready-to-cook pieces that are no bigger than two to three inches and to trim the excess fat off. If you're picking up pre-packaged oxtail from your local supermarket, look for pieces that are well-trimmed. If that's not possible, remove as much of the visible fat as you can before you cook the oxtail. You want some fat to render during cooking for the flavor, but oxtail has enough fat that you can definitely spare some. Now that you have the perfect pot of non-oily oxtail stew, go ahead and pour that glass of red wine to go with it.