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Oxtail Pho

A rich flavorful broth made with spices and the rich fatty meat of the oxtail. 

Posted By: C. Chang
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Prep Time: 30 | Cook Time: 4+ hours | Ready In: 4+ hours
Ingredients: Print   Add to cart
US Metric
  • 4 lbs oxtails
  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 3-inch piece ginger, unpeeled
  • 1 large white onion, halved and unpeeled
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 8 whole star of anise pods
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 large cinnamon stick (about 3 inches long)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 lb rice noodles

Optional Garnishes:

  • green onions, chopped
  • fresh cilantro, roughly torn
  • fresh basil, roughly torn
  • limes, cut into wedges
  • bean sprouts
  • jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • banana peppers, sliced
  • Hoison Sauce
  • Sriracha sauce

Cooking Process:

Rinse oxtail and place in a large pot and cover with cold water and bring to a boil.

Put the ginger and onion halves on baking sheet.  Broil 3 inches from heat source, for 15 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. The onions and ginger should be charred so if you need to broil a bit longer, that's ok.  In a small skillet place the anise, cloves and cinnamon stick.  Toast them over medium heat on the stove until lightly darkened, about 3-4 minutes.

First, put the fennel in cheese cloth or spice bag and lightly crush with a mallet.  Add the toasted spices and bay leaves.  If they don't all fit in one spice bag, you can always use two.  Fold over the flap to close or use string to tie shut if using cheesecloth. Don't put in the water yet!

After the oxtail and water comes to a boil, strain reserving the oxtail.  Rinse the oxtail rubbing off any loose fat.  Also, rinse the pot. Place the oxtail back in the pot and fill with 2 gallons of water.  This extra step of using new water will help make a nice, clear broth.

Put the pot back on the stove and turn on the heat.  Once the ginger and onions are cooled, rinse the onions, removing any loose charred pieces.  Also, cut the ginger into 3 pieces.  Add onions and ginger to the broth. Also, add the sachets (spice bags), 1 Tbsp of salt and 1/3 cup of fish sauce. Bring the broth to a boil and then turn down the heat to a slow simmer.

Let the broth simmer for at least 4 hours.  Prep your garnish platter. 

Once the broth is ready, use a slotted spoon to remove and discard spice sachets, ginger and onions.  Using the spoon again, pull out all the oxtail bones and place in a large bowl. Let cool until you can pull the meat off the bone. Soak the rice noodles in hot water for a few minutes, strain and add hot water again.  I soaked it with about 3 rounds of hot water to get them to the softness I like.  Fill your serving bowls about halfway with noodles and meat.  Ladle the broth on top and serve immediately. Garnish to your liking.