Why is Oxtail So Expensive

  • By: Jay
  • Date: June 5, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

If you’re someone who loves oxtail, you may be wondering Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive. Well, there is a good reason for that.

Oxtail stew has always been one of the pricier choices on a menu at any restaurant. It mainly comes down to three main factors: demand is high, preparation takes longer, and there is not a lot available at a given time.

The reason is that oxtail comes from a small portion of the cow. Thus, limited quantities naturally translate to a higher price tag when wanting to eat oxtail.

Oxtail Does not Come from An Ox

Did you know? The oxtail you eat may not even come from an ox at all. Oxens are a large horned animal that has been domesticated. They are used for farming and often times as transport as well. It used to be from the tail of an ox. However, it has slowly changed to coming from beef or veal over time.

The oxtail does not have a lot of meat on it at all. This is because it comes from the base of the spine. 

Anyway, an oxtail is usually about 1lbs to 1.5lbs. You can usually get them in smaller segments or a whole piece if you prefer to have more meat.

Why is Oxtail So Expensive video

Oxtail Is Famous Worldwide

Oxtail is extremely popular around the world. In fact, it is an international Jamaican delicacy.

In places such as Jamaica, Korea, China, and other countries in this region, oxtail has been eaten as a tradition for as long as the country can remember. 

Thus, when people started migrating to other countries, this tradition is brought with them to the new country as well.

oxtail info

Why Oxtail is So Special

In meat cuttings, the expensive sections are usually the ones called the primal cuts. These are the parts of meat that are butchered straight from the carcass.

Secondary cuts such as fillet tips and rib-eye steaks are equally as expensive.

Oxtail takes some skill to prepare. When it is in the preparation stage, the tasty flavours will start secreting from the meat when the collagen starts breaking down. Combined with the bone marrow flavours, the richness in the flavour is something that everyone should try and makes it so special.

Why is Oxtail so Expensive

Oxtail can cost between the price of $5 to even up to $10 per pound. This cost can really start adding up for those who love oxtail meat.

Also, oxtail is not usually available in bulk. It is considered a luxury and should be treated as such.

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As mentioned above, oxtail is not easily available. The reason for this is that an oxtail is less than 1% of the total cow meat. 

Think about it… It is literally just a tail! How much meat can one single tail consist of?

This is one of the main reasons why it is so expensive. Supply and demand.


Secondly, the demand for oxtail is so high. It is also getting popular by the day as more and more people are interested in trying it.

Other foods such as caviar and lobster had experienced a similar type of increased demand. When demand increases, the price will soon increase in an upward trend as well.

Preparation Time

Cooking the oxtail is not an easy process. It takes a skilled chef to be able to cook a delicious oxtail stew.

While anyone can make this dish, it is just not the same when an experienced cook makes this dish. It can take up to 5 hours which requires a tremendous amount of patience.

The reason it takes so long is that a lot of heat is needed to break down the collagen inside the oxtail.

Once it has broken down, it is mixed with the fat and marrow, giving you the tender and juicy meat that we all enjoy.

Also, you can’t just grill up the oxtail if you are looking for something quick. Therefore, preparation time and patience are everything when wanting to cook the oxtail.


Here are some frequently asked questions about oxtail if you are interested in learning more about it.

Where are the Best Places to Buy Oxtail?

Your best bet would be to go to a local Asian grocery store in your area. This will often give you the best and freshest oxtail meat to buy.

Sure, you can also import it from somewhere else. But they will come frozen. If you are looking for a fresh kind of oxtail, buy it from your local butchery store.

How Can You Get the Most Out of Oxtail?

Since oxtail contains so little meat, you really want to know how you get the best out of the meat.

Making oxtail stew or soup is a great way to use up everything. This is because the flavours will be leaked into the soup, allowing you to drink everything at the end.

The good thing about oxtail meals is that you won’t be wasting anything. Since there is so less meat, you will be able to finish everything!

Any Similar Meat Compared to Oxtail

Yes, meats that are similar to oxtail include beef neck and short rib.

Basically, any kind of meat that can make stew is a perfect replacement to oxtail.

Final Thoughts On Why has Oxtail Become So Expensive

As you now have learned, oxtail is something that is not easy to come by. If you ever get the chance to eat this dish, I recommend you jump on the chance to do so!

Oxtails are expensive to buy, take a long time to make, and everything likes them. However, I would encourage everyone to try it at least once in their life.

Trying out new food is always fun. Let me know what you think about oxtail in the comments below!

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