Recently, my butcher, Job Vrijenhoek, asked me if I’d like to work with “forgotten meat.” Personally, I didn’t have to think long about it. In a world where everyone wants to live as sustainably as possible, I’ve noticed that we often forget to look back at our ancestors or learn more from parts of the world where people still truly eat from head to tail. Often out of necessity, but that doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t do it. In this series, which I very creatively named “from head to tail,” I want to reintroduce you to meats that many of us have truly forgotten but can be so delicious. Meat that may not initially sound appetizing, but come on, let’s get past that and read along because I’m going to make 2 dishes that, if I’m correct, will become your most favorite recipes. This time, I’m using beef tongue. Something you can get relatively cheaply from your butcher. The average price is about 13 euros per beef tongue. It’s not something he/she has on display, I think, but if you have a good butcher, it will definitely be somewhere in the back of the freezer/cooler. And then you’ll really get a substantial piece of meat.
Beef tongue, like ox tongue, is often considered organ meat and usually weighs around 2 kg. Beef tongue must always be boiled. If the throat piece is still attached, you’ll notice that you’ll have some delicious broth left over afterward, which you can use as a base for soups or sauces. We’re also going to boil the beef tongue for this recipe.
An important piece of information about why beef tongue is a good addition in terms of nutrients:
Unlike organ meats like liver, beef tongue provides much less cholesterol. The fat content and nutritional value are similar to other average fatty beef cuts. So, it’s also a good source of protein, iron, and zinc.
1 beef tongue
3 liters of water (or enough to fully submerge the beef tongue)
Mild salsa (store-bought or homemade)
1 red onion (thinly sliced into half rings)
Fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
150 grams of Feta cheese (cut into small cubes)
Your favorite beef- or all purpose rub
- Rinse the beef tongue thoroughly under cold running water and place it in a large pot.
- Fill the pot with water until the beef tongue is fully submerged, and add 2 bouillon cubes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer gently for 3 hours. Flip the beef tongue halfway through cooking.
- TIP: Instead of cooking in a pot, you can also cook the beef tongue in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours.
- After 3 hours, remove the beef tongue from the pot and peel off the white skin or membrane.
- Preheat your BBQ for indirect grilling and maintain a temperature of 130°C (about 266°F).
- Season the beef tongue with your favorite BBQ rub (as long as it’s suitable for beef) and place it on the BBQ to continue cooking for an additional 1 hour. For extra smokiness, you can sprinkle some wood chips onto the charcoal.
- After 1 hour, remove the beef tongue from the BBQ. Now, slice the beef tongue into small pieces.
- Warm up the wraps, and fill them with the sliced beef tongue, salsa, red onion slices, some cubes of Feta cheese, and a bit of chopped cilantro.
- Enjoy your meal!