How to Cook Beef Tongue – It’s Easier Than You Might Think

Cow tongue, beef tongue, ox tongue – no matter what you call it, learning how to cook beef tongue may seem intimidating, but it's surprisingly easy to do. The simple cooking method that I like to use creates a tender, delicious cut of meat that can be served like a roast or sliced thin and used cold for sandwiches. Since we buy our beef in bulk from a local friend who raises grassfed steers, it's important for us to be to be able to use up all the odd bits.

Cooking Cow Tongue – Quick Guide

What you need to cook a cow tongue:

  • cow tongue
  • seasoning- 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic or garlic scapes (or more), 3-4 bay leaves, celery, salt and pepper to taste, or other spices of your choice
  • stock pot with lid (6 – 8 quart)

Steps for cooking tongue:

  • Wash the cow tongue
  • Place the tongue in the stock pot with the seasonings and enough water to cover
  • Cover and simmer the cow tongue for 2-3 hours
  • Chill the tongue in an ice bath until just cool enough to handle and peel immediately
  • Slice and serve hot or chill and serve cold

Cow tongue, beef tongue, ox tongue - no matter what you call it, it's an odd looking piece of meat. Learning how to cook beef tongue may seem intimidating, but it's surprisingly easy to do. The simple cooking method that I like to use creates a tender, delicious cut of meat that can be served like a roast or sliced thin and used cold for sandwiches.

How to Cook Beef Tongue – Step by Step with Photos

The first time I cooked beef tongue, I had some help from my big sister, Lois. After all, what are big sisters for if not to help you eat strange things? When we pulled the tongue out of the freezer, it looked like this.

Cow tongue, beef tongue, ox tongue - no matter what you call it, learning how to cook beef tongue may seem intimidating, but it's surprisingly easy to do. The simple cooking method that I like to use creates a tender, delicious cut of meat that can be served like a roast or sliced thin and used cold for sandwiches.

Lois gave it a good washing and held it up for a nice shot.

Washing the cow tongue before cooking.

Cooking beef tongue couldn't be much simpler. The tongue doesn't have bones or connective tissue to deal with like other cuts. Mom always simmered it on the stove when we were kids, so that's what we did, too. We put it in a kettle with about an inch of water over the top, and added plenty of aromatics – garlic scapes, onions, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and some celery.

Cow tongue, beef tongue, ox tongue - no matter what you call it, learning how to cook beef tongue may seem intimidating, but it's surprisingly easy to do. The simple cooking method that I like to use creates a tender, delicious cut of meat that can be served like a roast or sliced thin and used cold for sandwiches.

Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours. When the tongue finishes cooking, place it in an ice water bath to chill it enough to handle.

Cow tongue, beef tongue, ox tongue - no matter what you call it, learning how to cook beef tongue may seem intimidating, but it's surprisingly easy to do. The simple cooking method that I like to use creates a tender, delicious cut of meat that can be served like a roast or sliced thin and used cold for sandwiches.

Once you can handle the tongue, peel off the skin.

Cow tongue, beef tongue, ox tongue - no matter what you call it, learning how to cook beef tongue may seem intimidating, but it's surprisingly easy to do. The simple cooking method that I like to use creates a tender, delicious cut of meat that can be served like a roast or sliced thin and used cold for sandwiches.

Now you have an excellent piece of meat.

Cow tongue, beef tongue, ox tongue - no matter what you call it, learning how to cook beef tongue may seem intimidating, but it's surprisingly easy to do. The simple cooking method that I like to use creates a tender, delicious cut of meat that can be served like a roast or sliced thin and used cold for sandwiches.

Slice thinly and serve with your choice of condiments. My brother Rich suggests horseradish. Get a recipe for homemade horseradish sauce here.

Cow tongue, beef tongue, ox tongue - no matter what you call it, learning how to cook beef tongue may seem intimidating, but it's surprisingly easy to do. The simple cooking method that I like to use creates a tender, delicious cut of meat that can be served like a roast or sliced thin and used cold for sandwiches.

And that's it! It's very tender and delicious. The boys couldn't tell it wasn't “regular” roast. (Personally, I found it to be more tender than the roast we had cooked the day before.)

So, what unusual meats have you enjoyed recently? I'd love to hear from you.

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Originally published in 2011, updated in 2016, 2018.

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