08 December 2008

Everyone Needs More Tongue in Their Life: Elk Tongue Recipe

There is a reason the old plainsmen sometimes killed buffalo cows and calves just for the tongue. It truly is a delicacy, as I discovered several years ago when I helped daughter Emily Munday's Montana History teacher kill buffalo for a class "living history" project. Students field dressed the critters with stone tools, then processed the meat, hide, and skull the next day on the school lawn. Only in Butte, Montana, I guess.

Anyway, determined to be "authentic," we also removed & cooked the tongues and found them to be good. I've been removing elk tongues ever since instead of leaving them in the field with the skull for the wolves and other scavengers. To remove a tongue, cut upward through the lower jaw, pull the tongue through, and cut at the base. Here is this year's elk tongue, laid out on the snow to cool (on the right, next to the heart):

Once home, boil in saltwater with spices (bay leaf, peppercorns, etc.). I find it takes about as long to cook a tongue as a heart (which I slice & pickle)--about three hours. You'll know the tongue has boiled long enough when it can be easily pierced with a fork:

Allow to cool and remove skin. Much of the skin will peel easily, but some usually needs to be trimmed away. Here's the boiled, peeled tongue:

I then like to coat with a chokecherry glaze (thank you, Brent and Karina Patch!), but use any glaze you like:

After coating, bake about one hour at 300 to 325 deg F. Baste occasionally with the glaze, and be careful not to burn it:

Slice about one-quarter inch thick at right angles to the axis (long way) and enjoy! Sorry I didn't get a "sliced & enjoy" pic--our dinner guests showed up (elk liver was the main entree) and pitched into it before I could clean my hands & take a photo. It is that good!


Ed said...

After you boil it, try sauteing it in butter and white wine. Not quite the plainsman method, but it is excellent. You can do the same with deer tongue, but it is smaller and you won't have much to share.

Ed Anderson

EcoRover said...

Thanks, Ed! Good to hear from you, and I appreciate another recipe to try.

~Sheepheads said...

My daughter is not sure about this? I like Ed's idea though! Next year...

Anonymous said...

here we go, i just finished cleaning and preping the heart. And wondering what to do with the tongue. Now I know. I think i will try the boil then saute in butter and wine. Thanks so much for posting.