Why Is Oxtail So Expensive? 5 Reasons And Price Per Pound

Why Is Oxtail So Expensive? 5 Reasons And Price Per Pound

Why is oxtail so expensive and how much it cost per pound? Let’s find out!

If you are a food lover who enjoys unique meet flavors and dishes, you will surely enjoy eating oxtails! While the name does sound strange, oxtail meat is very delicious. Surprisingly, the oxtail is the tail of a steer, so it is beef. It was previously considered the undesirable cut of meat that would be often thrown away rather than cooked and eaten.

Recently it has gained a lot of popularity and is no longer a lump of throw-away meat. The jelly-like large bone of oxtail is perfect for brewing and stewing. The wholesome meal of oxtail stew goes directly to the heart. Oxtail meat has a fan base worldwide.

Oxtail can be found in Italian, Russian, Asian, African, Spanish, Jamaican, and British cuisines. It is mainly slow-cooked and served as a stew, soup, or braised meal. The flavorful beef stock and tender meat are the food for the soul. 

Nothing is more delicious and heavenly than the amazing stew of this meat. The only catch is the price as oxtail dishes, including the flavorful oxtail stew, come with a hefty price tag. The oxtail was previously well known as a poor man’s meat. However, they are no longer as cheap as they used to be. 

How much does oxtail cost?

Oxtail price

As the saying goes, “nothing good in this world comes for free”, which certainly holds true for oxtail.

Considering that oxtail is a small piece of meat to even begin with, the price it comes for is surprisingly very high. The wholesome oxtail stew is often priced like other exquisite meals in restaurants.

Despite being delicious and flavorsome in taste, you might want to consider the price of the meal, especially if you are planning an event. This brings us to the critical question. How much does oxtail actually cost? 

Oxtail price per pound

Oxtail price per pound

The oxtail meat can cost anywhere ranging from $5 to $10 per pound. The price range depends on where you live and the availability of oxtail.

As oxtails are not typically available in bulk, their cost can vary.

An important point to remember is the availability of oxtail. Oxtail meat is not available at all grocery stores. Also, the grocery stores that have oxtail meat will not have it available around the year. 

Does Costco sell oxtail?


You might be relieved to know that your favorite piece of meat is usually available at your favorite grocery store – Costco.

Although you should not rely entirely on Costco for the availability of oxtail.

The availability, as well as price per pound, are subject to change without notice. 

Why is oxtail so expensive? 5 Reasons

Why is oxtail so expensive

1) Availability

It may seem obvious, but there is not a lot of meat on the oxtail. Before being butchered, the tail is usually 1% of the cow’s meat, making it not more than 6 to 7 lbs. before being slaughtered. Due to one cow having one tail, the oxtail is a remarkably scarce cut of meat.

This is why restaurants charge a hefty price for oxtail meals. 

Oxtail is loved by people across the world. In many European and Asian countries, oxtail meat is commonly used for many dishes.

Oxtail stew is often described as a soul food delicacy by Jamaicans. With the limited availability of oxtail meat and the high demand for oxtail in the global restaurant industry, the price tends to be very high. 

2) Preparation 

Even though oxtails are not difficult to cook compared to other forms of beef, they require a specialized way of cooking.

It is mainly because oxtail requires at least two to five hours of cooking time to become tasty and tender, unlike other meat such as cattle. The longer the time it needs, the higher it costs to cook it. 

Also, not everyone has the technical skill and patience required to transform oxtail into a delicious meal.

The niche skill of a few chefs to slow cook oxtail blends from the marrow is also a reason for the premium charge of this meal in a restaurant.

3) Butchering expense 

Butchering oxtail is not as easy compared to other parts of the cow. The oxtail meat is from the tail and is quite challenging to carve, so it requires a complex skill to properly butcher the oxtail.

If the suppliers need to get most of the meat from oxtail, they cannot hire an amateur butcher. An expert butcher with specialized tools is required to carve out the meat.

All these factors add to the cost of the final product. To cover these additional expenses, the suppliers charge a premium for the oxtail.

4) Shipping costs

The cost to grow, collect, process, and then ship oxtail is also very expensive.

Some suppliers send the meat to Asian countries such as China for processing and ship it back. Others locally process it but still face a large sum of shipping costs.

Oxtail meat is also perishable in nature which also adds to the final price. The processed meat is loaded in refrigerator containers to be shipped across the country.

The farther it is shipped, the higher the shipping cost is going to be. Increasing fuel or energy has a direct impact on shipping costs and the overall price of oxtail meat.

5) High demand

The rich and unique flavor of oxtail meat is very distinctive, which is why people who have tasted it cannot seem to get enough of it.

Like oysters and snails, oxtail meat has gained social media popularity to be the meal of rich and famous.

It may be a poor man’s meat, but oxtail has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years among elite circles. Globally high demand with limited supply has also caused the price to shoot up. 

Does oxtail have a special flavor?

Tasting oxtail

The high demand for oxtail’s rich and flavorful meatiness may make you wonder what oxtail tastes like? Is it like any other piece of beef? As you are well aware now, oxtail was not the most loved cut of meat initially.

It was often given to the poor. In the United States, the slaves were given oxtail meat. They would cook it with herbs and spices to turn it into a soul food that many loved.

This was when people and restaurants discovered the unique taste of oxtail. It had an incredible tenderness and rich, intense flavor that was unique to only oxtail meat. The slow cooking of oxtail allows the gelatin content to create a unique texture and taste in the meat.

What does oxtail taste like?


You might be grossed out to look at oxtail as it is not pretty to look at. Besides its knobby appearance, the taste of oxtail is heavenly and soul-warming. It is considered to be a soul food delicacy for a reason.

To describe in simpler terms, oxtail tastes like beef, but when it is slowly cooked and seasoned with herbs and spices, it creates a rich and unique flavor.

It is silkier in texture and even more tender when compared to short ribs. 

Why is oxtail high in demand?

The oxtail gained high demand after it became a trending social media dish.

The increasing popularity of the oxtail increased its demand as everyone wanted to jump on the bandwagon.

Eating oxtail at high-end restaurants was a trend that was considered to represent the rich and famous people in society. This growing social trend increased the demand for oxtail, just like sushi, oysters, and snails.

The people who have tried oxtail are absolutely in love with the richly flavored and tender meat that keeps the demand growing. Hence, the trend on social media has made oxtail dishes a global hype. 

Final Words

The heartwarming oxtail stew has become a global trend in short span of time. Still, the rising prices have made it unbelievably expensive to have it often. If you want to get oxtail at the best price and decent quality, you must remember a few tips. 

You should try to buy it from the local butcher or Asian and European stores. Because oxtail is often served in these countries, the chances of availability at a reasonable price are high.

Local butchers often sell oxtail cheap since the mass processing costs are skipped. Oxtail stew is very popular during the winter season, which is why you can buy it in summer for a lower price. It is during summers that the demand is stable, so the price is not skyrocketing. 

Suppose you are craving oxtail meat but unavailable at the stores near you. In that case, you may want to consider alternatives that are similar in taste and texture.

The beef neck is often considered a popular substitute for oxtail.

It may not be that flavorful, but it has the same tenderness as compared to oxtail. Plus, it is cheaper.

Another popular substitute is veal. Veal is affordable as compared to oxtail, but it is an even smaller part of the meat. The lower price of veal is a benefit as you can buy extra pounds. 

So, do you already know why is oxtail so expensive per pound? Please, feel free to leave your comment below!

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