Will It Be Sous Vide? Juicy, Bone-Fallen Oxtail

Hello my favorite favorites, and welcome back to the very rich and meaningfulWill It Sous Vide? , a weekly column where I do whatever you want with my immersion circulator.

I was so excited about the project this week that I was tempted to do an engagement-style photo shoot capturing me and our interesting subject and then turn it into a slideshow fromNick Cave’sBreathless orJonathan Richman’s You’re the One for Me “ Not only could I not choose between the two songs, but I realized that a romantic slideshow of my face and some meat would not help either of you very much, so I ended up settling on the regular format.

As you might have guessed, oxtail sparked a fair amount of enthusiasm during this week’s discussion of the topic , so I called a whole bunch of grocery stores asking for a tail until I found a butcher shop that had it. Whole Foods didn’t have much, so I asked the cute young butcher to please not give it to anyone until I arrived.

I ended up with about two pounds of tail left, which is enough for two very hungry people. I salted it, blotted it with paper towels, and then quickly sautéed it in cast iron, because although I stick to the principle of cooking mostly sous vide in this column, I am also a living, breathing woman living in the real world who understands that any meat requires a little browning.

Once everyone dyed a good color, it was time for the bag. Not wanting to add liquid to our dish, I made a super-tasty paste with five cloves of minced garlic, three very healthy bubbles of Umami Trader Joe’s paste, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon fried chicken. (Beef or mushrooms are fine too, I just have chicken.) Both of these umami bombs add body, flavor, and some acidity without any moisture, making them ideal for our closed cooking system.

Oxtail is loaded with collagen, making it the perfect candidate for extended hangings in our swirling, low and slow cooking hot tub. I gave the meaty guys a full 24 hours in a 185-degree bath, and I hoped this tough, elastic connective tissue would have enough time to turn into silky gelatin.

After a day in the bathtub, there was a lot of very juicy meat in the bag.

I drained the lovely sauce, put it in a measuring cup for a more delicious use later, and transferred the hot, sexy ponytail to the platter.

I think you guys already know the answer, but the question still needs to be asked: Will the oxtail be sous vide?

Answer: I don’t know if there is enough positive word to describe how I feel about this oxtail. If the goal here was rich, incredibly meaty, not dry at all, with the oxtail falling off, then we have achieved this goal, my dear friends, and I doubt that I will ever be able to cook oxtail in any other way. Not only were the results amazing, but the method was too simple. In fact, if you only spent 15 minutes or so burning your tail on Sunday night, you could be back home Monday night for the most filling dinner on weekdays, and who doesn’t want to be satisfied after a long weekday Monday at the office. ?

And honestly, it’s juicy. The light tug of my fingers just dropped the meat, leaving behind one of the cleanest bones I’ve ever seen.

I tried the same strategy with a big chunk and was rewarded with equally amazing results.

That connective tissue melted well, turning oxtail into one of the most tender, finest pot-fried meats I’ve ever tasted, with a rich patina flavor that was downright decadent. The fatty parts of the tail lacked chewing, they simply melted in the mouth with the consistency of perfectly cooked bone marrow.

I was so pleased that I ate three pieces of tail in a row while standing over the dish with the camera still hanging around my neck. Then I pulled myself together, wiped my fingers, walked over to the computer and typed in as quickly as possible because you guys need to know about it. Everyone needs to know.

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