Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tacos de Lengua (Cow Tongue)

The first time I tried lengua I was at an East Dallas taqueria with my uncle. I must've been around ten years old. He handed me a "beef" taco and I happily devoured every last bite. It was delicious.
Only after the fact did he inform me that it was lengua, and that lengua is actually cow tongue. Surprisingly I was unaffected and just wanted another taco. Lengua continues to be one of my favorite taco fillings and its always the first thing I try at a new taqueria. Here's how to make it at home.

Tacos de Lengua (Cow Tongue)
(printable recipe)

1 cow tongue (about 3.5 lbs)
2 onions, quartered
1 head garlic, cloves crushed
6-7 bay leaves
1 tsp. mexican oregano
1 tbsp. peppercorns
1 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. comino
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 serrano, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Rinse the tongue and place in a large crockpot*. Add onions, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, peppercorns, salt, and comino. Cover with water and cook on low, about 6 hours.

Remove the tongue from the broth and set on a cutting board to cool for a moment. While its still warm peel off the skin. (Its easiest to start peeling at the back of the tongue and tug forward) Cut away the base of the tongue where it was attached to the mouth (this part is tough).

Slice the tongue crossways in 1/2" slices, then dice it. Sautee the tomatoes, onion, serrano, and garlic in a little oil until cooked through and fragrant. Add the cubed tongue and 1/2-1c of the cooking liquid. Season to taste with salt, pepper, comino, and chili powder. Simmer briefly to reduce the liquid.

Serve in corn tortillas with onion, cilantro, lime and fresh salsa.

*Alternately you can make this in a stockpot. Bring the water to a boil, add the tongue, onions, garlic, and seasonings. Reduce heat to simmer and cook about 1 hour per lb.


  1. Yum...I love tongue! It's not very pretty when it's cooking, but it sure is tasty!

  2. When I first had tongue tacos - someone made it for us as an alternative to regular barbacoa tacos - it took me awhile to get over just what i was eating, but it's really delicious. these look wonderful.

  3. I dunno, man. I'll eat tripe all day, but I can't do tongue.