Mastering Oxtail: A Guide to Pressure Cooking Time & Key Tips

Ever wondered how to get that fall-off-the-bone tenderness when cooking oxtail? You’re not alone. The key lies in using a pressure cooker, a kitchen wonder that’s been a game-changer for many home chefs. But the question remains: How long should you cook oxtail in a pressure cooker to achieve that perfect, melt-in-your-mouth texture?

This article is your guide to mastering the art of pressure cooking oxtail. We’ll delve into the ideal cooking times, share some pro tips, and even throw in a recipe or two. So, if you’re ready to impress your guests with a delectable oxtail dish, let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Oxtail, with its rich flavor and remarkable tenderness, makes for a delicious meal when cooked appropriately in a pressure cooker. Understanding the origin and nutritional value of oxtail can enrich the cooking and dining experience.
  • Preparation of oxtail before cooking involves thorough cleaning, cutting into preferred sizes, and marination for enhanced flavor.
  • The choice of pressure cooker, classified broadly into stovetop, electric, and microwave types, plays a pivotal role in cooking oxtail. Size and capacity considerations are also critical for efficient cooking.
  • The cooking process involves bringing oxtail to room temperature, searing the meat for flavor lock-in, and adding sufficient liquids and aromatics.
  • When pressure cooking oxtail, approximately 45 minutes of pressurized cooking, followed by a 15-minute natural release period, tends to yield a tender, fall-off-the-bone result. The cooking time may vary based on the size and quantity of the meat.
  • Controlling the pressure levels and understanding the release methods are instrumental in achieving perfect tenderness and succulence in pressure-cooked oxtail.
  • Serving the pressure-cooked oxtail with appropriate accompaniments like rice, roasted vegetables, fresh salad, or bread enhances the dining experience. Applying certain presentation techniques like smart plating, garnishing, sauce drizzling, and choice of serving ware can enhance the meal’s visual appeal.

Understanding Oxtail: A Cut of Meat Worth Your Time

Transitioning from an exploration of the technique used to achieve perfectly cooked oxtail, let’s delve deeper into the star of the show – the oxtail itself. As you consider unravelling the secrets of pressure cooking this exquisite cut of meat, knowledge of its origin, popularity, and numerous nutritional benefits can enrich your culinary journey.

The Origins and Popularity of Oxtail

Bearing its name from the practice of cooking the tail of an ox, oxtail has a rich and colourful history that extends back several centuries. Traced as a staple in many European cultures like Italy and the UK, its journey today sees oxtail celebrated globally, embracing cuisine categories as wide as Afro-Caribbean and East Asian.

In fact, it’s such dishes as Jamaican Oxtail Stew and Korean Oxtail Soup that illustrate its pervasive reach and universal appeal. Understanding its roots aids in the appreciation of this cut’s ability to infuse dishes with unrivaled depth of flavour, ensuring countless recipes vie for its inclusion. It’s also wondrously adaptable to various cooking methods, pressure cooking being one, where its fatty, gelatinous nature truly shines, presenting us with a tender, fall-off-the-bone treat.

Nutritional Benefits of Oxtail

It’s not just the flavourful punch this meat delivers that’s impressive. Oxtail harbors an array of nutritional benefits contributing positively to a balanced diet. Renowned as a protein powerhouse, a single serving of this meat provides a significant portion of your daily protein needs, aiding in muscle repair and growth. It’s also a known source of key minerals like iron and zinc, factors that boost immune health and assist essential bodily functions.

Most notably, when slow-cooked, as in a pressure cooker, oxtail releases collagen, a nutrient associated with improved joint health and skin elasticity. So, while you savour its rich, aromatic flavours, you’re also nourishing your body with valuable nutrients. Therefore, enjoying oxtail is not just about gastronomic pleasure; it’s also a process that contributes to your wellbeing.

Preparing Oxtail Before Cooking

Cleaning and Cutting Oxtail

Oxtail preparation commences with thorough cleaning. Ensure cleanliness by washing the oxtail pieces under cold, running water. Scrub gently to remove any residual blood or bone fragments, enhancing the overall flavor profile of your dish.

Cutting oxtail is a process that depends on personal preference. Some prefer large chunks, roughly 3-4 inches long. Others opt for smaller pieces, around 2 inches, believing that smaller portions facilitate better flavor absorption during the cooking process.

Marinating Oxtail for Enhanced Flavor

Marination plays a crucial role in infusing the oxtail with a medley of flavors. Choose a marinade that complements oxtail’s robust flavor – consider a mix of soy sauce, garlic, onions, and fresh herbs. However, don’t limit yourself – you’re encouraged to experiment with flavors.

Once the marinade is ready, combine it with the oxtail pieces in a bowl. Ensure each piece is generously coated with the marinade. Give them a good rub, if necessary. Following this, let the oxtail rest in the marinade. An extended marination period, say, overnight, intensifies flavor penetration, rendering the oxtail even more succulent after pressure cooking.

With the oxtail properly cleaned, sectioned, and marinated, you’re one step closer to a delicious serving of tender, flavorful oxtail, right from your pressure cooker.

Choosing the Right Pressure Cooker

Having heard of oxtail’s historic provenance and extensive nutritional benefits, you might now be eager to prepare this stunning dish. Knowing how to choose the right pressure cooker can play a vital role in bringing the best out of an oxtail recipe.

Types of Pressure Cookers

Pressure cookers broadly classify into three types—stovetop, electric, and microwave.

  • Stovetop pressure cookers, as the name implies, function on your stove’s heat. These typically heat up fast, reach higher pressures, and offer the user ample control. Brands like Presto and T-fal offer durable stovetop options.
  • Electric pressure cookers present an easy-to-use, multifunctional appliance, handling tasks beyond pressure cooking— like slow cooking, yogurt making, or rice cooking. Instant Pot and Crock-Pot manufacture reliable electric pressure cookers.
  • Microwave pressure cookers, the least commonly used type, utilize microwave energy. They’re compact, lightweight, and simplistic, but lack in power and control compared to their counterparts. Nordic Ware and SilverStone provide compact microwave-friendly options.

Each type has its unique features and quirks, so choose based on your kitchen setup, your cooking preferences, and, of course, your budget.

Size and Capacity Considerations

Size does matter when it comes to pressure cookers. One too small would require cooking in batches, while an oversized one wastes energy.

Most commonly available sizes range from 3 liters (3.2 quarts) to 7.5 liters (8 quarts). For cooking oxtail:

  • A 5 Liters (5.3 quarts) pressure cooker generally suits an average-sized family of four. Brands like Hawkins and Instant Pot offer excellent mid-sized options.
  • Larger households or those who regularly host guests might opt for a 7.5 Liters (8 quarts) model, such as those offered by Tefal or Presto.

Remember that you fill a pressure cooker only two-thirds full for safety, which becomes particularly important when cooking frothy foods. So, consider the quantity of food you frequently cook, the number of people, and your storage space while choosing the right size.

With the right pressure cooker, you’re one pivotal step closer to enjoying a delightful bowl of tender, succulent oxtail.

The Cooking Process Explained

Moving forward, after selecting the right pressure cooker, the preparation process for cooking oxtail starts. The sequences and steps followed can impact the dish’s final quality significantly.

Bringing Oxtail to Room Temperature

You might think it’s good to cook the oxtail straight from the fridge, given its dense, fatty nature. That’s not the case, though. Cold meat takes longer to reach the desired internal temperature which can result in uneven cooking. Before searing, let the oxtail sit on your countertop for about 30 to 60 minutes. This gives it ample time to lose its chill, ensuring quick and even heat distribution during the cooking process.

Searing the Oxtail: A Crucial Step

Once your oxtail reaches room temperature, it’s time to sear it. Searing is the process of browning meat at high temperatures to lock in flavors. It’s a crucial step often neglected due to the misconception that pressure-cooking alone suffices. Irrespective of the type of pressure cooker you have picked – Instant Pot, Hawkins, Presto, or T-fal, here’s how you sear:

Get your pressure cooker sizzling hot, add oil, then place the oxtail pieces in gently, ensuring they don’t overlap. Sear each side until it turns a nice, golden brown. Remember, the aim is not to fully cook the meat at this stage, but to create a flavorful crust that will enhance the oxtail’s taste and texture during pressurized cooking.

Adding Liquids and Aromatics

AroMake sure that the liquid level in your pressure cooker is sufficient to cook the oxtails properly. Don’t fill it beyond the maximum fill line, as this can affect the pressure build-up, preventing the cooker from sealing correctly. Water, broth, or a mix of both usually form the base of the cooking liquid. A pro tip: For extra richness, consider adding a splash of red wine.

As for aromatics, onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves are common choices for oxtails. Feel free to experiment with spices like allspice, cloves, and nutmeg if you want to elevate the dish’s flavor profile. Remember not to overload with spices; their role is to complement, not mask, the taste of the oxtail. Adding these elements correctly will ensure your oxtail is tender, flavorsome, and has that melt-in-your-mouth quality.

Follow this cooking process closely, and be ready to dig into a hearty meal of succulent oxtail cooked to perfection in your pressure cooker.

How Long To Cook Oxtail In Pressure Cooker?

With the preliminaries of prepping, choosing the right cooker and searing the meat out of the way, let’s dive into the pivotal question: “How long to cook oxtail in a pressure cooker?”

The Importance of Cooking Time for Tenderness

Knowing the right cooking duration ensures the desired tenderness in the oxtail. Approximately, 45 minutes of pressurized cooking generates a satisfyingly soft texture in the meat, making it almost fall-off-the-bone tender. However, the cooking time doesn’t end here. Include a natural release period, which takes about 15 minutes. This accounts for a total cooking time of roughly an hour, much quicker than traditional slow-cooking methods.

Bear in mind, this suggested duration works for an oxtail cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces and cooked at high pressure. Larger cuts demand more time. Also note, the thickness of the meat influences its cooking time more than its weight. For instance, a thicker piece of meat, even if lighter, requires more time than a thinner, heavier one.

Use a fork to check tenderness. If it pierces the meat easily, your oxtail is done. If not, proceed with additional cooking in increments of 5 minutes until it reaches your preferred level of tenderness.

Adjusting Time Based on Quantity and Size

When dealing with different quantities and sizes of oxtail, adjust the cooking time accordingly. If the size of the meat pieces is larger, increase the cooking time. Likewise, for smaller cuts, reduce the time a bit to avoid overcooking.

Adding more oxtail also warrants extension in the cooking duration. However, it’s not a simple proportional increase, as heat distributes differently with many pieces. You’d have to figure out the sweet spot through a bit of experimentation.

Tips for Perfect Pressure-Cooked Oxtail

To make your pressure-cooked oxtail a masterful dish, there are a few tips that you can follow. Mastering the pressure settings and understanding the release methods can help you achieve the perfect tenderness and succulence.

Controlling Pressure Levels

The pressure level in a cooker plays a pivotal role in determining the cooking speed and texture achievable. In contrast to low-pressure setting, a high-pressure setting cooks food faster, making it an optimal choice for tough cuts like oxtail. However, an excess of pressure causes the meat to toughen, inhibiting the intended outcome. Typically, a pressure level between 10 to 15 PSI proves effective for oxtail. Align the pressure levels accordingly to ensure the meat tenderizes appropriately. For instance, Presto pressure cookers offer a standard pressure level of 15 PSI, ideal for ensuring optimum tenderness in oxtail. Pertinently, Instant Pot provides variable pressure settings, allowing you to adjust as needed.

Natural Release vs. Quick Release Methods

Understanding the release methods enhances the results of a pressure-cooked meal. Two common methods include natural release and quick release. Use a natural release method for foods like oxtail that have a longer cook time. In this process, let the pressure dissipate naturally post-cooking – an additional 10-20 minutes. It won’t rush the depressurization, enabling the meat to rest and juices redistribute within for balanced flavors. Conversely, the quick release method involves relieving pressure immediately after the cooking cycle. Despite rapid cooling, this method doesn’t suit oxtail – rapid depressurization could toughen the meat. Notably, T-fal and Hawkins cookers offer user-friendly natural and quick release features. Remember, it’s the tender and flavorsome oxtail you’re after, so let the pressure dissipate naturally, preserving the integrity of the meat, enhancing flavors, and ensuring an exquisite dining experience.

Serving Suggestions for Pressure-Cooked Oxtail

After delving into the ins and outs of pressure cooking oxtail, you’re ready to take the next exciting step: serving this delectable dish. It’s time to explore flavor-filled accompaniments, side dishes, and presentation techniques that can further enhance the enjoyment of your pressure-cooked oxtail.

Accompaniments and Side Dishes

Completing your dish with the right accompaniments and side dishes adds layers of flavor and texture, complementing the richness of the oxtail. Let’s discover some prominent options.

  1. Rice: Especially Jasmine or Basmati rice, that adds a fragrant, light balance to the meaty oxtail.
  2. Roasted vegetables: Root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, or potatoes, roasted in olive oil and herbs, and bring a touch of earthiness and warmth.
  3. Fresh salad: A green salad, teeming with crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes, and slivers of red onion, adds a refreshing contrast to the hearty oxtail.
  4. Bread: Crusty French baguette or Italian ciabatta, ideally, serve as excellent vessels for sopping up the oxtail’s savory juices.

Presentation Techniques

Elevating the visual appeal of your dish leads to a more memorable dining experience. Here are some presentation techniques to consider for your pressure-cooked oxtail:

  1. Plating: Place a serving of rice or vegetables at the base, then artistically arrange the oxtail on top.
  2. Garnishing: Sprinkle freshly chopped herbs like parsley or thyme to add color and depth. Orange slices also add a vibrant splash of color and subtle citrus hint.
  3. Sauce: If a sauce was produced during cooking, drizzle it enticingly over the oxtail. Remember, the visual impact lies in the ‘drizzle,’ not the ‘drench.’
  4. Servingware: Depending on the occasion, pick rustic earthenware for a homely vibe or a sleek white plate for an elegant touch.

Whether you’re serving up this pressure-cooked delicacy for a casual dinner or a special occasion, you’ll find these tips handy in creating visually appealing and tasty plates. Armed with the right sides and presentation tactics, you’re on your way to a culinary triumph.


So, you’ve learned the ins and outs of pressure cooking oxtail. From the initial prep work to the final presentation, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to make this hearty dish. Remember, it’s all about the details – the cleaning, cutting, marinating, and pressure levels all play a crucial role. And don’t forget the accompaniments. A well-rounded meal with rice and roasted veggies can take your oxtail dish from good to great. So go ahead, put your newfound knowledge to the test. Whether it’s for a laid-back dinner or a grand celebration, you’re ready to serve up a plate of pressure-cooked oxtail that’s both visually enticing and incredibly delicious. It’s time to wow your guests with your culinary skills. Happy cooking!

Oxtail cooked in a pressure cooker is a convenient way to achieve tender and flavorful results. suggests browning the oxtails in the cooker before adding broth and aromatics, then cooking under high pressure for 45 minutes to an hour. Little Sunny Kitchen recommends setting the pressure cooker for 45 minutes at high pressure and allowing it to naturally release for 15 minutes for optimal tenderness. Alternatively, GastroSenses advises sautéing onions and garlic before sealing the pot to infuse the meat with deep flavors while cooking for 40 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How is the fall-off-the-bone tenderness in oxtail achieved?

This can be achieved by pressure cooking the oxtail. This method loosens the complex proteins within the meat, ensuring its tenderness.

2. What importance does the preparation of oxtail hold?

Properly cleaning, cutting, and marinating the oxtail are key preparation steps. They enhance the flavors and ensure the meat is safe and ready for pressure cooking.

3. How can the right pressure cooker be chosen?

Choosing the right pressure cooker depends on factors such as size, type, cost, and user-friendliness. Having a reliable pressure cooker ensures the best cooking result and longevity.

4. What are some tips for perfect pressure-cooked oxtail?

Maintaining the right pressure level and using appropriate release methods are key to achieving perfectly cooked oxtail. Always follow the cooker’s instructions.

5. How should the pressure-cooked oxtail be served?

The oxtail can be served with a host of accompaniments, ranging from rice to roasted vegetables. Serving suggestions and presentation techniques can further enhance the dining experience.