What do I do with beef tongue?
March 18, 2008 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Help with all things beef tongue. I bought a tongue from the farmer's market and am clueless how to handle it. I read this thread and need more detail. Peeling? What do you mean, it needs to be peeled? How? Can I overcook it? Should I eat it in a stew, or some other way? What are your favorite tongue recipes?

I should note I haven't actually taken it out of the packaging, as I've seen pictures of what it should look like online and need more time to build my strength. So it may or may not be peeled, though I'm guessing not.
posted by schroedinger to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I was one of the answerers in the previous thread, and I stand by the advice there: cook it very slowly (200 degress, just under a boil), in broth (with lots of onion if you like that), for a long time (all day is fine), and serve it with boiled potatoes or noodles with a sour-cream gravy. The "peeling" will, honestly, become self-explanatory once you've done it - there's an outer skin that will shuck off just like the jacket of a boiled potato once it's been cooked. (And like a potato skin, it's possible, but more of a nuisance to take it off before hand). Take that off, cut it into slices - it will be falling apart - and serve as suggested above.

You can overcook it if you cook it on high heat - like any meat, it will get stringy and yecch - but if you keep the temperature down under a boil, and can safely simmer overnight or all day and it will only improve.

The other major thing you've probably neglected is sending me a dinner invite.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:03 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

I like beef tongue stew; it's awfully tasty. It can get very tough if you overcook it. I have never prepared it myself, though. If the tongue isn't peeled, it tastes weird and is firmer.
posted by HotPatatta at 1:03 PM on March 18, 2008

I think you have to parboil it to peel the skin off of it. Beyond that hopefully others have answers ( I'm wrestling with rabbit recipes right now....)
posted by Max Power at 1:03 PM on March 18, 2008

(Leftover tongue, cold, on sandwiches - with buttered bread - the next day is excellent advice too.)
posted by Wolfdog at 1:05 PM on March 18, 2008

Response by poster: So I can crock-pot it all day, and take it out at the end? After I cook it and peel it, how would that affect throwing it into a stew?
posted by schroedinger at 1:08 PM on March 18, 2008

I was looking up how to make it yakiniku style (googling: beef tongue japanese grill) and I found this info from this CHOW thread:

Soak in water 2-3 hours. Place in cold water and bring to and boil for 20 minutes. Remove skin and other bits (easy at this point). Let cool; cover with a large handfful of salt; let it macerate for 24 hours, turning from time to time after salt starts to dissolve, before cooking/braising.

Also, from that helpful thread, I found the Japanese name for the grilled beef tongue which is gyutan. Here is a recipe:

1/2 ox tongue , sliced very thin
1/3 cup mirin
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon oil
spring onion , chopped
small red chillis (a.k.a. cili padi) , chopped

marinade the well-washed tongue slices in mirin and dark soy sauce for an hour or two . grill on an oiled pan until cooked ( which would take only a couple of minutes if you use slices ) . towards the end , season with a touch of mirin and off the fire . just before serving , briskly toss it in the spring onion and chillis to give them that extra oomph .

I'm actually going to a yakitori place tonight and I am so ordering this. Thanks for the reminder!
posted by spec80 at 1:08 PM on March 18, 2008

So I can crock-pot it all day, and take it out at the end? After I cook it and peel it, how would that affect throwing it into a stew?
Yeah, you can do, but use the low setting on your crockpot. Some crockpots still boil things even on low, which is why I rather just put it in the oven at 200, which is a bit more dependable. If you're going to do stew, I'd strain out the broth, use that to cook the vegetables, barley, or whatever else is going in, and then just chuck in the cooked tongue at the end for long enough to get it warmed through.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:12 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Beef-tongue tacos are fantastic. After cooking and peeling, dice some and pan-fry it until it's lightly browned. Serve with fresh corn tortillas, onion, cilantro and lime juice.
posted by pullayup at 1:13 PM on March 18, 2008

The Instructables do boiled beef tongue.
You peel it after you boil it.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:20 PM on March 18, 2008

I love beef tongue! The beef tongue tacos above are great, especially with fresh cilantro in a corn tortilla. But I grew up with a Germain stepdad who made the most amazing saur bratten out of it. In a relatively narrow heavy bottomed sauce pan bring enough water to just submerge the tongue to a boil. Put the tongue in and partially cover or leave the cover partially askew, simmer for 90-120 minutes or until the outer layer of the tongue turns greyish-white and starts to peel. As the water reduces it becomes your consomme; you'll have to flip the tongue half-way through. When outer layer is tender, do not dump water, but remove the tongue from the kettle and put on a plate, let it cool for 10 minutes or until you can handle it. Peel the grey-white taste-bud layer. Running it under cold water might help. Don't worry about bumpy base of the tongue, this part is the most delicious. Slice the tongue in 3/4" slices from tip to base, set aside. Add a couple beef boulian cubes and a teaspoon of salt to consomme. Add a couple of capfulls of vinegar. In a separate pot melt 1/4 stick of butter or equivalent measure of beef suet. Make a paste out of it by adding flour until it's, well, pasty. Slowly whip this paste into your consomme until you have a very watery gravy. Put the slices of of tongue back into the gravy and then partially cover and continue to slow boil until the meat becomes very tender and gravy thickens, probably another 60-90 minutes. If you discover you've put too much salt or boullian after it reduces, counter with dollops of sour cream. You have sour tongue!

Serve on baked potatoes or wild rice pilaf. Goes great with fresh green beens or similar.
posted by tosteka at 1:44 PM on March 18, 2008

If you've never had it, and want to try it before you make it yourself, the Tortilleria on Eastern just a few doors East of Broadway serves great tongue tacos.
posted by OmieWise at 1:44 PM on March 18, 2008

3 good tongue prep and recipes, clearly explained and photographed. The first should help with the peeling aspect too...

Boiled Tongue
Ox Tongue And Bread
Tongue And Beets

posted by brautigan at 2:29 PM on March 18, 2008

Carol from the French Laundry at Home blog peels some tounge.
posted by Cyrano at 2:37 PM on March 18, 2008

Cook for about 90' in water with salt, a carrot, an onion, a leaf of celery and a few grains of black pepper. Peel. Cut in thin slices and eat, accompanying with "salsa verde", which is a sauce made mixing a small bunch of fresh persil leaves, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 Tsp of capers, 3 (washed) salted anchovies, the yolks of 2 hardboiled eggs, 1/2 cup of extravirgin olive oil and a couple of slices of white bread, crust removed, drizzled in vinegar and squeezed between your fingers. Whizz sauce ingredients in your mixer for 30".

In (my) Heaven, they serve slices of cold beef tongue and a spoonful of said sauce in sandwiches.
posted by _dario at 4:01 PM on March 18, 2008

The way my mom used to prepare it, after boiling and peeling the tongue she let it cool and sliced it thin, then submerged the slices in a vinaigrette sauce with lots of parsley. My mom says it's Italian in origin, but I've never been able to find this particular preparation in a cookbook.

It's a delicious cold cut served this way, great with a green salad and some crunchy bread.
posted by needled at 4:03 PM on March 18, 2008

You'd probably figure this out on your own, but if you're heading down to the taquería to sample the tacos, you want to ask for lengua.
posted by pullayup at 4:23 PM on March 18, 2008

Well, another idea is to make Eisenberg Deli's Sandwich #9: hot tongue on rye.

Sorry, had to do it. It's almost like you asked the question just so I could answer with that.

On a more...sincere note, my girlfriend and I had tongue a few years ago prepared by Wylie Dufresne at wd-50 and it was AMAZING. I think it must have been this recipe for pickled beef tongue with fried mayonnaise. Probably a lot of work and frustratingly fastidious work too ("...stirring constantly, until the gellan is fully hydrated at approximately 194°F, or when the suspension rapidly loses viscosity") but if you're feeling adventurous, there ya go...
posted by dubitable at 8:11 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

The classic French/Belgian way to make it is tongue in Madeira sauce.
posted by NekulturnY at 4:09 AM on March 19, 2008

I used to eat tongue sandwiches with my nanny... ?? Heh heh, I'd forgotten about that.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 1:33 PM on March 19, 2008

for the record:
corned beef tongue
sous vide homegrown assorted carrots
potato-stuffed brussels sprouts
braised leeks
colcannon puree
whole-grain mustard crisps
pickled mustard seeds
malt reduction

corned beef tongue
2-3 beef tongues
2 qts cold water
12 oz kosher salt
4 oz brown sugar
1/4 oz sodium nitrate (optional, but will give the tongue its pink color)
3 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 tsps black peppercorns
2 tsps mustard seeds
1 tsp whole allspice berries
1 tsp dried thyme

corning: Lay tongues in a single layer in a non-reactive container. Bring water, salt, sugar and sodium nitrate to boil in a stainless steel saucepan. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour brine over tongues, it should cover them by a few inches. Add remaining ingredients and place a heavy plate on top of tongues to keep them submerged. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 days. Remove tongues from brine. Discard brine and wash container. Return tongues to container, cover with fresh, cold water and allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator to remove excess salt.
cooking: Remove tongues from water and place them in a large pot. Add 1 large onion, 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery and enough cold water to cover the tongues by a few inches. Simmer tongues for 3-4 hours or until very tender. (The tongues can also be cooked in a pressure cooker for 1 hour.) Remove the skin while still warm. Wrap tongues tightly in plastic wrap and chill overnight. Slice thinly to serve.
posted by dawson at 11:01 PM on March 31, 2008

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