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4.67 from 6 votes

Smoking Beef Tongue

When you think of beef, you usually think of brisket or steak. Not a lot of people immediately imagine smoking beef tongue. However, this should change. Smoked beef tongue is delicious.

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beef Tongue
Servings: 4
Calories: 140kcal


  • 6-quart pressure cooker
  • Wood smoker
  • Cleaning brush


  • Beef tongue

  • 2



  • 1



  • 2

    Bay leaves

  • 6


  • 6

    Cloves of garlic

  • 1

    Onion, quartered


  • Start by washing the cow tongue well under lukewarm water.

  • You can scrub it with a vegetable brush to ensure that all debris is washed off. 

  • The cartilage and sinewy parts should also be removed.

  • If the butcher did not detach them, you can easily chop them off.

  • The skin of the tongue can also be removed at this point.

  • But, it will be harder. It is easier to remove the outer layer after the tongue has been pre-cooked.

  • To get the flavor from the brine to penetrate the tough skin, you can cut off a small piece of the skin at the thickest part of the tongue.

  • If using larger cuts of beef tongue, you can adjust the flavorings proportionally to make sure that it does not come out bland.

  • Put the cleaned tongue, water, kosher salt, bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic, and onion in a pressure cooker.

  • This brine flavoring is the traditional version, but there is no law that states that it must be followed exactly.

  • You can have your spin. For example, adding cinnamon sticks will give the dish hints of spice.

  • Cook the beef tongue for approximately 45 minutes.

  • Cooking time of the tongue will depend on the size and how tender it is.

  • Most people choose a tongue that is less than 3 lbs. because it Is softer and takes less time to cook.

  • If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can boil the beef tongue or even use a crockpot.

  • Boiling the tongue over a stovetop will take longer; perhaps, up to four hours.

  • You have the option of skipping the stage where you pre-cook the tongue. But, the results will not be as tender.

  • Peeling is technically optional. The skin is edible, but it can be leathery, so most people prefer the beef tongue without it.

  • To peel the skin, allow the pressure from the pressure cooker to come down on its own.

  • Once the pressure has stabilized, let the tongue cool a bit. You can speed up the process by putting it in an ice bath.

  • When the tongue is cool enough to handle, peel off the skin to reveal the meaty part inside. The skin should slide off quickly.

  • A tip from the pros is that if the skin does not budge or is hard to peel off, it needs more time to cook. The connective tissue will not put up a fight if the meat is sufficiently tender.

  • You can use any kind of smoker available. Originally, logs of hardwood were the only options for smoking.

  • But, there are not grills and smokers that use charcoal or gas. The woodsy, smoky flavor is obtained by adding wood chips or sawdust.

  • If you want to impart a bolder flavor on the meat, go for bigger pieces of wood. This is because they burn more slowly.

  • If the beef tongue is looking a bit dry, you can spritz it with a little water or apple juice.

  • Dry the tongue by blotting it with paper towels or allowing it to air dry.

  • The beef tongue, or for that matter, any kind of meat, should not be left out for more than a few hours unless the temperature is consistently less than 40 F. 

  • Otherwise, you run the risk of bacteria growth, which can lead to illness.

  • Season the beef tongue with salt and pepper before smoking.

  • Although the brine was already seasoned, adding another layer of flavor will ensure a stronger taste. 

  • Putting a seasoning rub on the beef tongue at this point will add a crust on the beef tongue.

  • Here, you can add other spices if you like.

  • Aside from spices, you can up the ante of flavor by adding bacon. Put a few slices of bacon on top of the tongue before turning on the smoker.

  • Another good tip for flavoring the beef tongue before grilling is to put cooking oil like olive or peanut oil around it. 

  • The temperature of the smoker should be between 200 to 250 degrees.

  • If cold smoking, the temperature should hover around 80 degrees. 

  • There is a big difference in temperatures because of the nature of hot versus cold smoking.

  • Hot-smoked meat is smoked in the same location as the wood, while cold-smoked meat is in an unheated chamber where the smoke is pumped in.

  • You can cold-smoke beef tongue if you are planning on cooking them further later on.

  • Otherwise, opt for the hot-smoking method because it combines flavor and actual cooking.

  • Fortunately, the beef tongue can be very forgiving. It can withstand higher temperatures.

  • Just make sure to adjust the cooking time to prevent it from drying out too much.

  • If using higher temperatures, you might have to add oil to the tongue.

  • Turn the tongue every 30 minutes. If you added bacon for flavor, you can replace it occasionally so that the bacon does not become bitter.

  • At around the halfway point of cooking, you might experience the tongue’s internal temperature stalling.

  • The smoking time of a tongue that weighs less than 3 lbs. is about 2.5 hours.

  • You will know that the beef tongue is done when the internal temperature registers at 150 degrees.

  • A smoked beef tongue is tasty all by itself.

  • Slice it thinly and top it off with a condiment like horseradish for a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Thin slices make the beef tongue less chewy.


Serving: 56g | Calories: 140kcal