Beef Tongue Escabeche : Escabeche de Lengua de Res : Honey and Sriracha

Beef Tongue Escabeche

Beef tongue. I like it… it is a bit odd or uncommon going to a store and picking up a big cow tongue… probably doesn’t even sound appetizing to many I’m sure and a bit hard to work with, but I find it a versatile cut and with some preparation can be turned into tasty dishes. I think it makes a really good pâté, and a really great pasta sauce with tomatoes, onion, and fresh herbs. In Mexico, tacos de lengua are popular, although I’ve never seen them here in LA, but I’ll admit I have not been looking hard at all. I basically cooked this cut in salt, sugar and vinegar. I wanted to infuse acidity into the meat because of  how fatty beef tongue is. Escabeche is very common in Spain, specially in fish preparations. Cooking/blanching fish in acidic ingredients like vinegar. I took a similar approach but decided to use my proudly purchased tongue with some staple asian ingredients. Soy sauce and rice vinegar: Beef Tongue Escabeche.



1 cup soy sauce (tamari)
1 cups rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 beef tongue whole
1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot , coarsely chopped
1 whole head of garlic cut in half

Plating (garnishes):

Sriracha sauce
Radishes thinly sliced
Green onions, thinly sliced, and green stems whole
Sesame seeds, roasted


Beef Tongue Escabeche


Add carrot, onion, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and enough water to cover the tongue by 1 inch.


Beef Tongue Escabeche


A beef tongue is a tough tough meat to break down. I would recommend using a pressure cooker for this muscle. Even though I cooked it for a little over an hour, I think it could easily withstand 2 hours and not fall apart. I don’t want it to fall apart. I want to be able to cut it and pan sear it eventually.


Beef Tongue Escabeche


Once cooked, you can place it in an ice bath briefly before you proceed to remove the skin. The whole of the tongue is covered by very tough skin which will pull away easily after cooking. Use your fingers. Once the skin is remove,  set aside. Strain the cooking liquid and transfer to a non reactive container. Place the tongue in the cooking liquid and allow to marinate in the fridge fora couple of days. I know, this is all time consuming it will pay off. Taste the cooking liquid and adjust the flavor of it, add more sugar, vinegar or soy sauce until it tastes delicious.



Beef Tongue Escabeche


Take tongue out of the marinade and dry with kitchen towels. From the tip to the base, the tongue becomes less chewy and more fatty, experiment. The base of the tongue can be removed entirely. Its basically a complex system of membranes that connect the tongue to the lower jaw. Unless you grind it, this part of the tongue will not have a pleasant texture. Reserve for other purposes. I use slices from the section of the tongue closer to the base which are more tender. Sear on a skillet with a little vegetable oil and reserve.


Beef Tongue Escabeche


For plating. Dice the slice of tongue into little cubes. Place your garnishes on the plate. Place tongue pieces over the radishes, drizzle with honey, add a few drops of sriracha sauce. Serve. The sweetness of the honey balances the acid that’s been infused in the meat. Sriracha sauce adds that something something that completes the dish in my opinion (or maybe I’m just addicted to this thing and would find ANY excuse to use it), and pairs well with the honey. And there it is, beef tongue escabeche to be served as an appetizer. Thanks for checking in! more recipes and techniques coming soon!

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  1. Next generation computers should allow us to reach into the screen and pull out this dish so I can try it NOW! I love tongue I just have no clue how to cook it. This looks really really good.

    1. hahahah! thank you :)!!!! Tongue is really simple to cook, just takes time for it to break down… without pressure cooking it, is hours of cooking. Peeling the skin is a bit odd and removing the parts that aren’t eye pleasing takes some practice, but well worth going to the store, picking one up and start practicing!

  2. Your plating and photography skills are fantastic! This dish looks beautiful! You took something that sounds scary (to me at least, I don’t think I’ve actually had beef tongue) and turned it into a mouthwatering dish. Thanks for sharing 😀

    1. you are too nice Ada! Im so glad you like the post!!! Beef tongue can be a bit scary… it is a massive tongue laying on the cutting board after all hahahah 🙂 but with little practice it can be turned into yummy food. thank you for visiting!!

  3. This looks so good, Paul, and is very well plated. It really does look like something you’d see served on Iron Chef. Well done! I’ve eaten and enjoyed “lengua” but I don’t think I could prepare it. I’ve seen tongue in the meat display and I just can’t convince myself to buy and cook it. I guess I’ll have to be content with ordering it when I’m out. 🙂

    1. ah!! thanks John! thats a really nice compliment! I hear yah, tongue is one of those things that just doesn’t lend itself to be cooked, the look of it in its raw form is less than appealing, but possibly because is a more recognizable part of the animal? it does take some work to get beef tongue cooked and served, but I admit it, I really enjoy the process and wouldn’t not be against taking butchering classes at some point! 🙂

  4. What an amazing dish … and presentation. I would pay gladly for this dish on a restaurant. Veal tongue is a part of our Christmas buffet, more in the old days .. than today.

      1. Veal tongue was my grandma used for X-mas .. but so hard to get hold of those days, even if I can see it at time at my supermarket, all because we have so many immigrants in my little town and they have brought so much new products to the shops.

        1. im searching quickly online and so far there’s no indication this is an easy item to find. Im sure I can go talk to butchers around here and they might have it. Interesting. The pics look delicious… cooked I mean 🙂

  5. You’ve made it so artistically. I am definitely NOT a sqeemish person when it comes to eating “weird things” but I’ve just realized that I’ve never eaten tongue before even though its on my list of things to try…

  6. Love your playful plating here. I love tongue, but I rarely cook it. You’ve inspired me to hunt some down so I can cook some old school Polish recipes. 😉

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