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Smoked Oxtail

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This smoked oxtail recipe combines the best of Southern barbecue and soul food, delivering tender, smoky, flavorful meat. Whether it’s a summer cookout or a cozy winter night, this dish promises a taste of comfort!

If you’ve been here before, you probably know that our Southern oxtails recipe is a reader favorite. Well, we decided to take it to the next level with this smoked oxtail recipe. The result is nothing short of amazing!

Smoked oxtail is super easy. Simply season the oxtails with soul food seasoning and then smoke with some hickory, pecan, or oak wood. After smoking, transfer the oxtails to a pot and simmer them on the stove with beef broth until they fall off the bone tender.

It’s the kind of dish you can make any time of year, bringing that Southern barbecue soul food vibe to your table. So, fire up the smoker, and let’s get cooking!

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • TENDER – Smoking followed by simmering results in oxtails that are unbelievably tender, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
  • FLAVOR – The smoking process infuses these oxtails with a rich, smoky flavor that adds depth and complexity to the meat.
  • SOUTHERN COMFORT – The marriage of Southern barbecue with the soulful essence of oxtails brings a comforting, down-home feel to the dinner table.

Smoked Oxtail Ingredients

Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Wood Choices: Experiment with different smoking woods. Hickory, pecan, and oak can each impart unique flavors to your smoked oxtail recipe.
  • Seasoning Variations: Feel free to explore different seasoning blends. If you don’t want to make our soul food seasoning, try a barbecue rub, Cajun seasoning, or a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika.
  • Cooking Methods: If you don’t have a smoker or grill, you can achieve a similar result in the oven. You can also try our Southern oxtail recipe smothered in gravy.

Smoked Oxtail Directions

  1. Fire up the Smoker or Grill: Preheat your smoker to 275°F, or if you’re using a grill, set it up for indirect cooking.
  2. Add Some Wood: Once your smoker is heated up, throw in your favorite smoking wood.
  3. Season: Sprinkle with soul food seasoning all over those oxtails, making sure they’re well-coated.
  4. Smoke: Lay seasoned oxtails on the smoker and let them smoke for an hour. After that, give ’em a flip and smoke for another hour, or until it reaches the desired bark.
  5. Simmer: Bring the beef broth to a boil while your oxtails finish smoking. Once the broth is bubbling, gently place the smoked oxtail into the pot. Lower the heat to a simmer and let them cook until they’re fall off the bone tender.

How to Make Smoked Oxtail Tender

To make oxtails tender, simmer them in beef broth after smoking. This helps to further tenderize the oxtails.

Smoking adds incredible flavor and creates that appealing bark, but it is usually not sufficient to fully tenderize the meat. The low and slow simmering process allows the collagen in the oxtails to break down, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

You get the smoky goodness from the grill and the succulent tenderness achieved through a slow simmer in flavorful broth!

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Don’t Rush the Smoke: Patience is key when smoking. Give your oxtails enough time to absorb that smoky goodness. It’s a slow process, but the flavor payoff is worth it.
  • Experiment with Wood Choices: Different woods impart distinct flavors. We like hickory, pecan, and oak. Experiment to find the wood that complements your taste preferences.
  • Maintain Consistent Temperature: Keep a close eye on your smoker or grill temperature. Aim for a steady 275°F for that perfect balance of smoke and tenderness.

What to Serve with Smoked Oxtail

  • Collard Greens: Slow-simmered greens with smoked ham hocks, onions, seasonings, and a dash of red pepper flakes. It’s a quintessential Southern comfort food dish that will transport you to a cozy Sunday dinner at grandma’s house.
  • Smothered Cabbage: Braised cabbage with onions and bacon offers a light and crunchy element that complements the richness of the other dishes.
  • Fried Cabbage: A comfort food side dish elevated by the combination of crispy bacon, smoked sausage, and a medley of seasonings.
  • Mac and Cheese: Our recipe features cheddar, Monterey jack, and mozzarella, and is made without a roux. It’s decadent and comforting, and an absolute must-try for anyone looking to savor a taste of the South.
  • Black Eyed Peas: Our Hoppin’ John recipe is made with smoked neck bones, onion, bell pepper, and celery. With just a handful of ingredients – black eyed peas, the holy trinity, a few spices, and a hint of smoky meat, this simple and humble dish is heartwarming and full of flavor.


How long should I simmer the oxtails in the broth?

Simmer until the oxtails are tender, usually around 1-2 hours. The low and slow simmering process allows the collagen in the oxtails to break down, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Where can I find oxtails?

Oxtails can be found at your local grocery store, a local butcher, or a specialty meat market.

How do I know when the oxtails are done smoking?

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature (aim for around 200°F). It takes about 2 hours, or when your desired level of bark is achieved.


Smoked oxtail is a simple yet delicious recipe that guarantees tender, flavor-infused meat. This Southern-inspired dish effortlessly merges the best of barbecue and soul food, making it a year-round favorite for every occasion.

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Smoked Oxtail

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main course, dinner
  • Method: smoking
  • Cuisine: southern, soul food


This smoked oxtail recipe combines the best of Southern barbecue and soul food, delivering tender, smoky, flavorful meat. 


  • 4 to 5 pounds oxtails
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Soul Food Seasoning (or your favorite BBQ rub)
  • 4 cups beef broth


  1. Preheat your smoker to 275°F or set up your grill for indirect cooking.
  2. Once the smoker is ready, add your preferred smoking wood for flavor.
  3. Generously sprinkle soul food seasoning over the oxtails, ensuring an even coating.
  4. Place the seasoned oxtails on the smoker for 1 hour. Flip them and continue smoking for an additional hour or until the desired bark is achieved.
  5. While the oxtails are smoking, bring the beef broth to a boil in a pot.
  6. Once the broth is boiling, gently transfer the smoked oxtails into the pot. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the oxtails are tender enough to fall off the bone.
  7. Plate the oxtails and, if desired, ladle some of the flavorful broth over them.

Keywords: smoked oxtails, oxtail recipe, oxtails


  1. I love oxtail in all forms, but this smoked version was out of this world. The cooking method was perfect for an expensive cut as I like to get the most flavor out of it.

  2. I love slow cooked meat, and wow…these smoked oxtails were super flavorful and so tender! I served mine with a side of collard greens and they were perfect for Sunday dinner.

  3. I made you smoked oxtail recipe using cajun seasoning instead and it came out perfect. Everybody loved the smoky flavor and the meat got super tender! I’m going to try the recipe again with your Soul Food seasoning, too!

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