This time, though ... I decided to make something totally different. Well, the meat isn't different for me, since I grew up eating oxtails. But the method is different. I've pressure-cooked oxtails and I've braised them and I've slow cooked them.
But then I thought ... why not sous vide? I loved the sous vide short ribs I've made, and oxtails are that same sort of tough meat. So I figured I'd use the same sort of cooking method. I upped the temperature just a little bit, but kept the looooooong cooking time.
I didn't add a lot of seasoning - just a little bit of commercial barbecue sauce. Then I sealed up the bag, chucked it in a big pot, and let the oxtails enjoy the hot tub experience.
I used my Anova Wifi Precision Cooker, which is actually pretty cool. I can set it all from my phone and monitor it from my phone and watch it from my phone. There are recipes included as well as suggested cooking times and temperatures.
Let me mention that one thing I like about this model is that the timing doesn't start until the temperature has been reached. If you're cooking for a long time, the extra time it takes water to come to a recipe probably doesn't matter much. But if you're cooking for a short time, it's nice that the timer doesn't start before temperature has been reached.
But of course I didn't use the included recipes because I was winging it. Or tailing it, maybe?
The great thing about this recipe is that you can pretty much cook more or less meat, and you can flavor it any way you like. I added that tiny squirt of barbecue sauce, but you could certainly add hot sauce, teriyaki, ginger, beer, wine ... pretty much anything you can think of. Or add nothing and serve the oxtails with a sauce.
There's one prefect word for these oxtails ... unctuous. They were tender and juicy and mmmm. Just mmmmm. Not soft and mushy, not dry or chewy. Perfectly cooked, but still pink inside. Not rare pink, but not brown or gray. They couldn't be better.
I'm definitely going to make these again. I'm not saying I'll never use my pressure cooker for oxtails when I want food fast. But I'm definitely going to try to plan ahead next time I want oxtails so I can cook them sous vide. It's well worth it.
Sous Vide Oxtails
3 pounds oxtails (or as many as will fit neatly in a bag in one layer)
Squirt of barbecue sauce or other flavoring (optional)
Put the oxtails and flavoring in a vacuum seal bag and seal it.
Place in a large pot with your sous vide attached. Cover the pot as best you can with foil or another type of cover. I use a silicone cover from GIR that has a V cut out. They don't come with that cut-out, but scissors or a sharp knife will do the trick.
Set the sous vide for 150 degrees for 72 hours.
When the time is up, you can serve the oxtails right away, or let them cool to room temperature, then refrigerate and reheat later.
The juice left in the bag is a pretty amazing stock. There's not much of it, but there's plenty to make a little bit of a sauce or gravy, or add it to the cooking water for rice, or add it to some soup to add a boost of flavor.