Deer Tongue Tacos: Utilizing More of Your Harvest

This week's recipe brought to you by:

John Wallace

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A recipe that is not as uncommon as you may think, tongue tacos are a big hit with the food truck scene. I was inspired to try tongue tacos by @HuntGatherCook (Hank Shaw) with this Tacos De Lengua Recipe. Its so easy and something worth trying. Hank and @StevenRinella are 2 of my biggest influences when cooking #wildgame, especially when using more of the “off cuts”. Once you get past the fact you are eating tongue, and just enjoy the food, you will have a much deeper appreciation and connection with your harvest. That said, if you are strictly looking to pull this recipe off with deer tongues, you will either need to start saving them from your own harvests or put a feeler out to your hunting buddies and let them know you’d like to have their tongues. When removing the tongue from the animal, it is best to have the bottom of the head (lower jaw) looking up at you and using your Razor Pro to cut on the inside of the jaw line, giving you access to the inside of the mouth. Once you have made your cuts, you should be able to reach your fingers into the jaw and pull the tongue out, enabling you to cut it from the very back of the tongue. If you try to go in from the opening of the mouth, you will likely only get the front half of the tongue. Any tongue taco recipe works here, Hank’s recipe is pretty simple and he is a great advocate for hunters, and he has a handful of great wild game and fish cookbooks. This recipe can be found in his “Buck Buck Moose” cookbook. 

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time:
2-3 hours
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

An elk moose or bison tongue, or 4 to 6 deer tongues
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked
2 tablespoons salt
A spring of epazote (optional)
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
Corn tortillas
Salsa, canned or homemade
Diced or sliced avocado (optional)
Chopped cilantro, onion, radish and serrano chiles

Cooking:

Simmer the tongue. Put the tongue or tongues in a large pot and cover it with water by 2 inches. Bring the water to a simmer and add the onion, garlic, bay, black peppercorns, epazote and salt. Simmer the tongue until the sharp point of a thin knife will pierce it easily, about 2 to 3 hours. 

Prep the tongue. When the meat is tender, set it on a cutting board to cool somewhat. When it’s just barely cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard. You can do all this up to a week ahead if you want. Just cool the peeled tongue and wrap in plastic wrap, it’ll keep in the refrigerator a week.

Brown the meat. When you’re ready to make the tacos, cut the tongue meat into large pieces. Sear in the lard until they’re nicely browned, then chop roughly. Serve on warm corn tortillas with the salsa, avocado, cilantro and other garnishes.