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Smoking Beef Tongue Part II

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Smoked Beef Tongue

Old-fashioned smoked tongue is hard cured in the same way as corned beef. Because of the high salt content, it must be placed in a large kettle, covered with water, and simmered for about an hour per pound (450g). This long period of simmering extracts the excess salt.
The excellent refrigeration available nowadays allows you to use a mild cure that does not require simmering to extract excess salt. The modern dry cure method infuses just the right amount of salt to match your taste.
If you have ever tasted old-fashioned smoked tongue, you will most certainly say that the smoked tongue produced by the following process tastes much better. This is because the smoke flavor, the meat flavor, and the seasonings are not dissolved out of the tongue by a long period of simmering in water.
This mildly cured, smoked tongue is quite easy to make, but the whole process will require about two weeks of curing and about six hours of smoking.
Normally, meat is cured and smoked before it is cooked. This smoked tongue is unusual because it is cooked before it is smoked. (You cure first, then cook, and then smoke.) This is done because the skin should be removed before smoking, and it is most easily removed from the tongue after cooking has taken place.
Of course, if the skin is removed from the raw tongue in the begin­ning, the more common order (cure, then smoke, and then cook) could be employed. A raw tongue can be skinned if it is first frozen solid. A razor-sharp knife must be used, and work must begin at the tip of the tongue while the tip is still frozen and stiff. I have skinned a frozen tongue many times, but it is extremely dangerous and not recommend­ed. However, if you do try it, make sure that there is never anything in front of the cutting edge of the knife other than the tongue itself. The knife will slip and leap forward many times. Also, be sure to count your fingers before and after this procedure. Japanese butchers frequently use this method to skin tongues, but I don’t think a reasonably sane American butcher would consider it. A safety matter aside, skinning a raw tongue is a labor-intensive and time-consuming operation.


Any size of beef tongue can be used, but tongue lovers claim that tongues weighing less than 3 pounds (1,400 g) are best. Another consid­eration is that small tongues cure faster than large ones. Frozen tongues work just as well as fresh.
If there is a meatpacker or distributor in your area, you might be able to buy frozen Grade 2 beef tongues. The price, will he about half the price of fresh tongues sold at a common supermarket. Grade 2 tongues are cheaper because they have a hook mark or a knife slash that distracts 1mm the appearance.
Scrub the tongue very well with a vegetable brush under lukewarm water. Drain, and refrigerate it while preparing the cure.


The total curing time depends on the thickness of the tongue. Measure across the top of the tongue at the thickest point (from the right side to the left, where the big taste buds are located). Allow seven days of cur­ing time for every inch (2.5 cm) of thickness.


1 Tbsp. (15 ml) salt
I tsp. (5 ml) granulated sugar
¾ tsp. (3.75 ml) onion powder
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) oregano
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) Prague Powder #1
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) black pepper
½ tsp. (2.5 nil) garlic powder
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) red pepper, or cayenne
1 shredded Bay Leaf (do not mix with the ingredients listed above)
Total: 7 Tsp. (35 ml)—--excluding the bay leaf,


7 tsp. (35 ml) per 2 1/4 lbs. (1 kg) of tongue +• one hay leaf
3½ tsp. (17.5 ml) per l lb. (500 g) of tongue ~ ½ bay leaf
1¾ tsp. (8.73 ml) per 1/2 lb. (250 g) of tongue ± ¼ bay leaf
¾ tsp. (3.75 ml) per 1/4 lb. (125 g) of tongue


¾ Cup (180 ml) salt
4 tbsp. (60 ml) sugar
3 Tbsp. (45 ml) onion powder
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) oregano
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) Prague Powder #1
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) black pepper
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) garlic powder
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) red pepper
I shredded bay leaf per 2¼ lbs. (1 kg) of tongue (do not mix with the ingredients listed above)

1. It is very important to pierce the tongue thoroughly. To get even better cure penetration, slice some of the skin off the top of the tongue where it has the most bulk. This will greatly improve the cure penetration

2. Weigh the tongue. Prepare, calculate, and measure the required amount of curing mixture (use the Cure Mix Measuring Chart).
3. Place the tongue in a curing container having a tight—fitting lid. Sprinkle on the curing mixture, and rub the meat well to ensure equal distribution of the cure. Cut the required amount of bay leaf into very thin stops (scissors work well for this). Sprinkle the bay leaf strips on the tongue, and rub again. Cover and refrigerate the tongue.
4. Overhaul the tongue after about 12 hours of curing. When it is being overhauled, reapply any juices that may have oozed from the meat.
s. Overhaul the tongue once a day for the first week, and then over­haul it every other day until the required curing time has elapsed.
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 

Part II


1. Rinse the cured tongue very well in lukewarm water. Put it in a stur­dy and watertight plastic bag (two plastic bags, one inside the other, are even better). Remove as much air as possible. Seal the bag(s) tightly with a wire bread-bag tie, and cook in water heated to 200’ F (93° C). Make sure that the tongue is pressed below the surface of the hot water. Caution: If the water reaches the boiling point, the bags may balloon and burst.
2. Cook from an hour to an hour and a quarter per pound (450 g). The longer time will result in a very tender product; the shorter time will produce a tongue with a little more resistance to the bite.
3. Open the plastic bag(s), and drain the tongue in a colander (juice from the cooked tongue will have accumulated in the plastic bag—— this may be discarded). Skin the tongue, and trim the root (the underside) with a sharp knife. Because the tongue has been cooked, the skin can now be sliced off easily Rinse and drain again. (When slicing off the skin, you will notice that the tongue is a beautiful maroon color. The heat from the cooking, together with the small amount of sodium nitrite in the Prague Powder #1, has caused the color to be fixed.)
4. Wrap the tongue in paper towels, and then wrap it again with news­paper. Refrigerate overnight.

1. Rinse the cured tongue very well in lukewarm water. Wrap it tightly with plastic food wrap.
2. Insert the probe of an electronic meat thermometer into the thick­est part of the tongue; stick the probe through the food wrap. (The electronic meat thermometer should be the type that has a cable attached to an external temperature-monitoring unit)
3. Place the tongue in a steamer, and steam it until the internal tem­perature reaches 170° F (77° C). Continue to steam for 45 minutes more so that the tongue will become tender.
4 Remove the tongue from the steamer, place it in a colander and remove the plastic food wrap. Use a sharp knife to shave off the skin. Rinse the tongue again and drain it
5. Wrap the tongue in paper towels and newspapers. Refrigerate it overnight.

1. Dry the tongue In front of an electric fan. Blotting it from time to time with a paper towel will help the drying process go faster. Depending on the ambient humidity and other factors, the surface will become dry in one or two hours. During this time, ft is best to make sure that dogs, cats, skunks, raccoons, or other animals can­not gain access to it.

2. If you intend to net-tie the tongue and hang it in the smoke cham­ber, you should tie it at this point. A net-tied tongue will make a more attractive product than one that has been hung by hooks or placed on a rack.

3Rub the entire tongue with olive oil, peanut oil, or any other cook­ing oil (The oil helps to prevent the surface from drying excessive­ly, and It gives the tongue an eye-pleasing sheen.) Begin smoking,
4 Ideally, cold smoking at about 80° P (27° C), or less, is best. Six hours of cold smoking will impart a medium smoky flavor. The tongue may be smoked at higher temperatures, but the smoking time might have to be reduced to prevent excessive drying of the surface. If smoking is done at higher temperatures, reapplication of cooking oil from time to time is advised.

5. Chill overnight, uncovered, in the refrigerator. Place the tongue in a plastic bag. Refrigerate or freeze the tongue until it is consumed.

Smoked tongue is gourmet fare, and it is very tasty when it is served either hot or cold. Slice it thinly, and serve it as an appetizer, Fry it for sandwiches. Try it on crackers, or mince it and add it to scrambled eggs or salad. Mustard and horseradish are traditional dressings for tongue, but I find them too harsh for the subtle flavors of this product.

This was taken from the book "Mastering the Craft of Smoking Food"
By Warren R Anderson

I had to break it down into 2 posts as it was too big for one post.
post #3 of 4

This has got me to thinking . . .

and yes my head does hurt-fighting another migraine!!

I wonder how the Buckboard Bacon cure would work on a beef tongue?

Any thoughts?

Sorry 'Rib-didn't mean to hi-jack your excellent thread! BTW, the above method is pretty close to how we did tongues when we had the smokehouse.
post #4 of 4
Bet it'd make a good Canadian bacon sort of - beef version.
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