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Beef Tongue Part 2: How to Cook Tongue in 5 Easy Steps

Posted Mar 10 2013 12:00am

After sharing our top 4 favorite tongue recipes , I had a few friends request that I share a simple step by step guide on how to cook tongue.
It is so easy that you might find yourself cooking up tongue more often then not!
Remember, you can't say this is gross if you've never tried it. Try it once and then you can truly say you like it or hate it.
After you've done these 5 simple steps... try the Taco de Lengua or Italian Drip Beef Tongue . Both are sure to please anybody. Just don't say that it is tongue until everybody has licked their plates clean... really, its just beef and that's not lying!

Preparing the Beef Tongue
0) Look at it and convince yourself that it's just meat. I am half serious and half joking. For some people, it really does take some mental strength to get over the "ick-factor" of touching, preparing and eating tongue.
Now, give yourself a mental pep talk...
"that is beef. a muscle. just like any other beef cut. don't think of the 't' word. its just beef. a delicacy in other countries.  higher in protein and b-12 . really good for me to eat. that's beef"

deeeeep breath.

Still with me? Good... read on!

1) Rinse off the tongue.
It is a good idea to wash off the tongue. If you really can't handle touching it... wear some gloves or ask someone to do it for you.

Wash the tongue under running water until the water runs clear and there's no blood. 

2) Cut glands off at the base of the tongue.
This step is really optional. Some like to cut it off, others leave it on.

I've done both and found that the glands are really soft & fatty when cooked. If that doesn't sound appealing to you, cut it off before cooking.

3) Cook the tongue.
When properly cooked... tongue is delicious. 


Here are three important notes to remember when cooking the tongue...

1) You can cook the tongue in two ways... let it cook slowly in your crock pot or simmer in your stock pot. Both ways will give you soft and tender beef that is versatile and yummy.

2) For the liquid base, use either beef stock or water. I've done both and prefer the stock for a richer flavor.

3) It is important to add in a mixture of savory & sweet veggies and spices to enhance the flavor. I like to use onions, carrots, garlic, peppercorn, bay leaves and sea salt.

Beef Stock Method:
Whenever I am making a large batch of beef stock (I let it simmer for up to 3 days!), I like to throw in the tongues and let it simmer overnight. In the picture below, I was making a small batch of beef broth and threw in a tongue to cook overnight.

If you already have beef stock made... put the tongue in your choice of crock pot or stockpot, cover with stock, add in veggies & spices and cook until done.

Water Method:
Put your tongue in a small stock pot or crock pot, cover with enough water, add in the above suggested veggies & spices and cook until done.

For a chopped tongue... cook it for 3-4 hours. For a shredded tongue... cook for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Wondering what to do with the leftover broth? You can toss it out, but I like to save it and use it in my spaghetti sauce, homemade chili  or soup.

4) Peel the skin off.
When the tongue is done. Pull it out and let it cool.
When cooled enough to touch. Take a small sharp knife and cut through the skin at the base. Then you should be able to simply peel the skin off in chunks.
If you have dogs, give them the skin. They will gobble it up! If you don't have dogs, just throw it away.

5) Chop or shred up the tongue.
To shred it, take two forks and start pulling the meat apart. You might have to cut some parts, but it should pull apart easily.
If you want to chop your tongue... let it cool completely. You can stick it in the fridge for a little while. It will firm up and be easy to chop.

There you go! You now have chopped or shredded tongue ready to be used however you want. You can make tacos , sandwiches , egg bake , empanadas , stews, soups, chili or whatever... it is a very versatile meat!!

Think you can go for it now?

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