Jamaican Stewed Smoked Turkey Neck AKA “Ghetto Oxtail.”

Stewed Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail

If, like me, you are a lover of oxtails but find them to be super costly, here is a cheaper alternative dish that is identical in flavor and texture that you can easily feed the entire family for a fraction of the cost. Jamaican Stewed Smoked Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail is a popular protein source in Jamaican cuisine.

 Cost Of Ghetto Oxtail?

The term “Ghetto Oxtail” refers to a less expensive form of Jamaican stewed oxtails. It is usually a popular menu item in many households in the “ghetto” or low-income communities. But the flavor I believe transcends across all socioeconomic backgrounds. Juicy turkey necks smothered in a rich dark gravy, you will become a lover.

In 2023, the cost of oxtails varies across grocery stores. Over the last 3 years, they have skyrocketed to at least $10 to $15 per pound versus turkey neck which is only $2.39 to $3.99 per pound.

Where Do Turkey Neck and Oxtails Come From?

Oxtails in the past were harvested from the tail of the Ox, but today they come from the tail of the cow. I have also come across veal oxtail in my local supermarket recently. The tails are skinned and cut into beautiful meat-bone segments. 

Turkey neck on the other hand, obviously comes from the neck of the turkey bird. 

While oxtails and turkey necks have similar bone-to-meat ratio and are cooked in the same Jamaican method, their flavors are distinct.

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Jamaican Style Stewed Smoked Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail Recipe.

Here are all the Stewed Turkey Neck ingredients you will need.

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Stewed Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail

Jamaican Stewed Smoked Turkey Neck AKA "Ghetto Oxtail."

Kevin Foodie
This dish is rooted in the heart of Jamaican cuisine. The smokiness of the turkey neck married with the vibrant warmth of the Jamaican spices while basking in the delicious rich gravy captures the essence of Jamaican tradition and comfort.
Let us take your tastebuds on a soul-satisfying culinary adventure. Enjoy!
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Caribbean, Jamaican
Servings 4 People


  • Deep Pot or Cast Iron Pan
  • Cutting Board
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Liquid Measuring Cup


Season Turkey Neck

  • 1 lb. Smoked Turkey Neck
  • 2 lbs. Fresh Turkey Neck
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Mild Jerk Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Pimento Seeds
  • 2 tbsp. Complete Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Roasted Garlic Powder
  • 3 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsps. Smoked Paprika
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil

Stew Ingredients

  • cups Frozen Tri-color Sweet Peppers, thawed
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • ¼ cup Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. Browning Sauce (optional)
  • ½ cup BBQ Sauce
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 3 quarts Hot Water
  • 1 small Scotch Bonnet Pepper, roughly cut (optional)


Let's Season The Turkey Neck

  • I used both fresh and smoked turkey necks in the recipe. In Jamaica, fresh turkey necks are traditionally used, but we like the flavor of smoked turkey necks. However, this recipe calls for a total of approximately 3 pounds of turkey neck.
    Fresh Turkey Neck
  • Do not wash or season the smoked turkey necks.
    In a mixing bowl, soak the fresh turkey necks in cool vinegar or lemon water (6 cups water to 2 tablespoons vinegar or lime/lemon) for 15 minutes.
    Although this is optional, the acid helps to cut some of the "rawness."
    Jamaican Stewed Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail
  • Turkey necks are sometimes sold with a little extra fat. If you buy any of them, you may want to trim the excess fat to leave lean meat.
  • Drain the acid water from the turkey necks and season them with jerk seasoning, smoked paprika, roasted garlic powder, complete seasoning, salt, and black pepper.
    I used my Homemade Jamaican Jerk Marinade. The recipe can be found HERE. However, you can purchase the Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning from Amazon Prime.
    In Jamaican food culture, we heavily season our meats. But you may season your turkey necks however you desire.
    Stewed Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail
  • Mix well together and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
    Jamaican Stewed Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail
  • Heat the oil and pimento seeds in a large aluminum pan or cast iron pot for about 2 minutes.
    Add each piece of seasoned turkey neck, including the smoked ones, to the heated oil with care. Brown them for about 2 minutes on each side.
    Stewed Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail
  • Pour the hot water onto the browned turkey necks and allow them to simmer and cook until tender for another 1 hour over high heat and covered pot
    You will know the necks are tender when the meat is easily removed from the bone with a fork.
    Stewed Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail
  • Add the diced onions, thawed sweet pepper, cut scotch bonnet peppers, dried thyme, and browning sauce. The browning is optional. However, I included it for a richer and darker gravy. Let them stew for another 5 minutes on low heat.
    Stewed Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail
  • Combine the ketchup and BBQ sauce with the tender turkey necks. Mix with a wooden spoon and allow them to simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes.
    For added protein, you may mix in 1 can of Butter Beans.
    Stewed Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail
  • The gravy should be thick, rich, and with a smokey flavor. Serve over your favorite starchy side order (rice, dumplings, starchy root vegetables) for a finger-licking meal.
    I served this delicious smoked turkey neck over creamy mashed potatoes.
    I hope you will enjoy your Jamaican Ghetto Oxtail as we did. Bon appetit!
    Stewed Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail



Please Note:
Scotch bonnet peppers as well as some jerk marinate can be very hot. So if you are not accustomed to spicy hot foods, you may want to limit how much of these you use or remove it from your list of ingredients.
Keyword Ghetto Oxtail, Jamaican Stewed Smoked Turkey Neck, Stewed Turkey Neck

Stewed Smoked Ghetto Oxtail

Jamaican Stewed Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail

Smoked Turkey Neck, Jamaican Style

Stewed Turkey Neck AKA Ghetto Oxtail

You are also going to love these two Jamaican dishes. Click on each link for the recipe and to learn more about the ingredients. 

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We would love to know what you think. Would you eat turkey neck or have you tried it?

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30 thoughts on “Jamaican Stewed Smoked Turkey Neck AKA “Ghetto Oxtail.””

  1. 5 stars
    Looks like a great and tasty recipe. I haven’t eaten any turkey recipe for a long time. I like that you shared all the steps in such great detail, and also your YouTube video. Thanks for sharing!

  2. wow, this looks like it would have so much flavor just the combination of spices alone is awesome! And you had me at the word “Jamaican” . Sounds like a great recipe thank you for sharing this !

  3. This looks like it has so much flavour and the turkey neck looks so succulent (and I’m not a meat-eater so that’s saying how good this looks)! It’s interesting that there are so many different cuts to choose from and they each have their own distinct uses! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wow! Jamaican Stewed Smoked Turkey Neck, often affectionately referred to as “Ghetto Oxtail,” is a flavorful and budget-friendly twist on a classic dish. It’s a delicious taste of Jamaica’s culinary creativity and resourcefulness.🍽️🔥

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