Oxtail Pho, Ken style.

oxtail pho 02

I had an urge for oxtail pho, so I looked up a couple recipes to find the seasons to use for the broth. Taking that and a few things I had tried before for beef pho, I played with it and tweaked it until I ended up with a rich, hearty broth full of spice and season.

From what I understand, there’s thin light pho which is more of a light broth and there’s heavy bold pho. The second one is the one I favor, and although technically a clear soup, it’s darker and the flavors are more in your face.

First, I started a broiling an onion, some pork bones and oxtails until they were partially cooked and I had brought out the flavor and oils. Then pork bones and oxtail went into a large pot of water, simmering there for a few hours. When the oxtail was cooked but not yet falling off the bones, I pulled them and immediately put them into an ice bath, then stored the in the refrigerator once cooled.

I then added seasonings and aromatics. Taking cues from here at SeriousEats and here from a blog on Yummly. I used the traditional herbs and spices: ginger, coriander, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks wrapped in a piece of cheesecloth. I added a couple small carrots for aromatics. (*post note, I will cut it to one the next time)

I cooked that for a few more hours with just the pork bones and seasoning in the water and then cooled it for the night.

The next afternoon, I started the pot again, removing the cheesecloth with the herbs. I then added one half of a large daikon, cut in 1″ pieces and also a couple pounds of chicken feet, for flavor. The feet ended up taking as much flavor from the pot as they gave so I have a whole bowl of pho flavored chicken feet too, which isn’t a bad thing 🙂

oxtail pho 03

After a couple more hours, I removed the chicken feet, the carrot aromatic, and added cut carrots. I also returned the oxtails to the soup to heat for the last half hour.

Meanwhile, I prepared the basil, chili pepper, and limes for the garnishing plate.

Usinig fresh pho noodles, I laid out the vegetables and piece of oxtail and then filled the bowl with broth.

Continue for the recipe.

Oxtail Pho
Recipe type: Vietnamese Pho
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
Rich and flavorful, this oxtail pho has a broth that draws it's flavor from oxtail, pork bones, and chicken feet slow simmered with herbs and spices it's a bold broth with lots of depth. No promise it's authentic, but it's my take on oxtail pho 🙂
  • 2 lbs oxtails
  • 1-2 lbs pork bones for soup
  • 2 lbs cihcken feet (toes/claws removed)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 daikon radish
  • 1 onion
  • 1 1" x 2" piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 1 additional carrot sliced into ¾" pieces
  • 1 additional daikon sliced into bite sized pieces
  • red boat Vietnamese fish sauce
  • pho noodles (fresh is better)
  • jalapeno or serrano chili pepper, sliced into rings
  • Thai basil, pulled off of the stem
  • lime wedges
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line a pan with foil and spray with pam. on it, place your pork bones, ox tail, and quartered onion.
  3. Bake it until you see the outside of the oxtail reach a nice color and oil begin to drip, The Onion should be just a shade past golden brown.
  4. Take the meat and onion and add to a large pot of water.
  5. Add a tablespoon of salt
  6. Bring to a boil
  7. Bind the herb ingredients in a piece of cheesecloth or in a cheesecloth cooking satchel
  8. Add the bag of herbs to the broth
  9. Simmer about 2 hours.
  10. Remove oxtail to an ice bath and cool.
  11. Once the oxtail are cool, remove them from the ice water and place them in the refrigerator.
  12. Add a carrot and daikon for aromatic.
  13. Cook the broth two more hours.
  14. Remove the carrot, the daikon and the herb satchel.
  15. Allow broth to cool.
  16. The next afternoon, start the broth about 2 hours before serving time.
  17. Add the chicken feet.
  18. minutes before serving, add cut carrots and daikon (if desired).
  19. At this time, also add the cold oxtails into the broth to heat up before serving.
  20. Remove the chicken feet when they are just short of falling apart (as pictured)
  21. Remove broth from fire.
  22. Plate fresh pho noodles filling ⅓ to ½ of the bowl. They will compact a little bit once they soak in the broth.
  23. Arrange the oxtail and vegetables on the bed of noodles.
  24. Flavor the broth with the fish sauce. You may add a touch of sugar if you need it sweeter, but I found the carrot was more than enough in this regard.
  25. Serve with plate of condiments
You'll note in the photo the chicken toe nails are not removed. My daughter helped me put them in and didn't know she needed to do that. It doesn't make a difference, except for aesthetics.

Let me know if it works for you, how you modified it or changed it and if you have any suggestions for me to try next time around. Overall I’m pretty happy with it.

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