Before you recoil in horror…

It wasn’t so long ago that tongue, be it beef or pork or lamb, was a standard component in the butcher’s case. As Americans moved towards more convenient prepared foods, specialty cuts like liver and kidneys slowly disappeared from view. Marketing forces dictated that TV dinners and the like consisted almost entirely of foods familiar to  everyone–some version of chicken, perhaps, turkey, ham, and a Salisbury Steak, which is neither Salisbury nor Steak.

Before long, people had long forgotten the days when the most was made out of every slaughtered animal, from the snout to the tail. If you look in ancient encyclopedic cook books, you will see myriad recipes and treatments of all of these cuts. They are actually quite versatile and benefit from a skilled cuisinier.

Maybe things really DO change…

There can be little doubt that home cooking is experiencing a revival of interest. Even though people eat in restaurants just as much or more than they always did, customized home kitchens are also a popular renovation upgrade. Husbands (and wives) have decided that home cooking can be masculine.

No longer is dad limited to the occasional weekend foray into the back yard, bravely building a cave man fire in the BBQ. Gladly, even Weber makes propane fired barbecues now; less chance of Dad bursting into flames after applying a little bit too much starter fluid.

Even so, it’s logical that as people renew their interest in cooking, many of them will want to expand their horizons beyond the usual fare. And, so, specialty meat counters in premium markets are beginning to offer more exotic meats and seafood. This cannot be a bad thing.

  • I purchased this Buffalo tongue from Nicky’s, a local specialty butcher, and it’s a lot like beef tongue, just a little smaller and a little darker.
  • I visualize those Buffalo licking through the snow in those Public Television documentaries on Yellowstone, and, you can bet, it is a hard working muscle.
  • There is a high fat content, to protect the flesh from the intense temperature variations in the natural environment, that makes sense.
  • This means there is a lot of flavor locked inside that thing.

  • Even unfolding the muscle takes some doing.

  • Yup, that’s a tongue all right.
  • Tongues (all tongues) are covered with pink tissue called mucosa.
  • Tiny bumps on the mucosa called papillae give the tongue its rough texture.
  • Thousands of taste buds cover the surfaces of the papillae.
  • Taste buds are collections of nerve-like cells that connect to nerves running into the brain.
  • Many people claim to have tricks to remove the mucosa, but I just wait til after I cook the tongue.

  • I cut it in half to make packaging easier.

Into the Lipavi vessel and rack…

145F/63CX48 hours

  • I processed Bison Oxtails simultaneously, they took the same treatment.

  • After shocking cold, I used a sharp knife to remove the skin, etc.

  •  It is inevitable to lose some trim for this cut.

  • Even so, overall, the yield is good, and the flavor is extremely rich and hearty.
  • Simply sliced for a sandwich or cold plate, tongue is excellent.
  • Radishes are a traditional accompaniment, and compliment the flavor and texture well.
  • Who eats radishes?
  • Try one, esp. in the spring, before the weather gets hot–they are really quite refreshing!

To see how we prepared the marinated tongue dish in the featured picture, click HERE