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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Beef Tongue

I can understand that there are plenty of people who would be repulsed by the thought of eating a cow's tongue. Especially if you have ever let a cow lick you and noticed that a cow's tongue is rough like a cats, but bigger. Much MUCH bigger! I felt the same way once upon a time ago.

Then, at a short lived Mexican restaurant that served a variety of meats - chicken, beef, pork, lamb, goat... - I decided to try the beef tongue tacos, and WOW! They were SO good! I also - on a later visit - tried the tripe, which was also fabulous, lol!

Anyway, the restaurant ended up closing because - in my opinion - it was simply in the wrong location. Too close to too many picky eaters, and not close enough to those who like the variety they offered. However, just to note, my mom is a picky eater, and she LOVED the place. She simply ate the "normal" stuff, lol!

I had read that tongue was fairly easy to make, but I wasn't in the habit of buying it from the grocery store on the RARE occasion that I actually found one or two for sale. A couple of months ago, someone said that they had one they wanted to give away, and I snatched it up! I thought it would be perfect for us. Free food AND the opportunity to learn to cook something new :-)

Then it sat in my freezer until the weather turned colder, because I originally received it when it was SO hot outside that the thought of cooking was downright repugnant. Yesterday, I took out my roasting pan - which looks like a carbochon steel roasting pan one would put in the oven - but is made for my electric plug-in Nesco roaster oven.

Into my pan, I plopped the frozen tongue. Then I completely covered it with water. I probably had at least a gallon of water in there even though my pan wasn't full. It has about a gallon and a half capacity - if I remember correctly.

This next part is hands down THE most important part! I grabbed my RealSalt brand sea salt and poured a generous amount in the water. This is not some eggs frying in a pan. A little dash of Salt will not do ya! You have to salt the water until it tastes right. It should be pleasantly salty but not TOO much (unless you like Au Jus). If you can't taste the salt, add more. The salt is not necessary for cooking the meat, but it IS necessary for taste.

To my salt water, I added garlic powder, onion powder, cilantro, and a couple dashes of pepper. I did this by shaking each spice into the water until I thought it looked/felt right, but I would say that I put about 1TBSP garlic powder, almost 2TBSPs onion powder, maybe 1/2TBSP of cilantro, and literally 2 or 3 dashes of pepper. We don't like pepper in my house, so I tend to have a VERY light hand when I add it to anything. I added just enough to give it that zingy taste without being hot.

I totally recommend adjusting the seasonings to your own tastes, and adding or omiting as needed.

Anyway, then I set the pan in my electric roaster and turned it all the way up at first. This was simply to get it started. After about 1/2 hour to an hour or so, I turned the temp down to 200 and let it slow cook for several hours. This has the benefit of making the house smell AWESOME!

When I was finally too hungry to wait for hubby to come home any longer - and the potatoes I'd tossed in the oven were finished baking - I started slicing up the roast. I knew one thing for certain, and this is important.

You're going to want to "peel" the tongue! I took a knife and simply sliced off the "skin." Then, I cut the roast into bite sized chunks for my boys, and took one as a sample. I was BLOWN away! A normal roast cooked properly has this texture... It's like something really tough was forced to become tender until it almost melts. It still has this almost gritty feel in the mouth. Gritty is not the right word, but I can't figure out a better word...

This texture was almost velvety. Smooth! Tender without even trying...

I set some aside to see if it would dry out as quickly as any other roast. You know... When you set a slice of roast on your plate, dish up the sides that accompany it, bring it to your table, sit down to eat it, and it is already almost crusty because it has dried out just from a combination of heat evaporating water, and cool air stealing the moisture...

This didn't. I think it has something to do with the texture. Like there aren't as many pockets between the muscle fibers to store water or air which normally gets released when a hot roast meets cool air. OR MAYBE it's because I had the temp much lower. Shrugs, who knows?

It was tender and it didn't dry out. That's the important part. I ate it with the potato and plenty of the juice from the pan - which has turned into a delicious broth :-D

MORE IMPORTANTLY: Y'all know I eat weird things, so my review is biased. What's Hubby think? What do my boys think?

Well, they all watched me cut off the skin. Without it, it looks like any other meat, so I let them watch me. They were okay with this because Gryffin hates skin. Phoenix was sad because he loves skin, but I told him this wasn't the kind of skin that was good to eat. Honestly, that's what I have heard, so I don't really know if it's true.

I gave them each their portions and their potatoes, and to understand what they thought, you have to know a bit of history. Normally, both my boys like their meat well enough, but they almost never eat it all. If the meat is hard to chew, or if it dries out, then they won't eat it. They'll let it sit on their plate forever until it's time to throw it away. As a result, I tend to give them just a little at a time, and then give them more if they want it. This prevents the meat from drying out...

With this, I set it on the plate and watched it disappear! They thought it was easy to chew, and it didn't dry out. They made sounds that indicated that it was yummy, and then asked for more. In short, they LOVED it!

When hubby came home and watched me prepare his portion, I explained that this was worth trying no matter what he might think. He told me that he has no problem eating the tongue, which surprised me since he can be a picky eater. He loved the texture too, and also asked for seconds.

All in all, I totally recommend eating beef tongue! Especially if you want to have a nice and tender roast. However, there are other things you could do with it, such as the tongue tacos that were my first experience with tongue. I'm now hooked, and can't wait to get my hands on some more tongues! I would even love to try the tongue of other animals :-D

That sounded so wrong, lol!

Have a happy day!

2 comments:

  1. I shudder to imagine. I have yet to convince myself to try tongue though...it is in the catagory of things never to eat according to me...testicles, eyes, internal organs, ect. are on that list too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol! Testicles help men regulate their own hormones the way nature intended, and are useful to women for the same reason (and can boost libido!).
      Eyes are one of the few sources of true vitamin A (Retinol not the precursor Beta Carotene found in veggies). A person with bad eyes should eat animal eyes, but that's one I can't do because even looking a human in the eye gives me the heebie jeebies, lol! Internal organs - such as the heart - are rich sources of vitamins and minerals that the body actually needs. For example, the heart contains the substance CoQ10 - among others - needed for healthy heart function, and yet no other part of the body has it. Therefore people - like my mom - who have bad hearts, should be eating animals hearts to obtain the building blocks necessary to repair and maintain their heart. The best source of just about all the vitamins and minerals is the liver - which also happens to be the yuckiest in my opinion, BUT learning to cook it the right way - rare with just the right amount of salt and seasonings - makes it actually pretty tasty :-D Sometimes I think that my biggest problem is that I am supposed to be eating nothing but organ meats and I only manage to do so on occasion, like once a month, lol!

      Delete

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