Cast Iron

Late Night Tacos deĀ Lengua

June  6, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

I was born & raised in McAllen on the Texas/Mexico border. When I was in high school, the thing to do on Saturday night was to go to Reynosa to have drinks at Trevino's then dancing at Eddie's. They played Rock & Roll and never carded ANYBODY. Late night we would stumble out of the club where there was a strategically parked taqueria selling varios types of tacos. The most popular was "tacos de lengua" but in my youth there wasn't a chance in hell that I would eat that (though my father cooked tongue and I would often find one in the fridge just lying on a plate). I have expanded my horizons since then, but have never cooked tongue until now (thanks to the encouragement of a friend at work who's from Brownsville and the food52 recipe contests). I served this with a cilantro sour cream which is not at all what you'd get on the street in Reynosa. They might have offered grilled onions and some salsa-definitely no frills. —nannydeb

What You'll Need
  • Lengua
  • 1 1-2 pounds beef tongue
  • 1/2 yellow onion, corsely chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, cut in half
  • 3 cloves garlic, whole
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed, slightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bottle Negra Modelo
  • sliced bell pepper and onions, optional
  • corn and/or flour tortillas, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Cilantro Sour Cream
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3/4-1 cups sour cream (depending on how potent you want it)
  • salt to taste
  1. Lengua
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Place the tongue in a cast iron dutch oven with the rest of the ingredients. Add enough water to about the halfway point on the tongue. Bring it to a boil.
  4. Cover the pot and bake in the oven for about 3-3 1/2 hours or until fork tender. I flipped mine half way through. Set aside to cool a bit.
  5. Once cool enough to handle, remove the outer layer of skin and slice thinly.
  6. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Cook the sliced tongue with the peppers and onions until browned, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Serve on hot tortillas with cilantro sour cream, salsa and the rest of the Negra Modelo.
  1. Cilantro Sour Cream
  2. Toss all ingredients in the food processor and blend.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • LornaFarris
  • lapadia
  • aargersi
  • nannydeb

Recipe by: nannydeb

Former restaurant manager (and waitress, bartender, etc). I love food: eating, trying new recipes, shopping for it, talking/emailing about it, etc. My foodie friend and pen pal got me interested in recipe contests and also turned me on to food52 and now I'm obsessed!

5 Reviews

atlacm1 April 18, 2012
We've been going to an authentic Mexican restaurant just so we could have Tacos de Lengua. I was tired of having to always go out to get them, so picked up some tongue today from my local grass fed beef supplier. This recipe sounds delicious -- can't wait to try it. Looks like we'll be having tacos sometime this weekend. I'll let you know how they come out. Thanks!
LornaFarris June 21, 2011
I LOVE tongue tacos and want to make them for my birthday fiesta in a couple of weeks :-) I've been searching for a good recipe... And this looks fabulous! Love the idea of the cilantro sour cream...
nannydeb June 21, 2011
thanks! Even the people who didn't want tongue gobbled up the cilantro sour cream. It was tasty.
lapadia June 8, 2011
Love these!
aargersi June 6, 2011
I used to find a tongue in my Grandpa's fridge too! This recipe might actually get me to try one ... it sounds fabulous. Another Negra Modelo please!