Soul Food Sunday Oxtails - The Story of a Friendship
Themes - Gracious and Good, Just Good Food, No Food left Behind
Food/Tech Tie In – Searing, Braising
Homage - Miss A
There isn’t a story about me and Oxtails that will evah’ be told, without telling the story of the friendship between myself and Ms A.
Long before Culinary School, in a life that seems sooo long ago (but wasn’t), working for the same Fashion Corp in Columbus Ohio, albeit at different Brands as there were so many then, we met at a gathering in a mutual friends home who was part of the same Fashionista crew. I cant remember if the first time was in the summer or winter but, we ran up on each other a few times at that same house and on occasion socially, when we were out and about “socialing”, (I know ”socialing” is not the word, the real word is socializing).🤣
Over the years we have had discussions on who followed who, but in the arc of our careers in the Garment Industry, we ended up in some of the same states and cities, not always at the same time but as it applies to Oxtails...it was definitely the same state, the same city, at the same corp and at the same time.
Now there is NOTHING that I knew less about than Oxtails or anything associated with it, until Ms A moved to Estero Florida. Like I said, we new each other, were in a circle of friends, but we had never done any major hanging out one on one. Well all that changed and let me tell you, if I knew how much fun, how dynamic, how life changing forming a deeper friendship with Ms A was going to be, I would have gotten this leveled up friendship show on the road sooner. Im trying to tell you, it was a braid each other’s hair, dodge a hurricane kinda’ friendship.
True story - We ran from our first hurricane together with Lee Lee in tow. Straight to Disneyworld, a first, and then to Ruth Chris’s, another first, where after a little time spent “In A Small World”, spinning in a "Teacup" only to find that the “Magic Kingdom” was “DRY”...a moment of silence here for all those who found out like we did😞...I was all over the best tasting lamb chops I have ever had and are still my go to when I go to a Ruth Chris's as well as a glass on Vin Rouge🍷. But this is not a blog about, libations or lamb chops, its about Beef, Oxtails to be specific.
Surviving out running the hurricane, no wine or champs in the Kingdom, we built homes, added on hurricane resistant windows, grilled, chilled and made merry like Christmas from that point on. Don’t worry Im going somewhere with this.
I think it was the first Thanksgiving or Christmas Ms A was in Estero (it would have been my second), dinner was at her house, which made sense as it was bigger and a large part of her family would be there including one of her brothers who loved and requested this very specific dish called Oxtails. Oxtails!?! Eeww! Gross! The thought of it was beyond what I could conceive putting into my mouth...until I did.
The unctuous goodness of it all. Big bold flavor, full of roundness as it glided over my tongue swathing my mouth in glorious savor...it was all she wrote (not literally). I was converted as was Lee Lee. Made with a bit of this and that, not measured just handled, it was a dish, a meal, a taste that was not to be believed.
Holidays withstanding, Ms A, Lee Lee and I began to gather on the regular. My house, hers, through revamped lanai floors, new pools, new grills, new dog (hers) etc... it probably was not every week, but in our minds when we tell the story...it was Soul Food Sunday Evah’-ry Sunday. Soul Food (still wasn’t my strong suit at the time) was a movie turned TV series that was in the orb. Regardless of each family members day, week etc...they all gathered every Sunday for dinner at Mama Jo’s. and everything was made better. That was us minus all the people...and Oxtails, while not on the menu every time, it was often enough that Lee Lee would ask if we were having “Coxtails” cause she couldn’t say Oxtails...or Guitar for that matter, if we were going to Ms A’s.
After watching her prepare them over the years, when she left Estero for...another state, another fashion corp. another rockin’ leadership position...I had to make my own. Clutch the Oxtails!!! Yah know I was blowing up the phone asking for the deets, not just to define the ingredients, but how much of each and what liquid, was it beef broth one time and veg broth another? I know what Adobo is but whats Sazon? Ugh..trial, and while not error, trial and trail again... until I got it right. And I did, and then...I leveled up.
The version of this dish I share from HereInMyKitchen, I call Soul Food Sunday Oxtails. It’s a full two day process starting with a dry rub marinade overnight, followed by searing prior to braising with a few extra flavor enhancers added in. On point with the flavors that I hold as the standard, I know I do Ms A proud. The next time we get to connect in person, it will be a celebration regardless of month or day, cause its “us”, and yah know..imma be making this dish. A little Fav Blend Rice and Peas, some Collard Greens and THE cornbread...Watch out Now!
PS...Libations will be served.