Oxtail Adobo

Beef Oxtail Filipino Adobo Rice

Any mention of oxtails in Filipino food probably involves kare-kare, a rich peanut-based vegetable stew. Beef shanks, tripe, pork hocks, and other tough parts tenderized through long simmering may also be added, but it has to have the oxtails. Leaving the bony segments out is unacceptable. Hindi maaari (no frickin’ way).

I didn’t have the other dozen ingredients for kare-kare so I made adobo for dinner instead. Adobo is an indigenous Filipino method of simmering in vinegar, akin to pickling. Food spoils rather quickly in oppressive tropical heat so this is our way of dealing with that little dilemma. We take the vinegared stuff seriously regardless of the weather forecast, though.

The sourness also supposedly stimulates your appetite during hot and humid weather, not that I’ve had any such craving-related problems lately.

The following recipe makes a light broth meant to be served like a soup, in contrast to versions enriched with coconut milk. Before serving, grill or broil the oxtails to crisp up the fatty bits. Silky and tender is great, but that additional hint of smoke can only make it better.

Oxtail Adobo Recipe
Adobong Buntot ng Baka

makes 4 servings

Filipino Cane Vinegar for Adobo
Meet datu, my spear-wielding ancestor. He likes loincloths and long walks on the beach.


2 to 3 pounds oxtail, segmented
1/2 cup vinegar, preferably cane or cider vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
2 to 3 bay leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Beef Oxtails


  1. In a large pot, place the oxtails, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic cloves, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Pour in enough water to cover the oxtails.
  2. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for about 2 hours, replenishing the water as necessary to keep the oxtails fully immersed.
  3. Tilt the pot and skim the rendered fat, if desired.
  4. Prepare a grill or preheat a broiler. Remove the oxtails from the broth. Grill or broil the oxtails until well-browned and slightly crisped. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with warm rice and a small bowl of the adobo broth.

Beef Oxtail Filipino Adobo Recipe
Oxtail adobo, pre-incineration. You go eww, I go ooh.

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45 Responses to “Oxtail Adobo”

  1. Rosa says:

    A wonderful dish! It looks really delicious!



  2. joelen says:

    How I love oxtail, especially when it’s cooked until they fall off the bone! I can only imagine how this tastes the day after it’s made (my preferred time to eat adobo so the flavors meld!) Looks delicious!

  3. Manggy says:

    Apparently, our ancestors also had giant ****s, because that is a HUGE label they put in front of his torso :P

  4. utotmopink says:

    ei, this is my first time to read about adobong “baka”.. galing huh!

  5. DebinHawaii says:

    Looks incredible. I keep thinking I need to make somethng with oxtails.

  6. peachkins says:

    Ansarap naman nito…

  7. Jacqueline says:

    You’re back! :D
    I like how Datu is strategically covered with a “Naturally Fermented” logo. One of my colleagues a few years ago made an adobo dish and it was delicious; this one does not look like an exception!

  8. Marta says:

    Oh it looks yummy! I love oxtail so much, there’s so much flavour in there! I think the method you used here probably brings the best out of it!
    Welcome Back!

  9. grace says:

    this post is full of new information for me. i’ve never eaten oxtail–honestly, i didn’t really know what it was–and i’m unfamiliar with kare-kare. thanks for educating me. :)

  10. Gera @ SweetsFoods says:

    Same names different meanings here adobo is called a mix of several herbs without vinegar, is a dry mixture.
    I’d love to taste with a smoky touch of this gorgeous recipe :)

    Happy you are back and have a great weekend!



  11. Caitlin says:

    Actually, I went hmm, wonder were I could find oxtails… I love the flavor of adobo-based dishes, so this sounds wonderful!

  12. Susan from Food Blogga says:

    Funny, I always associate adobo with Mexican cooking. Thanks for an insightful post, Jude. I learned a lot!

  13. lisaiscooking says:

    Interesting. The vinegared broth must be delicious.

  14. katiek @kitchensidecar says:

    asians love connective tissue….

    I made mexican birria out of oxtail. SOOO GOOD.

  15. ninetteenrique says:

    Sarap sarap. I never thought to adobo oxtails.

  16. The Duo Dishes says:

    Totally new way to do adobo. We like the creativity for sure!

  17. Caroline says:

    I can never say eww to oxtail, that looks good!

  18. Madam Chow says:

    Good to see you back in the kitchen and blogging about it! My husband loves oxtail anything, and I have some in the freezer, so you’re inspiring me!

  19. Cynthia says:

    So many similarities with our cuisines, it is the same in the Caribbean with ingredients like shanks, hocks, tripe etc being cook and being cooked long and slow and of course like you said – bone in! :)

  20. Sean says:

    Oxtail is sooo good. There’s a Korean soup that uses oxtails and it comes out amazing as well. It’s a shame that oxtails are so hard to come by where I live

  21. Jacque says:

    Mmmm, that sure looks flavorful. I think I could get over the “eww” factor because it sounds delicious!

    Thanks for sharing. I enjoy reading about different foods (different to me, lol).

  22. Natashya says:

    That does look good, I’d try it! (When should I be there?) ;-)

  23. maybelles mom says:

    Oh come on, secretly you are Datu, right? i love oxtails and these sound great.

  24. Carolyn Jung says:

    Oxtails are one of my favorite dishes, too. I have friends who are squeamish about it. But I always tell them if they like short ribs, they will LOVE oxtails. Same tender falling off the bone texture, and an even beefier taste.

  25. Kai says:

    Oh, that’s one bit of historical information, but yeah the craving is so much stronger in the hot days of summer. I’ll die, though, if I can’t have my adobo year-round. ;-)

  26. lori says:

    Wow, I love oxtails and cook with them when I can. I must admit that I never considered using them in adobo though.

  27. CookiePie says:

    Wow – that looks like an amazing dish!!

  28. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    You were gone a loooong time but what a come back!
    Really looks good. I’ve used ox tails a fair amount but not like this.
    I’ll have to look for your friend datu ;)

  29. joey says:

    Oooh! I go ooh for ox tail too! In adobo…how brilliant! I will be doing this soon! (we’ve used them in sinagang too…yum!)

  30. Zita says:

    And I go gimme some :) … I love asian oxtail soup, but I’d love to try this recipe:)

  31. sara says:

    so, maybe i am revealing some stupidity here, but is oxtail actually that tail of an ox? Or is it like saying pork butt?

    It kind of reminds me of a veal shank, so I can’t see how this couldn’t be absolutely delicious.

  32. Lori Lynn says:

    No. no. I really like it. I’ve only used oxtail in my Pho broth. Need to branch out!

  33. Tangled Noodle says:

    Oxtail and kare-kare are almost inseparable in my mind but adobo is a natural fit! Is that rice under the oxtail in your first photo?

    As always, your photographs are beautiful – the last photo looks like (meat) blossoms! 8-)

  34. Pigpigscorner says:

    I’ve only had oxtail soup =P the kare-kare sounds wonderful and your dish looks amazing!

  35. Tim says:

    I love oxtail, and this looks fantastic. Yum!

  36. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    Beautiful oxtails. I’ve never tried adobo-ing beef before, but oxtails are my favourite part of the cow. How does the Sukang Iloco compare with regular suka?

  37. Maybelle’s Mom, other than the loincloth affinity, sure.

    Joey, oxtail sounds pretty good with sinigang, too.

    Sara, oxtail actually is the tail of an ox, or a cow to be more precise. It does remind me of a veal shank when braised for a long time.

    Tangled, it’s black rice, which I normally use for desserts. I ran out of brown and white for some reason.

    JS, Sukang Iloco seems a lot like wine vinegar to me. It’s sharper than other cane vinegars but mellows out nicely when cooked.

  38. Tiffany says:

    Mmmmmm… various animal parts in adobo. I never thought to put oxtail in my adobo. Have to try now.

  39. MHOГOTOЧИE says:

    Нехорошее употребление материальных благ очень часто является вернейшим путем к величайшим невзгодам.

  40. katkat says:

    That looks fantastic

  41. Shaider says:

    haha, ngsearch ako kun pano lutuin ang oxtail, buti meron nito, thanks, try ko now yun direction dito, tamang tama madali lng mga ingredients, kumpleto ako, hehe.. thanks!!! :)

  42. bestbuy says:

    Actually, I went hmm, wonder were I could find oxtails… I love the flavor of adobo-based dishes, so this sounds wonderful!

  43. Oxtail Soup Recipe says:

    [...] Oxtail Adobo Recipe [...]

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    F*ckin’ remarkable things here. I’m very glad to see your article. Thanks a lot and i am looking forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

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