There are some cuts of beef that give me the heebie-jeebies. This may come as a surprise since we raise cattle, but it’s true.
The cut that does that to me the most is beef tongue.
Until this week, I always put beef tongue in two categories:
#1. There’s the tongue that is attached to a cow, and you only see it when a cow eats or licks her lips. This kind of tongue is perfectly OK and doesn’t make my skin crawl.
#2. There’s the tongue that is not attached to a cow. This type of tongue is packaged – taste buds and all — and ready to be cooked. This is the type of tongue that makes me take a deep breath. Every. Time.
I had been trying really hard to get over that creepy-crawling sensation so that I could cook a beef tongue recipe, and that’s when I learned some wonderful news.
We have friends that like beef tongue! I’m sooo thankful for friends! (Thank you, Alan!!)
They made this pickled beef tongue, shared some with us, and gave us the recipe.
I must admit that when I pushed the “tongue thoughts” out of my mind and actually tried it, it was really really good.
Pickled beef tongue sort-of reminded me of summer sausage. In fact, if I didn’t know what it was in advance and the tongue had been on a plate with cheese and crackers, I would have probably have eaten the whole plate.
- 1-1/2 cups kosher salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons pink salt (a.k.a. DQ curing salt #1)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons pickling spice
- 1 Tongue (2-3 pounds)
- 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in two
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped.
- Brine for 5 to 7 days in the fridge making sure the tongue remains submerged in the brine. Shake the brine container a few times during the week to assure distribution of the mixture which can settle a bit.
- After brine period, drain, wash and soak the tongue in cold water, changing the water a few times over a period of 15-30 minutes or longer if too salty.
- Pressure cook for 25 minutes on high if using a stove top pressure cooker. A bit more if using an electric pressure cooker. Let the pressure cooker cool by natural means.
- After opening, test for tenderness. If more cooking is needed do again for 5-10 minutes and reopen. Do this until firm tongue to your liking is achieved.
- Peel tough skin after the tongue cools so you can handle it and your done. If it tastes too salty, place in the refrigerator and that will reduce the salt taste as cold foods taste less salty after being in the refrigerator. If it's still too salty, soak in cold water with frequent water changes, but keep cold.
Here are a few before and after pictures.
In case you’re curious, I do plan to actually cook tongue on my own when we have one available. I found some great recipes to try and now that I know that there’s no reason to be intimidated by beef tongue, I’m ready to give it a go.
- Boiled beef tongue
- Mexican slow cooker Lengua (beef tongue)
- Chinese Beef Tongue Salad
- Tongue with mustard-horseradish sauce
- Slow cooker beef tongue
- Savtah’s famous beef tongue
- Pickled beef tongue
If you’re someone that likes beef tongue or you have an adventurous side and want to try it, please let us know. There’s only one tongue per cow so those who order a quarter, half or whole beef from us get first-dibs, but sometimes no one wants the tongue and we have it available.