Does Your Food Taste You Back? Tacos Lengua

Tongue tacos

Yes. Tongue. My husband says this should come with a warning because of my pictures.  Ok it might be PG 13 as far as food is concerned, but it shouldn’t be that strange. Shouldn’t we use the whole animal? Besides doesn’t everybody appreciate a whole food? Well ok….

::: WARNING:::





To the Tongue! My favorite way to serve and eat tongue is to shred it and over spice it. This seems to minimizes the tongue quotient when serving. And how did I decide that this was something I had to learn to make? Well…

My first visit to Mexico was to meet my (now) husbands extended family. Two cars of excited people picked us up from the airport. We got back to the house and were greeted by more family and two large pots full of tamales!!! In a blink of an eye, in front of me was ponche, a warm spiced red punch with nuts and fruit, some sort of creamy thick yummy warm rice milk, and tequila. Another night we had AMAZING mole made by aunt Licha, I consumed so much mole over the course of that week that I might have started to smell like it.

Mom took us to the market in Guadalajara one day and we stopped at a vendor that sold us plates of teeny tacos. Tongue tacos.  My husband had been telling me about these tacos in the market for ages. Well he swore his love for them and I knew I had to learn to make them. As it turns out, it’s not that hard. The hardest part about it is prepping the tongue.

I have often seen tongue served boiled and sliced. Not my favorite and definitely not how you want to try tongue for the first time.

I don’t like to risk my tongue being under seasoned. I season heavily and shred it small.

To prep the tongue, place it in a pot of water along with

  • 1 onion, halved
  • bunch cilantro stems, chop & reserve the leaves for garnish
  • 1 split jalapeno
  • salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1T black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves garlic, cracked

bring water to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 6-8 hours and leave to cool in the cooking water.

Remove tongue from the pot.

Begin to clean the tongue by first removing the small bone at the base on the underside of the tongue. I rarely have these bones to deal with. With a sharp knife, slit the skin on the tongue. Slide a finger between the meat and skin to loosen. The skin, taste buds and all, should remove easily.  At this point you can slice and serve with mustard.  BORing! If you want to be like me then do this:

Shred the tongue meat. Working with the grain, it should pull apart. Now doesn’t it look like pretty shredded taco meat? It gets better…

  • Heat 2Tb fat or oil in a pan. Add to it:
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • optional, 1/2 onion, chopped
  • optional, sliced red pepper

When the garlic is light gold and the seeds are popping, add the shredded tongue meat.  Fry all together until heated through.

Serve in homemade tortillas with fresh cilantro, diced onion, and slices of lime.

2 Replies to “Does Your Food Taste You Back? Tacos Lengua”

  1. A taco truck has recently popped up in Tallahassee; they sell great lengua tacos! yum!

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