Pickled Tongue

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

Pickled Tongue

About This Recipe

Yield:6 or more
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:4 hours 30 minutes for cooking; 1 week for brining and cooking
Special equipment:3 to 5 quart pot
This recipe appears in: The Nasty Bits: Pickled Tongue Sandwiches


  • 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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