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The ultimate beef tongue recipe
This rich and delicious beef tongue treat features that elusive combo of crisp seared crust surrounding impossibly tender meat.
Beef tongue is one of the BEST cuts you’ve probably never been game enough to try. Sometimes people are freaked out by the appearance, sometimes it’s because they just have no idea how to cook it. Problem solved, as I come at you with my ultimate beef tongue recipe. PLEASE, trust me on this one. I know some people are totally grossed out by offal or nasty bits of the animal. I myself am not a huge fan of brains, tripe, or anything with a weird texture or flavor. As long as you can get past the visual appearance of tongue, you’ll find it is one of the most sumptuous and rich cut on the steer. If there was ever a time I was going to practically guarantee you’re gonna like something, this would be it.
Tongue is commonly used to make Lengua tacos, where the meat is either cooked down into tender shreds or coarsely chopped before being thrown into a tortilla. And while lengua tacos are completely delicious, I don’t think they showcase the incredible texture the tongue meat has to offer. There’s a lot of fat inside the tongue itself, which bubbles and crisps up when seared. That’s why I employ a poach/sear method for this tongue recipe. I suppose its more accurately a boil than a poach, but the phrase “boiled tongue” does NOT do this justice. I am lucky enough to find whole beef tongue in my local grocery store, but it’s also commonly found at Mexican grocery stores, and there are places online who will ship it right to you.
Now, there is some pretty funky looking skin you will need to peel off the actual tongue meat, and it’s best to do this after it has been poached. It’s much easier to peel this way. You may need a paring knife to help you in spots. Also, there’s a funky bit at the base of the tongue that, while edible, is not the most appealing texture or flavor. It’s basically a huge chunk of what you will be purchasing, but I always trim it off and use it for dog food so it’s not just discarded as waste. It’s much easier to trim once cooked so when you slice the cooked tongue, you will see the portion that needs to be trimmed away. An inverted “V” shaped cut usually is all it takes to trim it away.
The tongue meat really shines during the final heat application. The first cooking step is to tenderize the meat, but the second step brings the real magic. As the fat renders out of the tongue, an incredible golden crust forms. This can be done either on a grill or in a pan. The sear will start off slow, but as the fat starts to render the whole cooking process will speed up dramatically. You’ll have to be quick about turning the pieces frequently so they can color without burning. As long as you know to expect it, you’ll be fine. And the results will absolutely be worth it.
I prefer to use Hardcore Carnivore Meatchelada seasoning for this recipe. It’s a bright but earthy chili lime rub (more flavor than heat) with a vivid all-natural red hue. The flavor profile fits this recipe really nicely, and the zing of lime works well with the richness of the meat. If you don’t want to use this seasoning (why tho?!) you can just season with salt.
Also for the record, if you wanted to put these slices in a tortilla and call it a taco, no one will be mad at you.
Seared beef tongue recipe
- 1 x 3-4 lb whole beef tongue
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1/2 onion
- 1 small orange
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons Hardcore Carnivore Meatchelada seasoning
- Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove.
- Smash the garlic cloves with the side of a knife to release the flavor and aroma. Add smashed cloves, salt and the whole half of an onion to the water. Peel the orange and add the peel to the water, then squeeze in the juice.
- Slowly add the beef tongue to the boiling water. Cover the pot and simmer for 4-5 hours. The beef tongue is ready when a knife is easily inserted into the middle of the flesh with little resistance.
- Remove the tongue from the pot and discard the water. Allow the tongue to cool 10-15 minutes before handling.
- Peel the skin away, if necessary using a small knife to remove any stubborn bits. Discard the tongue skin.
- Slice the tongue into 1/4" slices, and cut away a wedge of the darker "under tongue" section. (See post above for more info). Season the slices well on both sides with Meatchelada seasoning.
- Heat a grill for high heat grilling, about 500f. Alternatively, you can also do this sear step in a skillet on the stove.
- Grill the tongue pieces, flipping frequently. The tongue is already cooked at this stage, you are just looking to develop a seared crust on the outside. As the fat begins to render the caramelization will speed up, so be careful of flare ups.
- Once the desired color is achieved, removed from the grill and serve immediately.
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