Real Cuban Rabo Encendido (Oxtail Stew)

Total Time
2hrs 30mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs

I've seen a few recipes for this dish that are not in any way authentic to the Cuban version. Being that this is my absolute favorite dish and I'm a Cuban-American that's been eating this for as long as I can remember, I thought I'd share my version. Here's the recipe that I and most Cuban families here in Miami use. Of course, some people have their own special igredients, but I assure you that cocoa powder, celery, and chioptle chillies are not used in the traditional Cuban recipe. To me, what gives this dish its unique flavor is the dry cooking wine. I use Edmundo, which is found in just about any grocery store. Also, most people use perssure cookers and can have this done in less than 45 minutes. However, I use my trusty cast iron dutch oven and cook it for the full 2 hours. Niehter method makes a noticable difference in taste, it's just a matter of how much time you have. Hope you like it!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Marinate the meat in a mixture of olive oil, dry cooking wine, and salt at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain marinade and discard.
  2. Brown meat on both sides in olive oil. Don't deep fry, just use enough oil to lightly toast the meat.
  3. Remove the meat and add onion, peppers, carrots, and potatoes.
  4. Saute until the onions are somewhat translucent.
  5. Add garlic/salt mixture and continue cooking for about a minute.
  6. Add remaining ingridients, including meat.
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the meat is fork tender. About 2 hours.
  8. Remove bay leaves and serve hot over white rice.
Most Helpful

I too live in Miami and am Cuban American. You are so right about not including cocoa powder, celery, and chioptle chillies in the recipe if you want an authentic Cuban Rabo Encendido. I never have used allspice or nutmeg but I know some Cuban recipes do call for this. My mom never used it and I do love her Rabo Encendido.

martalaura_7718458 April 06, 2012

On this recipe, one main ingredient is missing! A kick of heat!! Rabo Encendido (oxtail) needs to be spicy. 1/2 tsp.crushed red pepper. The name it said it all.

Zheny O. May 09, 2015

I want to thank you so very much. My wife is Cuban but never learned to cook ox tail so I followed your recipe. It was as good as any restaurant in Miami I've had before. We are so full. Wow. Amazing.

Peter G. March 13, 2014