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.