Simple Beef Tongue
Eating beef tongue sounds gross, but once you get over the squeamishness, you’ll discover a cheap, tasty cut of meat that is ridiculously easy to prepare. I’ll let you know the secret to the best way of eating tongue too!
Cold sliced beef tongue with sandwich stuff.
Things were quiet here last week as I was gone on holiday. I thought I would be able to get a post up, but decided to relax and enjoy my family instead. We went to beautiful Gaming, Austria (I’ve written about it before) with some friends. Random photos will be forthcoming on my facebook page and instagram (user name: almostbananas).
Driving home, we watched an awe inspiring lightning storm. The whole sky lit up, bolts of pure energy piercing the night sky, and as we got closer to home we could see the silhouette of the hills with each flash.
As long as I am safely at home, I love thunder storms. It never ceases to amaze me that such a display of power can result from electrons jumping around (basically). I love the flashes of light, the thunder, the pounding rain. Here in Slovakia, it’s a welcome cooling to a hot, humid day.
In Canada, there was always the fear of forest fires starting. The Rocky Mountains can get so dry, a lightening flash (or cigarette butt, or any number of other things) can start a fire that can burn down hectares of forest and potentially towns, if it’s out of control close to an inhabited area. Smoke from fires can travel hundreds of kilometers, obliterating even the view of the mountains.
Even though there is a large wild park behind the hills from us in Slovakia, I’ve never heard of lightening starting a fire. Is it that the trees are mostly deciduous? Does the crazy humid air prevent things from drying out so much, even when it doesn’t rain for long periods of time? Maybe I should ask my forest fire fighting brother. (How about it, Chikara?)
We like to go onto the balcony to watch and listen to the storms, savouring the cool air and getting misted from the rain. The only boy is the only one who is afraid of thunder. He comes running, arms outstretched, and buries his head in my shoulder. “Scaywd.”
You’re probably saying to yourself…ewww, eating tongue? Even though we class tongue as offal, it’s not actually an organ, it’s just a weird looking chunk of muscle meat, like all the other muscle meat you eat all the time. The skin peels off after cooking, so you’re not eating anything that actually touched the contents of a cow’s mouth.
Even though it’s a muscle, it does have a unique taste and texture BUT it’s not an organ taste or rubbery texture, like liver or heart. The texture is soft and the taste is subtle.
Here’s the secret though – beef tongue is best eaten cold. I’ve seen recipes for fajitas and other warm dishes, but in my personal opinion, the texture of tongue is most ‘normal’ when cold.
Even though 70% of the calories are from fat, it’s not like a gross feeling cold fat, like cold soup. Self Nutrition Data claims that the high saturated fat is a bad thing, I’m going to go ahead and say it’s a good thing.
Beef tongue is also very high in vitamin B12, which aids in slowing down dementia, getting a good night’s sleep, and increasing sperm count, among other things.
As a child, tongue was served in the summer, sliced cold and sprinkled with soy sauce. All my kids loved it this way. It’s like an easy real food salami.
I didn’t get the chance to try out all my ideas, but I thought it would be great sliced in salads, wraps/sandwiches, sushi, and spring rolls. For sandwiches, try pairing it with mustard or horseradish.
If you just can’t get past the idea of eating tongue, stay tuned for a recipe in which you can’t see any evidence of tongue-ness once it’s prepared.
- 1 beef tongue
- salt or soy sauce or coconut aminos (for AIP or GAPS who can't have soy sauce)
- Wash beef tongue. Some instructions say to soak in cold water, but I've never actually done this. Feel free to try, although there isn't any weird taste to draw out or anything.
- Put in pot, you'll have to curl it, and cover with water.
- Bring to boil, then turn down to barely a simmer. Cook for two hours per kilo (one hour per pound) with the lid on. You can also cook it in the slow cooker, but mine is currently broken, so I can't tell you for how long.
- When the tongue has finished cooking, drain the water and let it rest until it's cool enough to handle.
- With the help of a knife, peel the rough outer skin off the tongue. Some will come off easily, other parts will have to be cut with the knife.
- If there are any tendons left on the underside of the tongue, cut those off (mine was without).
- Chill in the fridge until cold (I forgot to time this...a couple of hours?)
- Slice crossways and sprinkle with (unrefined) salt or soy sauce (no soy sauce for AIP, paleo, GAPS, etc)
- Serve on bread (or bread substitute), cut fry-shaped for sushi or spring rolls, diced into salads, etc.
Mom, we can’t wait anymore for this delicious tongue!
Have you eaten tongue before? How did you prepare it? If you haven’t, would you be willing to try it?
Shared at Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Homestead Barn Hop, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, AIP Paleo Recipe Roundup
Aug 04, 2014 @ 21:55:16
I’m not scared! 🙂 I’ve made beef tongue soup before and it was delicious!
Aug 04, 2014 @ 22:26:51
Yay! What else did you put in the soup?
Aug 05, 2014 @ 14:53:40
I ate beef tongue as a child growing up. My tastes have changed considerably as an adult, but I remember that I loved it as a child. We would eat it with mustard ketchup and horseradish Haven’t ever seen post about it!
Aug 05, 2014 @ 15:14:49
Well I’ll certainly stand out for doing a post on eating tongue, if nothing else. 🙂 It’s can be hard to get a tongue if you don’t know a farmer, but it would be interesting if your adult tastes buds would still like it.
Aug 06, 2014 @ 10:55:51
I’ve never cooked beef tongue, but I love it so I definitely need to try this out! I had no idea how simple it could be either.
Aug 06, 2014 @ 19:38:29
If you didn’t cook it, where did you have it? I’ve never seen it in a restaurant. Try it out, it couldn’t be easier!
Aug 09, 2014 @ 08:18:35
It was actually in Japan! It was a regional dish and EVERY restaurant had it – so good! Just wish Japanese restaurants would cotton on over here 😉
Aug 09, 2014 @ 23:11:38
Last time I was in Japan I didn’t appreciate the finer points of unusual cuts of meat (I was 13). Would love to go back someday!
Ellen @ From Scratch
Aug 07, 2014 @ 03:37:38
I will have to try this! One of the running gags in our family is that, every time we order our half steer, my husband grabs the tongue from the farmer, but I have no idea how to cook it. Problem solved! 🙂
Aug 07, 2014 @ 09:46:28
Yay! I have another great recipe coming with beef tongue, perfect for summer as well. Glad to solve your problem! 🙂
Aug 15, 2014 @ 09:00:47
Cook your tongue and pop it on with your next barbeque (just a few minutes to brown it slightly)! It is delicious and improves on the color!
Aug 15, 2014 @ 09:15:08
Mmm, sounds delicious! I wonder how it would be with a bbq sauce on it, nicely caramelized.
Aug 18, 2014 @ 13:48:23
Hi Naomi! After barbeque-ing, spread some real German mustard on it! Oh my, you will go to heaven……
Aug 19, 2014 @ 09:33:30
Yum! Thanks for the ideas!
Eileen @ Phoenix Helix
Aug 21, 2014 @ 03:15:32
Hi Naomi. I highlighted this recipe as one of the favorites at this week’s Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable. Thanks so much for linking up.
Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #39 | Phoenix Helix
Aug 28, 2014 @ 02:29:23
[…] Simple Beef Tongue from Almost Bananas *Naomi takes the intimidation out of this inexpensive (and unusual) cut of meat. […]
Jan 06, 2015 @ 17:56:28
My mom always made tongue. She cooked it similar to you, then sliced it slightly thicker (about ½-¾ inch thick). Now make a cream/white sauce, and then put the tongue in it – delicious! She would serve it with potatoes and a nice hearty veggie.
Jan 08, 2015 @ 00:55:17
Yum, sounds delicious!
Oct 20, 2015 @ 15:33:57
I love beef tongue! It is no longer inexpensive, costing $3.99 to $4.99 a pound at Walmart. I have corned it like corned beef; I have stuffed it with garlic, salt and pepper, and white vinegar and then baked like a beef roast; I have boiled it highly seasoned and used in burritos. Great meat!
Oct 20, 2015 @ 18:34:01
What great ideas, especially making it like corned beef. I’ve made it seasoned in burritos too but never tried baked. So many ways to enjoy it, going to try ‘corning’ or baking for the next one. Thanks!
Jan 01, 2016 @ 21:54:20
We also make beef tongue soup, its similar in richness to bone broth. What do you do with cooking water from your beef tongue?
Jan 02, 2016 @ 22:18:56
Do you have a recipe for the beef tongue soup? I haven’t used the cooking water from boiling the beef tongue because I boil it still with the skin on, and also it is usually smells rather strongly. Do you use it?
Jan 02, 2016 @ 00:50:23
Can you freeze it after cooking? It’s just me and one tongue is a lot.
Jan 02, 2016 @ 22:20:22
I’m pretty sure you can freeze it after cooking, although I don’t think I’ve actually tried it. It might slightly change the texture, so it might be better for the spread or mixed with other ingredients, rather than as plain slices.
Jul 11, 2016 @ 22:38:28
I can confirm that it tastes great after freezing! Although to be fair mine was in the freezer for a mere two months.
Jul 12, 2016 @ 01:03:46
Oh great! Anything that can be frozen makes life more convenient. Thanks for letting me know!
Sep 09, 2017 @ 16:21:54
have been cooking beef tongue for 40+ years…. after peeling (while hot) I put back into stock and add carrots, onions, celery, and cook until very, very tender. I make a gravy from stock and serve with mashed potatoes and the carrots with a huge salad. Like a pot roast.
I have also made homemade ravioli with tongue…wonderful with a good marinara sauce…yum
Sep 09, 2017 @ 22:01:23
Wow, both sound delicious! How do you put the tongue in the ravioli? Do you chop or grind it up, or just put a piece of it inside?
Dec 09, 2017 @ 00:46:19
I simmer with onions and garlic until tender, skin and slice. Serve in warm tortillas with green chili salsa and any Mexican condiments you wish!
Dec 13, 2017 @ 14:06:28
Do you have a recipe for green chili salsa? There isn’t much for Mexican food in the stores around here. It sounds delicious!
Mar 22, 2018 @ 06:47:10
Hi. Fresh tomatillos is the main ingredient for green chili salsa or salsa verde. If none available, canned tomatillos will work. And as a last resort you can use canned salsa verde.
Jan 11, 2018 @ 01:35:29
Husband likes beef tongue, I got some at the Asian grocery, it was sliced very thin, so I found some recipes that said to sear it, but he said it was very tough. Does it need to be boiled first?
Jan 11, 2018 @ 18:27:45
If it is already sliced when you bought it, I wouldn’t boil it. Perhaps it needed to be seared hotter, or preferably grilled. I’ve only every cooked whole tongue, boiling it and then cutting it. Perhaps try a butcher shop for a whole tongue?
Mar 08, 2018 @ 18:27:06
When it’s sliced very thinly raw – like at asian grocery stores, you can cook it like bacon with some salt and pepper and it will get crispy! Tongue ‘bacon’ is delicious!! A little bit of work to do yourself, I’ve taken a frozen tongue and blanched it in boiling water to help remove the skin without cooking the inside meat, then slice as thinly as possible before frying until crispy.
Mar 14, 2018 @ 17:57:36
Ooh, good idea, about blanching frozen tongue. Going to try this, thanks!
Mar 22, 2018 @ 06:53:27
Hi again. Have you had sliced tongue in salsa verde? In the southwest of U.S. it is commonly diced up for tacos. But many families cook it first by boiling or in a crock pot, then slice it and continue simmering in salsa verde. Entree style.
Mar 23, 2018 @ 12:28:10
You know…I’ve never even had salsa verde. Or even tomatillos for that matter. The Canadian Rockies are a long way from the southwest US. 🙂 I have heard that tongue is used for tacos and last time I made tongue I fried some slices and made Slovak style wraps with lokse, Slovak flatbread, and sauerkraut. Now I just have to get it on the blog 🙂 Simmering it in salsa verde sounds great, I’ll have to try that too!
Jan 23, 2019 @ 17:40:45
I do scared at childhood, as my family ate those just few days after I watch Hannibal. Dad insist me to try the beef tongue at restaurant, after I refuse many times. After I tasted it, I became in love and wish we could cook one at home. Thank you for the simple recipe, and I’ve been looking for the one withour slow cooker.
Jan 28, 2019 @ 17:12:12
Oh my goodness, Hannibal is too scary for me! I haven’t even tried to watch it. I’m glad you managed to taste it so you could fall in love with it! Enjoy!