Beef Tongue Taco Bites

Beef tongue was possibly the most confronting cut of meat that we recieved from US Wellness Meats. One thing that I (Hayley) have come to realize is that not only has following a Paleo diet made me leaner, healthier, given me clearer skin, allowed me to maintain my weight effortlessly, given me more mental clearity, balanced my energy and mood throughout the day (the list goes on, and to see that it is not always magic you can refer to my breakdown post here, but all in all it is a pretty miraculous way of eating), but it has also allowed me to be much more adventurous with my eating.
All of you faithful followers who have been with us from the beginning remember all of the chicken and fish posts that we had not too long ago. Yes, this chick used to avoid any cut of red meat for fear that it would make me sick after not eating it for so long. Well, if you would have asked me a few months ago if I’d be eating beef tongue, beef heart, or beef liver any time in the near future I would have quickly responded with a “Hell to the NO”. Little did I know that a few short months later I would be jumping at the chance to gobble up some slow cooked tongue!
Bill is much more brave in all aspects of life than I am, so that’s why I didn’t refer to him in the topic of newly adventurous palates. Anyway, despite my excitement to try the tongue, it was still a bit confronting. You see, although it is just a muscle, and when cooked and plated, looks just like any other cut of meat, it is still a tongue. Looks like a tongue, and more importantly FEELS like a tongue. I will admit, this freaked me out a bit (Hey, it serves you right for feeling it! 😛 – Bill).
I was home alone when I prepped the tongue for its night of rest in the slow cooker, and I will admit that I let out a little squeek of shock when I opened the package to rinse it off and felt all the rough little taste buds covering the surface of the giant cows tongue. Oh, and you know the soft tissue that you can feel on the side of your tongue? Yep, you can feel that on the cows tongue also… ick! The best way I can describe holding a cows tongue, is if you got licked by a giant cat. Rough, and scratchy. It was so wild that I made Bill feel it when he got home, complete with an “OMG-you have to touch it, it is SO gross!” and everything.
Well, needless to say, I got over the ick-factor of it all and pulled it together to prep the meat for the slow cooker. The following morning was a whole other beast, since we had to peel the thick skin from the tongue to get to the tender, delicious meat. We successfully did it however, and in result, we created our first dish of cows tongue that was absolutely one of the best cuts of beef we have ever had.
For the slow-cooker:
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 beef tongue, rinsed
  • 2 shallots, sliced in half
  • 1 fist of garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • Purified water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the tongue in the slow-cooker, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
  2. Place shallot, garlic and jalapeno pepper on top of the tongue, and pour just enough water to cover the tongue.
  3. Cook on low for at least 8 hours.


To season the tacos:

  • 1 slow-cooked beef tongue, shredded
  • 1 tsp each, cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper


  1. Remove tongue from slow-cooker, and peel the skin from the meat using two forks.
  2. Discard the skin, and shred the meat using the same two forks.
  3. Place shredded meat in a large skillet, and warm meat on medium heat.
  4. Season meat with cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.
  5. When all spices are evenly distributed, remove from heat and set aside.

To plate the taco bites, place a spoonful of the shredded beef tongue on an endive leaf, and top with organic salsa and cilantro.

These mini tacos were a tasty addition to a summer cookout that we had. We will admit that we were a little sad that we had to share all the delicious tongue with our friends (kidding!). Luckily, we have a second beef tongue patiently waiting for us to cook it up with a new twist in the near future. YUM!

I personally want to thank US Wellness Meats for “throwing” us into this mission of ‘random animal parts’, as we are calling it. We would probably never have thought to purchase tongue, or other organ meats on our own, and we whole heartedly feel grateful that we were given the opportunity to really flex our creative foodie minds and not only create recipes for these unique cuts, but also face our “fears” and try them for ourselves. I never would I have thought a year ago that I would be cooking beef tongue and actually eating it. I guess anything is possible when you keep yourself open to possibility.

As always, enjoy!

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    1. August 17, 2011

      So glad you posted this! I was wondering what in the heck to do with a big 'ole cow tongue! And I was curious to see if you could make it actually look appetizing. What was the meat texture like?

    2. August 17, 2011

      Thanks for posting this. Crazy, but I have a tongue or maybe two along with a couple hearts in my freezer. I grabbed them from our butcher when we picked up our beef. Thinking this should be utilized. I will try this for tomorrows supper. Today is an ordinary roast. Thanks again!

    3. August 17, 2011

      i have two tongues in my freezer.. they were going to be cat food… but now… maybe not! if i can only cook um without my hubby knowing what they are… hmmmmmmmmmmmm

    4. August 17, 2011

      I'm not sad you had to share it with your friends. 🙂

    5. August 17, 2011

      @Joni- The texture was like pot roast, or any other slow cooked meat. It was delicious!

    6. August 17, 2011

      Served on endive?! GENIUS move. I haven't had endive in a looong time, mostly because finding it in rural Nebraska is a challenge. The next time I find some, I'm gonna use endive instead of boring ol' Romaine!

    7. August 22, 2011

      I will be making this recipe this week but I have to try to cook it without my kids seeing it! LOL So glad you described the texture too. I'm nervous but excited to try it!

    8. August 24, 2011

      What temp do you think this has to cook to? I usually stay away from the crockpot and instead use the oven low heat on a cast iron "Dutch oven" (more of a campfire complete cast iron skillet and cast iron pot that I stick in a convection oven). I find this distributes heat better, specially for tough cuts of meats and roasts. I'd like to try this recipe, but wouldn't want to overcook it…

    9. August 25, 2011

      @Leo – try cooking it for 8 hours at 250 degrees, or overnight at 200 degrees. For this, the idea is low and slow, whether you're using a crock pot or the oven, you want to cook it this way to yield the same result.

    10. August 25, 2011

      Loved this recipe!! You were right, the meat was just like shredded beef or pulled pork. Same texture and every thing. The kids saw it in the crock pot but didn't know what it was. They were out of the house when I peeled and shredded it and I put the shredded meat in a bowl and stuck it in the fridge. They were around me when I made dinner and my son kept taking pieces of the meat out of the pan as I was cooking. They had NO idea what they were eating and actually went back for seconds. Only afterwards I told them what they had eaten. My daughter freaked out a little bit LOL! Thanks for the recipe. I will for sure make this again.

    11. August 27, 2011

      I made this recipe tonight, as we had tongue available at our CSA pickup this week. It's fantastic. (Thank you for the inspiration!) I'd never had tongue before, and this was the absolute perfect application.

    12. engineergirl
      October 13, 2014

      It is tasty! We’ll be serving the meat alongside scrambled eggs for breakfast. Thanks for this one!

      1. Kara McCartney
        Kara McCartney
        October 20, 2014

        They would be great as breakfast burritos!

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