Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive?

Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive

Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive? Nothing like a bowl of oxtail stew for comfort and wholesomeness. However, if you’ve ordered this dish in a restaurant, you may have observed that it might come with a large price tag, comparable to that of much fancier meals. So, why are oxtail dishes so expensive?

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Why is oxtail so pricey these days? Oxtail can be expensive due to three factors: supply, demand, and preparation. Because it is only a little section of the cow and has become a popular delicacy that takes a long time to prepare, the price of oxtail has skyrocketed over the years.

Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive
Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive

Not derived from an ox.

Though it’s now made from beef or veal, oxtail gets its name from its original source: an ox’s tail. Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive? Oxen are large-horned, domesticated bovines that have traditionally been employed for farming or transportation.

Because it is carved at the base of the spine, there is very little actual meat on the cut. Oxtails typically weigh 1–1.5 pounds. If you need extra meat, you can buy oxtail in smaller, jointed parts or whole.

A Delicacy Around the World

Some in the United States formerly believed oxtail to be offal Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive (animal flesh considered less attractive, such as sweetmeats and other organs).

Oxtail, on the other hand, has long been a staple feature of the cuisines of Jamaica, Korea, Indonesia, China, and Italy. When residents from these regions immigrated to the United States, they took their incredible cuisine with them.

Oxtail, once an import, is now popular among American chefs and home cooks alike.

What Makes Oxtail Unique?

The most expensive pieces of meat are primal cuts, which are the first parts of the animal to be chopped from the carcass. Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive The most expensive secondary cuts are derived from primal rib and loin, such as fillet tip and rib-eye steaks.

However, most of what makes these cuts so pricey is missing from oxtail. Oxtail is prized not for its balance of muscle and lean fat (as in tenderloin cuts), but for its combination of collagen-rich meat, bone, and fat.

Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive

When oxtail is properly prepared, the collagen in the meat breaks down and combines with the marrow and tastes in the bone to produce indescribably supple meat with a richness and depth of flavor that is difficult to find.

The Reasons for Oxtail’s Expensive Price

There are three main reasons why the price of oxtail varies from $5 to $10 per pound depending on where you reside. They are also rarely obtainable in large quantities.

The scarcity of available meat, the patience necessary to prepare it properly, and increased demand all contribute to the price increase of this magnificent offcut.


It may appear evident, yet there isn’t much tail. Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive The tail amounts for less than 1% of a cow’s meat and is often no larger than 6-7lbs before being killed for sale. This means that there isn’t much to go around to begin with, and it’s growing rarer as demand grows.


Though it began as a specialized offcut used largely in multi-national communities, demand has skyrocketed since it was discovered by American cooks.

This is not the first time this has happened: lobster and caviar were once inexpensive mainstays, but their prices have skyrocketed since being included into fine dining.

Another reason for the growth in demand is the concerted effort to keep all parts of the cow out of landfills.

Snout-to-tail eating adheres to the long-held idea of many indigenous societies that all parts of the animal should be used in cookery. Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive It not only reduces waste, but it’s also been hailed as a healthier, more ethical way to consume beef.


To actually get the most out of oxtail, you must take your time preparing it. Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive While not inherently complex, most recipes for foods such as oxtail stew or ragu can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to complete.

Because oxtails are high in collagen, it takes a lot of heat and moisture to break it down into gelatin. It then mingles with the fat and marrow, resulting in succulently delicate flesh.

Because it cannot be grilled or fried, Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive most quick oxtail recipes are out of the question, which explains why oxtails are so expensive when eaten out.

Home cooks can save time by using a pressure cooker or an instant pot, but conventional methods provide the best flavor.

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Q. Where Can I Find the Best Oxtail?

A. One advantage of oxtail’s growing popularity is that it is now available in far more places than before. Previously only available in Asian markets or specialty butcher shops, oxtails are now available at almost any butcher shop or meat counter at your local grocery store.

Not all oxtails are created equal, just like not all other cuts of meat. Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive Ask your butcher about their oxtail and whether there are organic or grass-fed versions.

Q: How Do You Make the Most of a Small Cut of Oxtail?

A. If you only have a few of pounds of oxtail and don’t have the ingredients for a huge braised meat meal, oxtail is ideal for making an excellent no-leftovers-because-we-ate-it-all stew or soup.

Stews and soups allow you to enjoy the excellent flavor of oxtails without making it the primary component of the dish. Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive Pho is an excellent choice because a great bowl requires a fantastic soup to bring out all of the flavors.

Q. Are there any comparable, less expensive cuts of meat you may try before purchasing oxtail?

A. Depending on the type of cuisine you’re preparing, yes! A meaty cut of veal, beef neck, short rib, or soup bones with fat and flesh left on them are all great stand-ins until you’re ready for the main event, though they won’t necessarily have the same richness and depth.


Given the price, you may be asking if oxtail is worthwhile. Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive The quick answer is that it is entirely up to you!

Preparing a new recipe using a new ingredient might be intimidating. However, oxtails are a great way to broaden your culinary palette or learn various cultures through your taste buds. Oxtail can give incredible flavor and depth to pasta, ragus, soups, and braised dishes.

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