Fall is in the air…

We’re past labor day, leaves are falling, it’s definitely Fall here: 90 degrees here and muggy. Brisk, comparatively, so I decided to make some braised meat in the slow cooker. It looks like a football and I hated it at first, but now I love it like a hipster loves irony. Which is to say I do it sardonically, but it does cook for me while I’m off doing stuff, so okay.

So, oxtails and short ribs

Oxtail for my version of Heston Blumenthal's S...

Oxtail for my version of Heston Blumenthal’s Spaghetti Bolognese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I made both, and I have to say that oxtails are far superior in every way. For one, they have whole bones in them and they stack on your plate like a Mongolian skull pyramid or one of Jeffrey Dahmer’s brunches. One blogger said that they’re fun! The kids will love playing with them! And they probably will because kids are not cute but actually creepy. However, where the short ribs were burdened by gristle (ok, and a superior amount of meat), the oxtail is mostly melt-in-your-mouth-gelatin. It’s like osso buco, but $3.99 a pound and creepy. Like all the best things in life.

Murder and rich soup bases, what else is there?

Because they are so high in collagen, they’re used to make stocks and in dishes where they are braised. They don’t respond well to cooking times under about two hours, but I’ve left them in a crock pot for almost 24 hours, and they were fine. As a soup base, they are boiled for several hours and mixed with a variety of ingredients, here it is in a mild Korean soup, my mother used it as the base for her vegetable soup, and it can also be use for the Vietnamese soup pho, (“feh”). Braised in the oven it can handle a lot of flavor, but it will need to be chilled overnight to remove the excess fat.

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