As a pitmaster, I can attest that beef tongue is one of the most overlooked and underrated cuts of meat out there. This flavorful and tender meat is perfect for smoking, with a little guidance and patience, anyone can learn to smoke it, and today, I’ll be sharing my process on how to smoke beef tongue so you can enjoy it right in your own backyard.
What is Beef Tongue?
Beef tongue is exactly what it sounds like—the tongue of a cow. It’s an organ meat that’s often overlooked; however, when cooked and prepared correctly, it can be incredibly flavorful and tender. That makes it the perfect candidate for smoking!
Benefits of Smoking Beef Tongue
There are several benefits to smoking a beef tongue. Not only does smoking impart an unmistakable flavor that can’t be achieved with other cooking methods; but it also helps break down connective tissue within the cut of meat resulting in a more tender finished product. Additionally, the smoked beef tongue has a longer shelf life than other cuts which makes it great for meal prepping or making ahead for later use.
Ingredients and Tools Needed for Smoking Beef Tongue
- 1 beef tongue (approximately 3-4 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 cups wood chips (hickory or oak are great choices)
Preparing The Beef Tongue For Smoking
- Start by trimming any excess fat and gristle off the surface of the beef tongue. This will help ensure even cooking throughout the entire cut of meat.
- Next rinse the beef tongue under cold water then pat dry with a paper towel or kitchen cloth. This will help remove any unwanted debris as well as make sure that your rub adheres evenly over all surfaces on the beef tongue once applied.
- Once you’ve dried off your beef tongue prepare your rub by combining all ingredients listed above into a small bowl, stirring until fully incorporated. You may also choose to add sweeteners such as honey or brown sugar for additional flavor if desired, though this is entirely optional depending on personal preference.
- Finally apply your rub generously over all surfaces on your beef tongue ensuring full coverage before moving on to the next step in preparation for smoking.
Smoking Your Beef Tongue
- Start by preheating your smoker to 275°F. While it heats up, generously rub your beef tongue with oil and season with salt and pepper. This will help create a flavorful crust on the outside of the tongue.
- Once your smoker reaches the desired temperature, it’s time to add the beef tongue. Be sure to insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the tongue to monitor the temperature. Cook the tongue until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
- Next, transfer the tongue to a pan with 10 oz of water, cover it with foil, and reinsert your thermometer.
- Return to Smoker. Continue cooking until the tongue reaches an internal temperature of 195°F.
- To check the doneness, remove the tongue from the smoker and carefully peel back the skin. If it easily peels back with no resistance, the tongue is finished cooking. If there is some resistance, continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 202°F.
- Once the tongue is fully cooked, let it rest for 20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Then, slice and serve.
Tips and Tricks
- Use a meat thermometer: Checking the internal temperature of the beef tongue is crucial to avoid overcooking or undercooking the meat.
- Don’t over-season: Beef tongue is already packed with flavor, so keep the seasoning simple – salt and pepper are all you need.
- Don’t rush the resting process: Letting your smoked beef tongue rest after cooking helps the juices redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful final product.
- Different serving methods: The possibilities are endless when it comes to serving beef tongue. Some popular options include tacos, sandwiches, and salads.
Opinion From The Pros
- Adam Perry Lang (renowned BBQ chef ) suggests adding small amounts of sweetness to rubs prior to applying to add complexity caramelization while smoking
- We talked with Dave from Cookinpellets.com, who recommends using Hickory pellets to smoke beef tongue. According to him, the smoke from Hickory pellets provides a lovely balance of sweetness and tanginess, complementing the beef tongue’s natural flavor.
- As for Fine Dining Lovers, they suggest smoking the beef tongue at a lower temperature, around 190-200 degrees Fahrenheit, for a more tender and juicy result.
- If you’re unfamiliar with smoker temperature gauges invest in an instant-read digital thermometer which is used commonly among professional bbq cooks. It will be allowing you closely monitor internal temperatures during the cook process
Smoking beef tongues isn’t necessarily complicated however certain steps must be taken to ensure successful outcomes each time. From the preparation processes, the selection of quality ingredients is monitored closely. The end result surely impresses your family. Cheers!
1. Is beef tongue easy to find at the grocery store?
- Many specialty grocery stores carry beef tongue. If you can’t find beef tongue, try talking to your local butcher, who might have it.
2. How do I know if beef tongue is cooked correctly?
- Use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the beef tongue. It should reach 202 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Can I freeze smoked beef tongue?
- Yes, leftovers can be refrigerated for up to five days or frozen for up to two months.
4. What cuts of beef are similar to beef tongue?
- Beef cheek or beef tripe have similar textures and flavors to beef tongue.
5. How many servings can I get from a beef tongue?
- On average, a beef tongue can yield six to eight servings, depending on the thickness of the slices.
I spent a good bit of my 20’s touring the country playing music. As a teenager, and throughout my 20’s, in between music, I always worked in restaurants, in various capacities. Somewhere in my late 20’s I realized that I was not on the cover of Rolling Stone, as planned, and so, I started thinking about my future and trying to figure out other ways to have an impact, be creative and still live a bit of that rock ‘n roll lifestyle. The restaurant industry provided me with a good bit of those things. And so, I started honing my chops in the kitchen, putting my nose in food lover’s companion, and really started to go somewhere with it.