It’s Tuesday! Taco Tuesday! When I think of tacos, I usually think seasoned ground beef in a crunchy taco shell. At least, that’s how Taco Bell markets their tacos! But there are so many different cuts and types of meat that go well in tacos. Pork (carnitas), beef flank (asada), even chicken (pollo), and don’t forget fish (baja) are only some of the many options you’ll see in taco shops.
But today I’m turning my attention to something offal: beef tongue tacos (tacos de lengua).
As an Asian, I’m used to eating chicken hearts, livers, and other various organ meats, but beef tongue was new to me. It was 4 years ago when I had my first taste of beef tongue at La Taqueria in Vancouver. Their Tacos de lengua was succulent, tender, aromatic, and super delicious — I couldn’t get it off my mind. I seriously couldn’t even tell that I was eating beef tongue.
Mind you, beef tongue is pretty fatty. It’s not a diet food. That’s probably also why it tasted so moist and tender. Even though I make lean ground beef tacos for my family on a pretty regular basis, I really wanted to expand my repertoire and attempt beef tongue tacos at home.
If you can get sliced beef tongue (try an Asian supermarket), it will save you some extra work. Otherwise, you’ll have to boil/slow-cook the tongue for a few hours before removing the membrane, and then chop the tongue into pieces.
All of the recipes I’ve come across online call for garlic, onion, and bay leaf as the main seasoning for slow-cooking the beef tongue. However, I decided to put my own spin on it and cook the beef tongue with an array of seasonings in the crock pot altogether. It’s so simple and easy: just dump everything into the crock pot, set it on low, and let it do its thing. Come back in 5-6 hours and you’ll have the most tender, juicy, tasty beef tongue waiting for you to pile onto your corn tortillas. Serve the tacos with my Mexican Coconut Horchata and you’ll have a fiesta in your own home.
Tacos de Lengua (Beef Tongue Tacos)
Yield: 4 Servings
1/2 lb beef tongue, sliced
1/2 white onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves
3/4 tsp salt
1 T cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp corn starch
Place all of the ingredients into a crock pot and cover with barely just enough water.
Cook on low for 5-6 hours, until meat is tender and onions have reduced down.
Remove beef tongue meat and onions mixture from crockpot. If there are any leftover meat juices, transfer to a small sauce pot and heat over medium heat to reduce the liquid until thickened. Once it reaches a gravy-like consistency, spoon it over the meat.
Serve with warm corn tortillas, fresh chopped onion and cilantro, guacamole (recipe below), and pico de gallo/salsa fresca (recipe below). For a refreshing, cool and creamy drink, try serving my Mexican Coconut Horchata alongside.
1 large ripe avocado
juice of 1/2 lime
2 T onion, finely diced
1/2 small tomato, diced
2 T cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
Slice an avocado and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh and place it into a medium-sized glass bowl.
Use a fork or potato masher to mash the avocado. Add the lime juice, diced onion, tomato, and cilantro and mix to combine. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes for all the flavours to absorb.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Pico de Gallo/Salsa Fresca
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion (or white onion), finely diced
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 T lime juice
1 jalapeno, finely diced (optional)
Place tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, salt, lime juice, and jalapeno into a medium bowl and mix to combine. Let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.