Oxtail & Barley Soup

If you’ve never had oxtails, then you really should try them some time.

Oxtails come from a steer’s tail, which is a well exercised muscle that is marbled with fat. The tail is broken up into segments, which are vertebrae so in-turn they are rich in marrow as well.

This soup is a delicious and easy way to use oxtails. They are usually inexpensive to buy, so this would make a great frugal supper.

  • 3 pounds oxtails, separated into joints, rinsed and patted dry
  • 8 cups beef broth (or chicken broth), preferably homemade
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley (not quick-cooking), rinsed well
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • Coconut oil
  • unrefined sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Very lightly oil a large Dutch oven with coconut oil. Heat over medium heat, brown oxtails on all sides. There should be some natural fat so a lot of additional oil is unnecessary. Remove oxtails and discard any remaining fat in pan.

Add broth and browned oxtails to pan. Bring to a boil, skimming off any frothy foam that comes to the surface.

Add barley, bay leaf, garlic, thyme, oregano, celery, onion, and canned tomatoes (with their juice). Bring back to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add carrots and bell pepper, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes more – or until carrots, barley and meat are tender.

Remove oxtails from soup. Take the meat off the bones (discarding bones). Cut or shred the meat and return to soup.

Remove bay leaf, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 8.

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Disclaimer: The information in this post is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.


  1. Nina Kirby says

    I found mine when I made it myself at the military commissary (grocery store). I WAS surprised at how expensive they were. If you didn’t mind going out of your way for them you might try an Asian market… or ask a local butcher where to find them.

  2. I purchase oxtails from my farmer. It’s also where I get my raw milk, pastured eggs and other meats.

  3. Its not so easy finding oxtails – alot of stores don’t carry them..

  4. Nina Kirby via Facebook says

    Oxtail soup is very popular in Korea, and yummy!

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