Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Parts & Labor: Corned Beef Tongue pt 2

Sorry I'm a little late getting this posted. I Hope none of you were following along at home waiting for me. Then again, even if you were, you could have just left the tongue in the brine and you would have been fine. (Though you might want to soak it in water over night to mellow out the saltiness.)

When we last met, our tongue was brining in the fridge. I let the tongue brine for about 10 days to make sure the brine saturated the tongue completely. By the time it was done, the meat had a nice pink color and a moist, almost gelatinous texture. This, by the way, is how it is supposed to look.

After removing the tongue from the brine, I dumber all the liquid, but strained out the seasonings to use later. Next, the tongue goes into a pot with with water, carrots, onion, celery and the reserved seasoning.

Bring to a boil and let it go for about and hour, then comes the fun part... The outer skin of the tongue is tough and not enjoyable to eat, but luckily it peels off easily after boiling.

It is import to peel the skin while the tongue is still hot, otherwise it will be hard to get off. At this point, I cut a hunk of the tongue off, rubbed it with a seasoning mixture and threw it in the smoker to make pastrami. The rest went back in the water and cooked for another couple of hours.

Pastrami ready for the smoker

Corned tongue, ready to eat!

In my mind, the best way to eat corned beef and/or pastrami is in a a Reuben sandwich, and so that's what I did. I started a batch of sauerkraut a couple of days before i started the tongue brining and made a pretty darn good sandwich, if i do say so myself.

I know that brisket is more popular cut of meat, but as far as I'm concerned, save it for the barbecue. When it comes to corned beef, I'll take tongue any day!


  1. Thanks for posting. I know this is a stupid question but I can't help it. Does it taste like corned beef (which I love) or does it taste like tongue (which I do not love)?

  2. Now that looks tasty!

  3. dms, the flavor is very much corned beef. The texture is very soft and tender, almost silky, which is where the tongue really stands out. I don't know how you've had tongue before, but I definately recommend making corned beef from it.

  4. Ben,

    I have had it boiled, straight up, then skinned and sliced. Served as a sandwich with Mr. Mustard. The mustard was fantastic. The rest...well, I'm glad to see another prep method!!!

    I hope camping went well.

  5. Hi Ben, I found your site in a search for making tongue pastrami. Native New Englander relocated to the deep south so I am not Jewish nor up on kosher delis...so i wasn't even sure that making pastrami out of tongue was a common thing. I do miss the "real" pastrami I had growing up and this year I bought the meat from a grass fed cow. I asked for and received the tongue which I hope to turn into a pastrami.

    I have Ruhlman's book so I'm not too concerned with process of making the pastrami and your post looks like it will help me with the tongue. So how did the pastrami come out? Is pastrami a traditional or accepted use for tongue? Any watchouts specific to tongue and pastrami making that I should be aware about.

    Great site btw - I'll be following via Google

  6. Scott, good luck with that tongue. A couple of things keep in mind are that the skin on you tongue means that will want to boil and peel it before you apply the spice rub. Make sure to peel and apply the rub before the tongue cools off, this should help the spices stick. Also, I prefer the pastrami warm, so serve it fresh out of the smoker, or reheat it by slicing and gently simmering in a small amount of water.

  7. I agree with you Ben. I was given a recipe for Corned Beef Tongue. It was the best corned beef ever! I just found a relatively cheap source for tongue so I just bought a few yesterday and will begin corning them tonight. Yum!