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YIELD: Serves 4
COOK TIME: 5-6 hours, plus overnight seasoning
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
Hands-down the most utilized muscle in the cow —those fellers are nommin’ on grass all dang day! — beef tongue is an incredibly flavorful “off-cut” that tastes clean and beefy and not at all like what you might think from an “off cut.” That being said, due to the strength of the muscle fibers, it does require a lonnng braise in order to become nice and tender. But don’t let that turn you off – it’s totally worth it. Although braising the tongue takes between 5 and 7 hours, the execution is simple and merely requires planning ahead. Even a novice cook could execute this with relative ease.
Hot tip: if you prep salt the tongue the night before, and put it in the oven to braise in the morning just ahead of heading to work, it’ll be in great shape by the time you get home.
1 beef tongue
plenty of kosher salt
2 – 3 large carrots, chopped into 2” pieces
2 – 3 stalks of celery, chopped into 2” pieces
1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
1 onion, quartered; or a large bunch of green onions, chopped
2 large bay leaves
about 8 sprigs oregano or thyme
1 quart apple cider vinegar* see note
1 quart water* see note
Hoagie rolls, toasted
Good mayonnaise like Duke’s or Kewpie
½ red onion
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup water
Generously season the entire surface of the beef tongue with kosher salt. Re-wrap in butcher paper or seal in a plastic bag, and let sit refrigerated overnight.
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and herbs to your largest Dutch oven. Nestle salted beef tongue on top, and then pour equal parts apple cider vinegar and water over top until tongue is submerged. Bring the liquid to a boil, setting the Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Once boiling, cover and transfer to oven to braise for 5 – 6 hours, or until soft and tender to the touch. Depending upon the size of the tongue, it may need up to 7 hours in the oven.
Remove from oven, remove lid, and cool until comfortable to the touch.
Once the beef tongue has reached a temperature where it can be handled with your hands, remove it from Dutch oven. Reserving the remaining liquid for later, use a strainer to separate the liquid from the vegetables. Discard vegetables. Using a small knife to get started, peel skin from the tongue and discard. If the tongue is still slightly warm, the skin should peel off easily. Trim the bottom of the tongue to remove any unsightly bits.
Cut the tongue in half, crosswise, then slice lengthwise into ¼” – ½” inch thick pieces, to fit the hoagie roll.
If the tongue has cooled for too long and needs to be warmed up (it’s best when served warm), add the tongue to a skillet and pour a glug or two of reserved braising liquid to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high until the liquid is simmering, then turn the heat to low until you’re ready to compose sandwiches.
Slice red onion into thin crescents and add to a bowl with 1/3 cup red wine vinegar and 1/3 cup water. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.
Toast hoagie rolls. Spread mayonnaise on the bottom side of the roll. Layer sliced beef tongue on top. Drizzle chimichurri overtop the beef tongue, and finally finish with quick-pickled red onion slices on top. Close the sandwich and then cut it in half, doing so on a sharp bias.
Cook’s Note: basically, you want equal parts apple cider vinegar to water, and you want enough liquid to cover the beef tongue completely. The total quantity may vary based upon the size of the tongue you have.