Barbacoa de Lengua, or Beef Tongue Barbacoa, is a traditional Mexican dish that showcases the art of slow cooking and the ability to transform an often overlooked cut of meat into a tender and succulent delicacy. This mouthwatering dish, steeped in rich flavors and cultural significance, offers a unique and unforgettable dining experience.
Barbacoa is a traditional cooking method in Mexico that involves slow-cooking meat in a pit or steaming it in a covered pot, resulting in tender and flavorful meat. Lengua, or beef tongue, is a prized ingredient in Mexican cuisine due to its rich flavor and unique texture. Barbacoa de Lengua is a classic variation that elevates beef tongue to new heights, showcasing its versatility and culinary potential.
Growing up, I used to help my father prepare the barbacoa. We lived on a ranch and the traditional way was to get a cow head and wrap it in maguey leaves and then place the head in a pozo “hole” in the ground that was filled with red hot stones. Once the head was placed inside, it was covered with a burlap blanket and covered with dirt and left overnight. It was a big affair and was one of my fondest memories of making a traditional breakfast.
Living in Austin, Texas, I could not really duplicate what we used to do on the ranch so I developed an easy to use alternative.
Barbacoa can be made of beef, lamb or mutton but my recipe uses beef tongue. It’s delicious and even better if you also serve it along with Mexican menudo but that is a different story!
I almost always prepare it on a Saturday night, and then have the family over Sunday morning to keep our tradition of the Sunday morning breakfasts. Usually my wife will make a double batch of homemade flour tortillas Saturday night so that we can cook them fresh while i’m getting the barbacoa ready in the morning. Enjoy!
- 1 Beef Tongue frozen
- Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.
- Open and remove tongue from package and rinse under cold tap water, very well until it no longer has blood.
- Place the rinsed tongue on a large sheet of aluminum foil and wrap well. Repeat 2 more times with additional sheets of aluminum foil. You want to make sure that you have a well wrapped tongue that is going to retain the moisture and juices from the tongue.
- Place the wrapped tongue on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with another sheet of aluminum foil.
- Cook the tongue for 10 hours. I usually put it in around 9:00pm and take it out at 7:00am if it is a large tongue. If using a fresh tongue, cook the tongue for 9 hours at 265 degrees.
- NOTE: Once you pull the tongue out of the oven, it should be very soft when you cut into it. If not, place it back in for additional time.
- Remove the tongue from the aluminum foil and place on a cutting board. Let rest for 10 minutes and then remove the skin using a knife. It should be very easy to peel if cooked correctly. Trim off any fatty tissue at the bottom and back end of the tongue. Cut into large chunks and place in a bowl.
- Using 2 forks, shred the meat until the meat is no longer in chunks. Remove any pieces of fat or other pieces that do not shred. If the meat is not moist, use some of the drippings that have accumulated in the pan.