Number 40: Oxtail

5 Dec

Far, far away in a wonderful land called Forest Park, Illinois, there is a magical place called Starship Subs.  It’s perhaps the most hideous-looking place in the universe, it’s filled with tacky Star Trek memorabilia, and the sandwiches pretty much suck.  So why is Starship so magical, you ask?  The soups, man!  The soups!  This place has fall-down-dead-because-they’re-so-good soups.   I mean, like, Seinfeld Soup Nazi quality (and I don’t usually even LIKE soup!)  It kills me that I only discovered this about a year ago, right before I moved away from Forest Park.

So yesterday, I was back in town to visit the family and I stopped in to get some jambalaya (cue this 6-second “Seinfeld” clip).  Starship has an enormous freezer full of soups, and the flavors change all the time.  You pay 4 bucks for a 16-oz. container, bring it home, microwave it, and drift off into a state of soupgasm.  Here are some crappy pics I took with my phone of their epic soup freezer:


So that day, instead of finding jambalaya, I happened to find about a thousand containers of oxtail soup!  This was an awesome surprise, as I have been calling butcher shops like crazy trying to find oxtail and nobody had any.  I took the soup home, heated it up, and got ready to dig in.

Before I started to eat, however, I wanted to find out exactly what oxtail was.  I wonder about my intelligence level sometimes, because during all my time looking for oxtail and thinking about oxtail, I never for a moment considered that it was actually an ox’s tail (which it is).  I always thought that it was some kind of cut of beef near the tail or at the base of it, not the actual tail itself…how did I make it through college?

Anyways, as oxtail is so bony, it’s usually slow-cooked so the meat can fall off the bone. This was true in the case of my soup.  The meat was so tender that it was actually in strings, rather than chunks (which made it hard for me to get a handle on the exact taste).  Basically, it tasted like beef…probably because it is beef.

THE VERDICT
Oxtail, as far as I could tell, doesn’t really have any incredibly unique characteristics or a mind-blowingly amazing flavor.  It tasted like normal stew meat to me, which kind of made me wonder why it’s on this list at all.  I definitely enjoyed it, but beef is beef…and there’s not much else to say about that!

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5 Responses to “Number 40: Oxtail”

  1. IntenseGuy December 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Did you hear the *good* news? They recently legalized the butchering of horse meat…

    So you can have horse, ox, and maybe donkey and mule meat too…

    🙂

  2. Matthew Pennington December 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Try the red wine braised oxtail recipe from the Zuni Cookbook. Oxtail soup isn’t anything really special, but braised oxtails on their own have an incredible lipsmacking quality, from all the collagen and connective tissue. Gnawing on an oxtail, as David Chang said, is so unctuous.

  3. Miss Angie December 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Hmm, interesting…

  4. Laura in Cancun December 6, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    That soup looks so delicious right now…

  5. Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic December 29, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    I would imagine that Ox Tail might be cheaper than all the other bits of the ox [or cow] – if it tastes just like beef and it was more affordable might be worth me seeking out. I’ve been interested in trying this so I’m happy to know I won’t be SHOCKED by the flavor but pleased and OK with it 🙂

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