Recipe: Beef Tongue Street Tacos with Chili Sauce

Nov 13, 2011 by     5 Comments    Posted under: Main Course Recipes, Recipes
Beef Tongue Street Taco with Chili Sauce

Beef Tongue Street Taco with Chili Sauce

I know that for many of you, tongue tacos sound gross, but you have to get over the “ick” factor and give these tacos a try.  Simply amazing.

Most tongue tacos consist of plain tongue, usually boiled, sliced or cubed, and quickly sauteed.  Mine go a bit further into the gourmet by browning the cubed tongue first, and then simmering it in a delicious chili and tomato puree.  Served street style with cabbage, radishes, cilantro, and onion all on a corn tortilla, these tacos are addictive.  I had to stop myself at 6 of them.

Tongue has a very strong beef flavor.  It reminds me a bit of organ meet but without the strong iron/mineral taste most of us hate.  It has a soft texture, but is firm and slightly chewy at the same time.  If nobody told you that you were eating tongue, you’d just think you were eating a very flavorful pot roast.  This is one piece of cow I will never shun again.  Bring on the tongue!

How to Prepare Tongue for Cooking

Well, if there’s one part that is “gross” about cooking tongue, it is the step of removing the outer taste bud lining.  It’s easy to do, but might make some a bit squeamish.  Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil, then toss the tongue in it.  Let the tongue boil for about 20 minutes, then remove.  The outer lining will be bright white, and can be removed by pulling it off with your fingers as you run a knife between it and the meat.  Make sure to get all the lining off the tongue (on all sides) as it is very chewy and not very tasty. Also, remove anything on the underside of the tongue that doesn’t look like it will be good eating.

You may also want to remove the large veins in the underside of the tongue.  Just simply cut into the tongue about halfway between the center and edge, about the same place where you feel the veins on the underside of your own tongue in your mouth.  Cut them out and discard.

Now that you have a cleaned tongue, you can slice, cube, or do what you will with it.  For tongue tacos, simply cube the meat into 1/4 inch cubes.

Cubed Beef Tongue

Cubed Beef Tongue

 

Recipe for Tongue Tacos

  • 1 medium size beef tongue, cleaned and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Chili Sauce (recipe follows)

Heat olive oil in large pan until hot.  Add tongue and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add Tongue to Hot Pan

Add Tongue to Hot Pan

As the tongue cooks, it will release a lot of juices in the pan, which will create what looks like a very tasty brown gravy.

Tongue Gravy

Tongue Gravy

Cook on medium-high until the gravy evaporates and the tongue begins to brown.  Brown the cubed tongue on all sides, tasting to make sure you have seasoned it well enough.

Browned Tongue

Browned Tongue

Add 3/4 of the chili sauce (recipe follows), cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Tongue Simmering in Chili Sauce

Tongue Simmering in Chili Sauce

After 20 minutes, most of the water will have evaporated and it should look like this:

Beef Tongue in Chili Sauce

Beef Tongue in Chili Sauce

Reserve remaining ingredients for assembly.

Recipe for Street Taco Chili Sauce

  • 4 Dried California Chili Pods
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic gloves, smashed
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 cup water (preferably the water you softened the chilies in)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Start by steeping the chili pods in boiling water until soft, about 10 minutes.  I like to use the water I will be boiling the tongue in later.  Once the chilies are soft, remove the stems and place the pods in a blender along with all the other ingredients.  Blend thoroughly.  Place in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Chili Sauce

Chili Sauce

 

How to Assemble Beef Tongue Street Tacos with Chili Sauce

Heat corn tortillas over medium high heat by dry toasting on a griddle.  This will make them soft and pliable.  Place between some kitchen towels to keep warm prior to assembling tacos.

Warming Corn Tortillas

Warming Corn Tortillas

Place a small amount of tongue on the tortilla, then add chopped cabbage, cilantro, onion, radishes, lime juice, and some of the reserved chili sauce.

Street Taco Toppings

Street Taco Toppings

Beef Tongue Street Tacos with Chili Sauce

Beef Tongue Street Tacos with Chili Sauce

 

Recipe by Jothan Yeager, November 2011

 

The Bald Gourmet creates authentic Mexican recipes with traditional ingredients like beef tongue.

 

Recipe: Beef Tongue Street Tacos with Chili Sauce
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Most tongue tacos consist of plain tongue, but mine go a bit further into the gourmet by browning the cubed tongue first, and then simmering it in a delicious chili and tomato puree. Served street style with cabbage, radishes, cilantro, and onion all on a corn tortilla, these tacos are addictive.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 medium size beef tongue, cleaned and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Dried California Chili Pods
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic gloves, smashed
  • ½ jalapeno, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 cup water (preferably the water you softened the chilies in)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Instructions
  1. How to Make Chili Sauce: Start by steeping the chili pods in boiling water until soft, about 10 minutes. I like to use the water I will be boiling the tongue in later.
  2. Once the chilies are soft, remove the stems and place the pods in a blender along with the tomatoes, ½ the onion, the garlic, the jalapeno, cumin, oregano, and water.
  3. Blend thoroughly.
  4. Place in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. How to Prepare Tongue for Cooking: Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil, then toss the tongue in it. Let the tongue boil for about 30 minutes, then remove.
  7. The outer lining of the tongue will be bright white, and can be removed by pulling it off with your fingers as you run a knife between it and the meat. Make sure to get all the lining off the tongue (on all sides) as it is very chewy and not very tasty. Also, remove anything on the underside of the tongue that doesn’t look like it will be good eating.
  8. You may also want to remove the large veins in the underside of the tongue. Just simply cut into the tongue about halfway between the center and edge, about the same place where you feel the veins on the underside of your own tongue in your mouth. Cut them out and discard.
  9. How to Cook Tongue: Cube all of the tongue into ¼ inch bite-sized pieces.
  10. Heat olive oil in a large pan until hot. Add tongue and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. As the tongue cooks, it will release a lot of juices in the pan, which will create what looks like a very tasty brown gravy. Cook on medium-high until the gravy evaporates and the tongue begins to brown.
  12. Brown the cubed tongue on all sides, tasting to make sure you have seasoned it well enough.
  13. Add ¾ of the chili sauce, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, most of the water will have evaporated.
  14. How to Assemble Beef Tongue Street Tacos with Chili Sauce: Heat corn tortillas over medium high heat by dry toasting on a griddle. This will make them soft and pliable. Place between some kitchen towels to keep warm prior to assembling tacos.
  15. Place a small amount of tongue on the tortilla, then add chopped cabbage, cilantro, diced onion, radishes, lime juice, and some of the reserved chili sauce.

Notes
Tongue has a very strong beef flavor. It reminds me a bit of organ meet but without the strong iron/mineral taste most of us hate. It has a soft texture, but is firm and slightly chewy at the same time. If nobody told you that you were eating tongue, you’d just think you were eating a very flavorful pot roast. This is one piece of cow I will never shun again. Bring on the tongue!

5 Comments + Add Comment

  • Hi Jothan, you say to boil for about 20 minutes before removing the outer layer. Most other sites say about an hour per pound. I’d like to try your method (it’s quicker and I’m impatient!) but I also like the meat tender and not chewy. So, is it tender? I mean, it can’t be fully cooked at only 20 minutes, right? I’m planning on making chili with it, can’t wait to taste it after all the positive comments on your site and others. Thanks.

    • H John. Thanks for asking. The shorter boiling time works great for tacos, as it puts the meat somewhere between tender and chewy. That chewiness works well in the corn tortillas and small bites of tacos, but I’m not sure if it’s what you want in your chili. My method of sautéing it in my chili sauce creates an awesome flavor, and would be great in a chili dish. I guess it’s your call on the texture. My method is not really tough, just leaves a chew. Boiling it for an hour+ will cook it fully and will help to tenderize it. However you choose to cook your tongue, enjoy! Tongue is delicious!!

      Let me know what you end up doing and how it turns out. Tongue chili sounds mighty tasty.

  • oh heck yea. this turned out so well. i already had boiled the tongue with carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves and chicken stock for a few hours. so i just browned the meat and added the tasty chili sauce and let it simmer and reduce. so stoked for the leftovers. this is hands down my favorite way to make tongue.

  • Is that all one tongue? Sick! Sorry, can’t get past it.

    • All one tongue straight out of your beef’s mouth. Thank you for providing me with it. It was delicious! And I bet that you’d love it if nobody told you that it was tongue ;)

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I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.