Crispy Grilled Beef Tongue Recipe

Tongue is a stress-free option for the grill.

 tongue tail grilled

Serious Eats / J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Why It Works

  • A few hours of simmering does the bulk of the work.
  • Because tongue is so fatty, you don't have to worry about it getting tough or dry on the grill.

I don't know how many times I've plopped some part of an animal into a pot with no specific intent in mind. I just know that if I tenderize the piece of offal or meat, I will figure out the rest later. Trippa alla Romana requires long-simmered tripe. Crispy deep-fried pig's earsred-braised pig's ears, or pig's ears seared in a cast iron all require the ears to be simmered beforehand.

Once the parts are tender, you can do anything you want to finish the dish and give it character—by deep-frying or pan-frying to crisp up skin and flesh, by roasting or broiling, and so forth. When cooking the cheaper cuts of the animal: necks and feet, stomachs, tails, and tongues, the game plan is always: a) Make it tender b) Add flavor and texture.

Now that the weather is getting so nice, you may not want to spend too much time in the kitchen at all. You may simply want to take your well-simmered animal parts and move them to the grill.

Tongue is a stress-free option for the grill. You simmer the tongue in water or stock, adding aromatics and spices. If I'm really pressed for time and mental reserves, I may do nothing more than plop a tongue into a pot with water and keep the heat on low. A few hours of simmering does the bulk of the work. Then you peel the tongue and cut it into thick slabs, perfect for tossing on the grill. Because tongue is so fatty, you don't have to worry about it getting tough or dry.

After grilling, serve the tongue in taco form, or drizzle on some kind of sauce or garnish, which could be no more than a mixture of olive oil, salt, and scallions. (Or, make chimichurri sauce or salsa verde, if you are so inclined to whip up a batch.)

May 2012

Recipe Facts

Active: 20 mins
Total: 3 hrs 20 mins
Serves: 8 to 10 servings

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For the Tongue:

  • 1 1/2 pounds beef, veal, or pork tongue (about 1 beef tongue or 2 to 3 pork tongues)

  • 2 quarts stock, low-sodium canned or homemade chicken stock (or water)

  • Olive oil, for brushing on tongue before grilling

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 recipe Hainnanese ginger scallion oil


  1. Place tongue(s) in a Dutch oven and cover with stock or water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, then cover and cook until tender, about 3 hours, adding extra liquid as needed. Let tongue cool, then remove from stock and set stock aside for another use.

  2. When tongue is cool enough to handle, peel outer membrane off tongue and discard. Cut tongue into 3/4-inch slices. Season with salt.

  3. Light one half chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate. Brush slices of tongue with olive oil. Grill until tongue is brown and a little crispy on the surface, then flip and grill on other side, 10 to 15 minutes total. Remove from grill and serve with ginger scallion oil or your choice of garnishes and seasonings.

Special Equipment

Dutch oven, grill


You can also grill pig's tails, trotters, ears, snouts, and hocks using this method.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
158 Calories
13g Fat
0g Carbs
10g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 158
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 67mg 22%
Sodium 104mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 104mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)