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How to Prepare & Cook Beef Tongue

>Beef or cow tongue is organ meat, but it does not have the iron-like mineral taste that most organ meats have. Instead, it tastes like a delicious and tender piece of steak when prepped and cooked correctly. You can eat the tasty meat on its own or use it in tacos, burritos, and other dishes.

Besides being delicious, beef tongue (lengua de res) is also an excellent source of iron and a good source of protein. The meat is traditionally simmered in stock or water. Beef tongue needs to be slow simmered before using the cooked trimmed meat in a fried or grilled recipe.

If you’ve never cooked lengua before, read below for 5 great tips to get you started.

How to Best Prepare Beef Tongue

Making a delicious and succulent beef tongue dish at home is easy once you learn how to handle this cut of beef. Here are our best tips on how to prepare beef tongue:

Tip #1

Put the whole tongue inside a large stockpot and submerge it completely in water. Add onions, garlic cloves, salt, and bay leaf for flavor.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and slow cook the meat for three hours. Another option would be to place your beef tongue, water, and other ingredients in a slow cooker and braise it for 12 hours or overnight. If you are short on time, you can cook the meat within an hour by using an instant pot.

Tip #2

After completing the cooking time, test the doneness of the beef tongue with a meat thermometer. Tongue is ready to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next, take the cooked tongue out of the pot and place it on a cutting board to rest for five to ten minutes.

While the tongue is still warm, face it upwards and cut lengthwise into the outer skin with a paring knife. Dig your fingers into the slit you created and peel off the outer skin. It’s important to peel the tongue while it’s still warm, otherwise the outer skin won’t come off easily.

After peeling the tongue, trim off any visible unwanted fat and gristle and then cut the tongue meat into large slices or roughly chop, dice, or shred as needed for your recipe.

Tip #3

Once you have sliced or chopped the beef tongue, you can use it in any recipe you want. One popular recipe that uses beef tongue is Tacos de Lengua.

Make this recipe at home by combining tongue, onion, garlic, salt, thyme and water in a large stockpot, bringing it to a boil then reducing heat to medium for 30 to 40 minutes. After this, remove the tongue, peel away the outer layer of the beef tongue, and slice the tongue into small pieces. Fry the chopped tongue pieces over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. For each taco, layer the beef tongue in a corn tortilla and top with chopped onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt and salsa verde.

Tip #4

If you are not in the mood for tacos, prepare a Colombian-Style Beef Tongue with Creole Sauce. It’s a traditional dinner made with beef tongue in a lively salsa blend of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cumin served over rice with plantains.

Tip #5

If you’re short on time throughout the week, prep and cook your beef tongue on the weekend and use the cooked meat to create quick and delicious meals during the week. Store your prepped beef tongue and the broth or braising liquid left from cooking the meat in the fridge.
During the week, warm the meat with some of its broth. Then, quickly finish it with vegetables and green chile sauce to make a hearty Guiso with Beef Tongue.

Where to Buy High Quality Beef Tongue

Now that you know how to cook beef tongue, click here to find where to buy high-quality beef tongues for your favorite traditional recipes.