Recipe courtesy of Rashad Jones

Smoked Oxtails with Fire-Roasted Garlic, Peppers and Onions Over Smoked Gouda Grits

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 8 hr 40 min (includes brining and smoking times)
  • Active: 1 hr 20 min
  • Yield: 2 servings 
Oxtails are a staple of African American, Caribbean and Southern US culinary cultures. They used to be considered a cheap or throw away cut of meat. But now, this cut of beef blows the minds of those who try it for the first time. This dish incorporates two things that I love dearly: a reimagined dish from my childhood and barbecue and live fire cooking techniques. Remember, this is barbecue, and it takes time. The more you slow down, the better the food comes out.



Special equipment:
a smoker or charcoal grill
  1. Slather the oxtails in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  2. Mix the coarse kosher salt, coarsely ground black pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion, five-spice, Big Lee’s Sweet Heat, curry powder and paprika in a small bowl.
  3. Generously apply the dry rub to all sides of the oxtails. Cover and allow to dry brine in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  4. Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions and heat to 200 degrees F. Add applewood or hickory wood as specified by the manufacturer. Alternatively, set up a charcoal grill for smoking following the manufacturer’s instructions and heat to 200 degrees F.
  5. Place the oxtails in a large aluminum baking pan in the smoker on the indirect side (farthest from the fire box or heat source) and smoke for 2 hours.
  6. Increase the smoker temperature to 300 degrees F and smoke until the oxtails are a beautiful, glistening, mahogany color and there is some rendered fat in the bottom of the pan, 2 hours more.
  7. Now, it’s time to break down the oxtails’ muscle fibers, while still retaining high levels of moisture. Remove the pan from the smoker, cover with aluminum foil and tightly seal the edges. Smoke until the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone, 2 hours more. If the meat doesn’t easily pull away from the bone, rewrap the pan and smoke for 1 hour more.
  8. Remove the oxtails from the smoker and allow them to rest for 20 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, place the Fresnos on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil to coat, sprinkle with salt and wrap in the foil. Repeat with the jalapeños, garlic and onion, using 3 separate sheets of foil. Place the wrapped Fresnos, jalapeños, garlic and onion in the smoker’s firebox. If using a charcoal grill, remove the grill grate and place the wrapped vegetables in the coals. Cook until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Check frequently, as they can burn quickly. 
  10. Transfer the vegetables to a work surface. Discard the foil. Pick up the garlic with long grilling tongs and hold over the smoker’s fire or grill’s coals until it develops a good char, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board. Repeat with the Fresnos, jalapeños and onion, 7 to 10 minutes each. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  11. Combine the milk, grits, butter, smoked sea salt and 1 1/2 cups water in medium saucepan. Place the saucepan on a burner over medium-low heat and bring to a very slow simmer, whisking occasionally. Cover and cook, whisking occasionally to prevent lumps and sticking to the bottom of the pot, until the grits thicken, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the grits from the heat and gently fold in the gouda until softened and slightly melted.
  12. Scoop the grits into 2 bowls. Pull the meat off of the oxtail bones with a fork and place on top of the grits.
  13. To deseed the Fresnos and jalapeños, cut them in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the back of a chef’s knife. Thinly slice the peppers crosswise. Thinly slice the roasted garlic. Peel the onion, cut it in half, then thinly slice it.
  14. Divide the Fresnos, jalapeños, Fresnos, garlic, onions and chives between the bowls. Top each dish with the zest of half of the lemon and a squirt of lemon juice.