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What Does Cow Tongue Taste Like?

You’re browsing your local butcher’s store, hoping to find a juicy steak or pork rib for your dinner, when you come across an intriguing piece of meat on the shelf. You look closer and see that it’s labeled ‘beef tongue’.

If you’re not familiar with tongue, and you’ve never had it before, you might be hesitant to pick some up. Some people find the idea of eating parts of the animal other than the main flesh a bit strange or unappealing. 

However, there are many benefits to eating beef tongue if you give it a chance. It is flavorful meat that is rich in useful nutrients to keep your body working properly.

What Does Beef (Cow) Tongue Taste Like?

Whether you’re a little intrigued or still dubious, you’re probably wondering what it actually tastes like before making your decision.

Here, we’ll try to describe as closely as possible, as well as give you some tips on how to cook your beef tongue to showcase its flavor. 


First of all, this meat obviously comes from a cow, which means it will taste more or less like beef.

While different parts have slightly different tastes, it usually takes a refined palette to be able to identify exactly which part you’re eating without prior knowledge.

Chances are, if you ate cow tongue and didn’t know about it, you’d be able to tell that it was some kind of beef.

Beef has a very strong umami flavor, but the tongue is just slightly milder than cuts like flank steak and rib eye. Most cows exist on a diet of mainly grass, while some are corn-fed (which is unnatural for cows).

Diet has been shown to influence the general taste of the meat – grass-fed cows produce leaner and gamier-tasting meat, whereas beef from corn-fed cows is sweeter and more fatty.

On top of this, many people prefer grass-fed beef because it is healthier for you and represents the way the meat is supposed to be, as nature intended. 

It also somewhat depends on how it has been prepared as to how it tastes; skinned cow tongue has been likened to tender shredded beef in terms of both taste and texture.

We will talk more about the texture of the meat in the next section, which concerns the structural characteristics of the tongue.

What Texture Does Cow Tongue Have?

What Does Beef (Cow) Tongue Taste Like?

The tongue is a considerable muscle exercised a lot when the cow is alive to ruminate, i.e., chewing food. As a result, it results in particularly muscular meat that is tough to chew through.

It is necessary to slow cook the tongue for long periods to combat the toughness, so some of the fibers break down. 

Some people describe the texture of the beef tongue as gelatinous due to its wealth of connective tissue and collagen.

These tissues don’t have a specific taste, but they can seem weird if you’re not used to them. You can try to cut out these parts or fry pieces of the beef tongue to give them a crispy texture. 

The beef tongue has a high-fat content, which contributes to its overall taste. While much of the fat melts away into drippings during cooking, helping to tenderize the meat, there is still a significant amount inside the tongue when you come to eat it. 

Beef tongue is not lean meat, and the levels of saturated fat make it unhealthy to consume regularly. However, it has less fat than other red meats such as pork or lamb.

How Do You Clean Beef Tongue Before Cooking?

Whatever dish you opt to cook, cleaning your main ingredient thoroughly becomes your priority. When it comes to beef tongue, it is a necessity.

Here Is The Step To Clean The Beef Tongue:

  • Take the beef tongue and put it in water, adding salt.
  • Let it boil for 15 minutes until the white layer on the tongue becomes tender to remove.
  • Once boiled, peel off the white skin from the tongue.
  • You may use a knife to do it quickly if it is still tough to peel off.

Do Beef Tongue Have Worms?

The beef tongue has worms; therefore, it is advised to clean and cook them properly. 

Sometimes, if by any chance you eat raw or undercooked beef tongue, it may result in the contamination of worms in the human intestine.

Here, one should remember that a small worm can develop up to 15m long in its adult stage.

Can You Eat Beef Tongue Raw?

Eating raw or cooked beef depends on you; however, it is not advised.

Since the beef tongue contains worms, eating it raw will lead to bacteria contamination that will affect the human intestine, resulting in severe health conditions.

What Is The Best Way To Cook Beef Tongue?

There are various methods to cook beef tongue as per your preference, but the best method is to cook it on a low flame for a more extended period until it becomes tender. However, it is not easy for everyone to do that.

Therefore there are a few different methods that might interest you:

  • Boiling
  • Braising
  • Grilling
  • Smoked Beef
  • Pickled

RELATED: 15 Beef Bottom Round Steak Recipes That Are Easy To Make

Are Beef Tongues Poisonous To Eat?

Beef tongue is a cut of beef from the tongue, which is a part of the head of the cow. Beef tongue is usually consumed in various methods. 

Beef tongue is a popular choice for restaurants and home cooks, but it has dangers. The dangers of the beef tongue are twofold. 

First, the high-fat content of beef tongue can lead to dangerous spikes in blood pressure and cholesterol. 

The second danger of beef tongue is that it can be poisonous

Beef tongue is sometimes contaminated with prions, a protein that can cause an incurable brain disease known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob.

How Can We Eat Beef Tongue?

If you are a fan of different cuisines and a meat lover, you must be familiar with the beef tongue and its popularity for the higher content of nutrients.

There are many different and unique methods to cook and have this luscious meat, and one can choose their favorite way to dive into the ocean of deliciousness.

The fiber amount in the beef tongue is easy to cut down by simmering it until it tenderizes, as the beef tongue is considered hard.

You may cut down the beef tongue into small, thick slices to roast it or pickle them to last longer. Boling the tongue and then braising the sauce gives it a smooth but irresistible flavor.

Is Beef Tongue Healthy?

There is a misconception among people that says that because having high fat, beef tongue is not healthy. However, that’s not true. Beef tongue is one of the most nutritious meat options.

Besides being high in calories and fatty acids, tongue meat is also high in zinc, iron, choline, and vitamin B12. As a result, tongue meat is considered beneficial to those recovering from illness or pregnant women. 

Cow tongue helps by providing iron, zinc, and rich omega-3 fatty acids to the body, which makes it one of the healthiest meat choices.

How Can We Store Beef Tongue?

You can extend the shelf life of your beef tongue by properly storing it, and you can also prevent cross-contamination of other groceries items.

  • You should keep the beef tongue on ice in a cooler if your drive from shop to home is long and the weather is warm.
  • Once you reach home, transfer the meat to a plastic bag with a zip lock.
  • Place it on a bowl or a platter. 
  • Please put it in the coolest part of the refrigerator, away from the door.
  • The fridge temperature should be  40 degrees Fahrenheit or less to make it last longer for 3 -5 days.

Can We Freeze Cooked Beef Tongue?

Cooked beef is good to be frozen within two hours of cooking. Freezing is the best method to increase the shelf life of cooked meat. 

To gain the benefit of freezing, one can follow the below steps:

  • Let the cooked beef tongue cool down properly at room temperature.
  • Transfer the cooked beef tongue to an air-tight container or properly wrap it in aluminum foil.
  • If you want to have the beef tongue in, you may refrigerate it.
  • But if you want it to last up to 3 months, freeze them and have it whenever you want.

How To Tell If Beef Tongue Is Bad?

Although properly storing the beef tongue can be kept reasonable for a longer time, sometimes one can get unlucky if they turn bad.

The tongue’s smell, texture, and color are the best way to determine if it is good or spoiled.

If the beef tongue feels soft while pressing and doesn’t return to its original shape, it is a direct sign that you should throw them.

When you buy the fresh beef tongue, you will see the bright color red on the outside and brown on the inside. However, if they have turned grey, proper brown, or golden mold, it is your sign to throw them.

The meat’s scent also determines whether it is good to eat. For example, if the beef tongue starts smelling fatigued and musty, you should not use the beef.

Beef Tongue Or Pork Tongue, Which Is Good?

Beef tongue and pork tongue both have their wholesomeness and are healthy in their way. However, the size of the pork tongue is more petite than a beef tongue, but it doesn’t make it less beneficial.

The beef tongue is a rich source of vitamin B, zinc, and other essential nutrient components that help improve the immune system and cell growth.

However, the pork tongue contains iron, choline, zinc, vitamin B12, riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin.

With their high nutrient content, both types of meat are considered to be one of the healthiest choices for people suffering from illnesses and pregnant women.

How To Prepare Beef Tongue?

As with everything else, how you prepare beef tongue plays an important role in its overall taste. Beef tongue can absorb flavors well, so it is ideal for serving in a wide range of marinades.

There are various ways of cooking your beef tongue – you can try roasting, boiling, braising, or even pickling.

Some of these take longer than others (for example, pickled beef tongue needs 4-5 days to be ready), but they all require a significant amount of preparation time.

Cooking beef tongue is a lengthy process, so don’t expect it to make a quick dinner when you have limited time. 

Pickled beef tongue is cured in vinegar, salt, and other spices, so will obviously have the tangy flavor that any preparation of these ingredients has.

Many people enjoy the taste of vinegar, while others find it too acidic. Curing your beef tongue in this way makes it taste similar to both corned beef and smoked ham, and indeed can be seen as halfway between the two.

To boil beef tongue, you will usually cook it together with onions and a mix of spices, so it will take on the taste of these to a certain extent.

Additionally, beef tongue is served in many cultures with horseradish sauce – this has a very pungent taste, which is known to balance the richness of the beef.

How Does Beef Tongue Look In Appearance?

While the way something looks doesn’t actually have any bearing on the taste, it can give you preconceptions, which in turn can make it come across a certain way in your mouth.

A raw beef tongue looks unnervingly like a tongue, which sounds silly, but you can’t escape that reality while you’re preparing it. There are bumps along the skin, just like with any tongue, and you can see where it has been cut away from the mouth.

The skin isn’t usually removed until after the meat is cut – once it is, the tongue starts to look more like normal meat. 

It can be difficult not to focus on the fact that you’re eating tongue, as many people aren’t entirely comfortable with the thought of eating offal of any kind.

This can make it seem chewier or suspicious-tasting than it actually is; the truth is that properly-cooked beef tongue shouldn’t have an unpleasant or unexpected taste.

What Does Beef (Cow) Tongue Taste Like?

Beef (Cow) Tongue Nutrition Value: Per Serving Of 85 GM

Nutrients Beef Tongue
Total Fat19g
Cholesterol112 mg
Total Carbohydrates0g
Dietary Fiber0g
Vitamin A0% Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin B67% DV
Vitamin B1244% DV
Zinc23% DV
Niacin15% DV
Phosphorus12% DV
Calcium0.3% DV
Iron12% DV
Copper6% DV
Riboflavin15% DV
Vitamin C1.8% DV

RELATED: 15 Beef Cheek Recipes You Can Try Tonight

Quick Table: Beef Tongue Recipes

RecipeCalories Per ServingTotal Preparation Time
Beef Tongue Stew1583 Hour 20 Minutes
Beef (Cow) Tongue Tacos2278 Hour 30 Minutes
Beef Tongue Stew3882 Hour 40 Minutes

1. Grilled Beef Tongue

If you love having a barbecue or grilled meat, then you will love the crispy and crunchy texture of the grilled beef tongue. 

In addition, beef has high nutrients in it, which makes it one of the healthy recipes to try. Although the recipes take a long time but are assured the time and effort are worth the taste you will get in the end. 

Since the tongue is tenderized, it will be easy to grill it by adding your desired spices or herbs according to your taste with brushing olive oil. 

The grilled beef tongue is an easy recipe; one can follow each step without messing. Even you can try the same recipe steps for grilling other meats too.

Calories Per Serving: 158

Preparation Time: 3 Hour 20 Minutes

2. Beef (Cow) Tongue Tacos

A taco lover knows the versatility and flavors a taco could have and can create different flavors every time you make it. Keeping this thought in mind, we brought you a recipe for cow tongue tacos that you will love.

Soaking the beef the entire night in the water along with onion, garlic, and bay leaf will give it a tender and aromatic flavor and texture that would help to cook this recipe effortlessly.

The tomatoes, peppers, and salt, along with salsa, are enough to give you a taco that will be irresistible for you. 

If you want, you may replace the herbs as per your choice of spices to make it according to your preference.

Calories Per Serving: 227

Preparation Time: 8 Hour 30 Minutes

RELATED: 15 Beef Chuck Recipes You Can Make Now

3. Beef Tongue Stew

Beef tongue is considered rich in calories and fatty acids full of nutrients. Therefore, it is helpful for people suffering from an illness or pregnant women. 

Keeping the healthy side in mind, we have picked the beef stew recipe for you.

One can add ingredients to this recipe as per the choice of taste; however, if you go with the dish mentioned below, you will also get a splendid flavor. 

With the finishing of taco seasoning and black pepper, the recipe will reach the height of deliciousness.

Calories Per Serving: 388

Preparation Time: 2 Hour 40 Minutes


It should be no surprise to learn that beef tongue essentially tastes like any other beef, since it comes from the same animal, and is a muscle in the same way that regular cuts of beef are.

You need to cook your beef tongue for hours on the stove or otherwise so that it becomes tender and much less tough to get through. This is the best way to unlock the flavor and make it as enjoyable as possible.

You may be wondering why it’s not very popular if it truly tastes good. Many people have an aversion to eating ‘weird’ parts of an animal, so it is mainly a cultural/upbringing issue.

The low demand in the US means that it’s not easy to find for those who seek it out, and it is basically limited to butcher shops. There is also the fact that there is only one per animal, whereas each cow provides a lot more meat from the rest of its body. 

If you’re serious about getting hold of beef tongue, you can find it in independent butcher shops, as well as larger grocery stores that have a full meat section.

Beef tongue is more popular in some cultures than others, so you could try your nearest Asian or Mexican market.

Make sure you have the time to dedicate to preparing your beef tongue properly, as this will make the biggest difference to how it eventually tastes.

Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cow Tongue Delicious?

Beef or cow tongue is tender and soft and tastes delicious. You can find the beef tongue easily in the Mexican market. 

It works excellent with tacos or any other recipe you like, depending on your preferences. 

How Does Beef Tongue Taste?

The beef tongue tastes precisely the same as any other beef. However, these are more soft and tender as compared to other meat. 

It absorbs the flavor and the taste of the herbs or other ingredients they are getting cooked. It has a soft texture that will melt in your mouth quickly.

Is Beef Tongue Tender Or Tough?

The beef tongue comes with a tender and moist texture. It depends on the cooking method to get your desired consistency. For instance, if you choose to cook it on low flame, it will not let the beef tongue dry.

3 Beef (Cow) Tongue Recipe To Cook

Explore 3 best and easy Beef (Cow) tounge recipe for a tasty meal.


  • Pick a recipe from the list above
  • Click the recipe name and visit the website
  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
  • Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review
Jess Smith


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