Pickled Tongue

The Nasty Bits

Recipes and stories for everything but the oink.

Pickled Tongue
  • Yield:6 or more
  • Active time:30 minutes
  • Total time:4 hours 30 minutes for cooking; 1 week for brining and cooking
This recipe appears in:
The Nasty Bits: Pickled Tongue Sandwiches

Adapted from The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall


  • 1 calves or beef tongue
  • For the brine:
  • 3 quarts water
  • 9 ounces brown sugar
  • 27 ounces coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 2 cloves
  • For simmering:
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved


  1. 1.

    Put all the ingredient from the brine into a large saucepan and stir well over low heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and leave to cool.

  2. 2.

    Place the tongue in a plastic container and pour the brine over the tongue, using something heavy such as a ceramic bowl to weigh down the tongue in the liquid. Refrigerate for 4 to 5 days. On the fifth day, remove the tongue from the brine and soak in fresh water overnight in the refrigerator.

  3. 3.

    Place the salted tongue in a pot along with the simmering ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3.5 to 5 hours, depending on the kind of tongue and the size. The tongue is ready when it is very soft. Peel away the rubbery lining.

  4. 4.

    Serve the tongue, both hot and cold, with horseradish and mustard. Thinly sliced tongue may be used for a sandwich on rye with plenty of mustard and horseradish.

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