Contains: Nightshades (but you can opt out.) Is: Offal, not awful. Gluten-free, paleo, Whole30.
Yes, this post does include photos of actual bison tongues. Consider this a squeamish alert.
This bison tongue was obtained from Wild Idea, a bison-raising venture in Montana. And they are effectively raised wild, as the ranch covers a LOT of square mileage – well over a hundred I believe.
For the first sous vide venture, I decided to go for a braising, “firm but shreddable” which in the below is recommended to cook for 1 to 2 days at 156 F / 69 C. One day seemed enough to me. The link refers to beef but bison/buffalo should not be any different. The site below also has recommended temperatures for braising that is suitable for seriously shredding the tongue meat (higher, obviously), but I really only like meats that become very shreddable if the purpose will be carnitas or tacos. (Well, a truly tough meat such as beef brisket is great that way, too…) The second part of my decision, in order to differentiate this recipe from older profiles I’ve used, is to then slice the tongue relatively thinly, and fry it in a skillet. With things that happened to be around the house, anyway.
For the second, I’ve prepared using a sous vide plan for medium rare tongue steaks – never having had medium rare tongue before, I was also game to try this. The site said 131 F for 2 to 3 days, but I decided to up this to 134 F / 57 C, simply due to the fact that if the temperature gauge in the sous vide device was a little bit off, this could be below the USDA cooking recommendations of not sous-viding at less than 130 F for extended periods of time. That as noted will be my second recipe, and I plan to serve as a salad.
I’m going to mention once again we grew up with mother’s home-cooked tongue recipe, and frankly I never saw anything “odd: about eating this delicious piece of meat. It may well have been something her own mother would make back down in Kentucky. Truth be told, tongue is a muscle, not an organ, anyway.
RECIPE ONE: (Braised at 156 F / 69 C). Prepared to be served April 12th, 2020).
For this I wanted to be simple. I didn’t even bother to add salt to the sous vide bag. There’s a certain natural saltiness to tongue anyway. Ground cloves, however, sounded like a great way to bring this dish to a flavor ambiance that Mother always used. Adding slits through the skin and into the meat would help the clove flavor permeate deeply.
Since this was a braised endeavor, I cut the slices relatively thin – and I cut the tip longitudinally – but you can cut the whole thing the same way as the back of the tongue. (I simply did the longitudinal method to show the tongue for photography.)
To be honest, you don’t even need to pan fry this. I simply did it for the extra flavor – and besides I’ve never pan fried nor seared tongue before, so I figured, why not???
For the veggies, I wanted something that would join this in the skillet and would pan-fry nicely (and which would happen to be in my home). You can start the peppers with the onions, or do as I did and add the pepper after the onion and then the meat – I know I’m rather alone on this, but I really really prefer my peppers (bell or poblano) to have some more au-dente crunch to them. (I wrote the recipe for those who would prefer the peppers a bit more cooked.)
The drippings from the tongue are good – you can save what you don’t use in the cooking step for gravy makings for some future dish. Thickened up, it may even be great over mashed sweet potatoes, or over scalloped Yukon golds, with that clove profile.
The tongue cooked this way is quite moist, and holds a good flavor. You don’t need condiments for it, but if you like, a good Dijon mustard and/or horseradish makes for an excellent side choice.
Leftovers can be re-heated and enjoyed as-is, or chop this into a salad. Or put the slices into sandwiches, either hot or cold. This is slightly shred-able, so you could enjoy adding leftovers to tacos.
Prep Time: 15 minutes.
Sous Vide Time: 24-48 hours. I used 26 hours.
Sous Vide Temp: 156 F / 69 C.
Cook/Sear Time: 15 minutes.
Rest Time: Not needed.
Cuisine: American, with probably a bit of Southern or Pennsylvania Dutch accent.
Leftovers: Yes. Just re-heat. Or, eat cold.
Braised Sous Vide Bison Tongue, Pan-Fried Finish with Onion & Pepper
- One bison (or beef) tongue.
- 1 heaping teaspoon ground cloves.
- 1 medium onion, chopped.
- 1 large bell pepper or (as I did) 2 poblano peppers. De-seeded and chopped.
- Sea salt and ground pepper to taste.
- Optional: Dijon mustard, a brown spicy mustard, or horseradish (which can be “prepared” ie, this is just shredded horseradish — or a creamy horseradish sauce).
Pre-heat the sous vide pot to 156 F / 69 C.
Take the raw tongue, and make piercings into the skin and flesh, using a paring knife.
Rub the ground cloves all over the tongue, including into the slits.
Insert the tongue into a large sous vide bag, and either vacuum seal or use a silicon zip lock style bag with water displacement method. (If you don’t have large enough a bag, using two smaller bags and cutting the tongue in half will also do.) I recommend NOT using a store bought plastic zip lock bag as the plastic used for those will give an “off” taste to the meat at the temperature used here.
Place the bagged tongue in the water bath, weighing it down if necessary with a suitable object. Cover the top of the pot or bath with a lid or foil.
Allow to sous vide for 24-48 hours, checking water level often to make sure that the water hasn’t evaporated too low – add more as needed.
Prep the veggies shortly prior to the end of the sous-vide time.
Remove tongue from bag when ready to use, reserving the liquids.
Try to remove the skin – for some reason I was not able to do so (as I can with tongue cooked by more conventional means. If you can not, either, it turns out that the skin prepared as this was prepared, is actually soft and edible.
Begin to sauté the veggies in a large skillet, with the cooking oil. Allow to cook until the onions go translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
Slice the tongue into approximately 1/3 inch slices, and add to the skillet, along with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the meat of each slice to brown, about two minutes, and flip to fry the other side.
Add about 1/3rd cup of the sous vide broth.
Cook down for about five more minutes, turning the meat once or twice.
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I so admire your adventurous spirit. I like to think I am adventurous, too, but I can’t bring myself to this, no matter that I know it’s absolutely delicious. I’ve always secretly thought people who wouldn’t try new things were – well, I won’t say – and here I am, one of them!
Keep cooking and eating and writing, I’ll keep reading. Thanks!
Thanks so much, Shermy! I do hope you get to try tongue some day, perhaps at someone else’s home, so you don’t need to take more than a taste to try it.
You have the most interesting recipes! As Sherrmy says, I am not sure I will ever make this but I enjoyed reading about it. Thank you for bringing it to FF.
Grin… but maybe someday you might??
I have had beef tongue in the past and liked it. I have never seen bison tongue though. It’s a large piece of meat though and there are only two of us right now. So it’s a maybe.
It does make for great leftovers, if you find it. Being one person, I’ve no problem with additional meals. I’ve seen it at a few farmers’ markets (well, back in Connecticut.) Back when I was growing up, Mom found it frequently.
I’ve had beef tongue before. Several times, actually. I’ve even had smoked tongue. Quite good, really. I haven’t had the chance to cook with it, though. It’s very hard to find.
It is near impossible to find in supermarkets nowadays. I get mine from farmers’ markets (or in the case of the bison, online). Mother used to find the smoked version of beef tongue regularly, back in the day. Once I get a smoker someday, I hope to try smoking my own. (Well, not MY own… but you know what I mean!)