The “Lengua” of Love- Tongue Taco’s
As a home chef, one of the most exhilarating aspects of my profession is pushing the boundaries of culinary exploration. Big words, right? Exploring unique flavors, textures, and ingredients is like embarking on a gastronomic adventure. Today, I invite you to join me on a culinary journey as we dive into the world of braised and smoked beef tongue—a true delicacy that might initially sound unconventional, gross even, but is guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds. Hmm, is that taste buds tantalizing taste buds?
Unleashing the Tongue's Potential:
Beef tongue, often overlooked or underutilized, is a prime example of a cut that showcases the culinary creativity and resourcefulness of chefs. When cooked with care and expertise, this often-neglected ingredient reveals its tender texture and deep, beefy flavors that are second to none. The good news? It is relatively simple to prepare properly. It just takes a bit of time.
The Art of Smoking:
As I am sure you’ll agree, smoking is an age-old cooking technique that infuses food with a distinct smoky aroma and flavor. Applying this technique to beef tongue elevates its taste profile to new heights. The smoking process enhances the natural richness of the meat, resulting in a symphony of flavors that dance on your palate.
Preparation and Seasoning:
Before diving into the smoking process, preparing the beef tongue is essential. It is essential to properly clean and trim the tongue, removing any unwanted elements. This is achieved by braising the tongue in broth, aromatics, and fresh herbs. We even added some dried chili peppers for a little kick of heat. Once it is braised, it is time to peel the skin layer off and season it for the smoke section of our program.
The Smoking Ritual:
Smoking beef tongue requires patience and precision. Choosing the right wood chunks is crucial to achieving the desired smoky flavor. Woods like hickory, mesquite, or applewood lend their unique characteristics to the final result but in all, I prefer the flavor of the Barrel Proof Bourbon smoking chunks.
Once the wood chunks are properly smoking, we are ready to go. The beef tongue is then placed in the smoker, allowing it to slowly cook while absorbing the aromatic bourbon smoke. This low-and-slow process ensures that the meat becomes tender, moist, and infused with a beautiful kiss of smoke.
Perfecting the Texture:
Achieving the ideal texture for smoked beef tongue is a delicate balance. The cooking time varies based on the size and thickness of the tongue. Slow cooking at a consistent temperature ensures that the meat becomes tender without becoming overly soft or mushy.
While monitoring the cooking process, a basting or spritzing technique can be employed to keep the tongue moist. This not only adds another layer of flavor but also contributes to the overall succulence of the final dish. Because this was a wagyu tongue, we really didn’t need any extra moisture. We just wanted to make sure we didn’t have a dry tongue.
The Moment of Truth:
Once the tongue is smoked to perfection, it's time to revel in the rewards of your efforts. Slicing the beef tongue reveals a beautiful cross-section, showcasing the rich, pinkish hue that denotes the smoky tenderness within. Each bite offers incredible flavors, with hints of smokiness mingling with the natural sweetness and umami of the beef. The texture is velvety, melting in your mouth, leaving you craving more. It really reminded me a lot of smoked brisket.
Smoked beef tongue is a versatile ingredient that can be enjoyed in various ways. Sliced thinly, it can be used as a star ingredient in sandwiches or sliders, paired with tangy pickles and a dollop of zesty sauce. Alternatively, it can be served as an elegant entrée, accompanied by a medley of roasted vegetables or creamy mashed potatoes. My personal favorite….Tongue tacos, aka lengua tacos.
As a cook who likes to expand his horizons, uncovering hidden culinary gems like smoked beef tongue is a true delight. This lesser-known cut, once given the attention and care it deserves, reveals a world of flavors that surprise and captivate. By skillfully applying the art of smoking, we transform this humble ingredient into a remarkable culinary experience. So, dare to venture beyond the ordinary, embrace the extraordinary, and savor the wonders of smoked beef tongue. Enjoy the tongue, always Get Out and Grill We will see you the next time on The FOGO Life.
- Fill your grill with FOGO Super Premium Charcoal and prepare it for indirect grilling at 350°. Use a Blazaball with FOGO Starters inside to light your charcoal.
- Place the tongue into the Dutch Oven and add the broth, onions, peppers, and herbs. Cover and cook for 2 ½ hours or until it is tender, and the skin peels off easily.
- Remove the tongue from the liquids and allow it to cool a bit. Close the vents a bit to reduce the cooking temperature of the Egg. Put on the cotton gloves under the rubber, food safe gloves and remove the outer skin from the tongue. It should peel away with ease.
- Spray the tongue with Duck Fat Spray and coat it lightly in Greek Freak Seasoning. Slide the tongue down onto the spike of the Trompo King until it is all the way down to the Trompo Grate. Our enough water in the bottom of the Trompo King to catch the drippings.
- Place 4 Barrel Proof smoking chunks on the fire and wait for the white smoke to clear. Place the Meater+ Thermometer in the center of the tongue, being careful to make sure that it is not touching the Trompo spike. Place the Trompo King with the tongue on it in the center of the grate and close the dome.
- Cook the tongue until the internal temperature reaches 203°. Remove it from the grill and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice the tongue crossways into ¼” slices. Now taste your tongue.
- You can enjoy the tongue just like this or do as we did and make a taco out of it. We simply used a flour tortilla, pickled onions, queso fresco cheese and green onion.
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