Frugal and Healthy Meal: Tongue Tacos

I know that the notion of eating tongue is probably totally unappealing to most of you; it was to me for sure. Recently, however, at an authentic Mexican restaurant, I ordered tongue tacos and they were delicious and inexpensive! When I found out that my grass-fed, organic beef farmer sold tongue for $2.50/lb, I had to figure out a way to use it in a delicious way. Here's what I did, with pictures of the transformation from icky cow tongue to deliciously spicy, shredded beef!

This recipe is surprisingly simple to make in the slow cooker. It took about 10 minutes to prepare and 8 hours to cook. Combined with favorite taco toppings and safely tucked into an appropriate tortilla, your loved ones will never know they're eating tongue!
I know this looks like a total turnoff, but believe me, it's good! This is 1 beef tongue, covered with water and 1 onion, sliced. There is also one bay leaf floating around in there. There are also 6 cloves of crushed garlic. I added about 1 TBS of cumin to the recipe because I felt it needed a little bit more "kick". I also added a strip of kelp (kombu), even though the recipe called for salt to taste. I simply covered and turned on the crock pot and forgot about it. Then 8 hours later, I found this:

Still not the most appetizing, but oodles of delicious, gelatinous broth along with some tasty shredded beef await!

Remove the tongue. Cut away and discard the outer covering. Shred the beef with a fork or cut into little cubes. Top with your favorite taco condiments:

The verdict? Two thumbs up! My children devoured this dish, and my husband enjoyed his "hidden" in a rice tortilla! The leftovers cooked up wonderfully, refried in lard, with a splash of fresh-squeezed orange juice and chili spices.

The price breakdown is as follows:

Tongue $1.75 (this is 1/3 of the tongue, plenty for 4)
1 Onion $0.25
1 Bay Leaf $0.02
6 Cloves Garlic $0.10
1 TBS Cumin $0.10
1 Roma Tomato $0.50
1 Serrano Pepper $0.10
Shredded Cheese $1.00 (this is the raw, organic stuff,cheaper otherwise)
Romaine Lettuce $0.25
1 Lime $0.30
4 Scallions $0.50

Total: $4.87

For more frugal and healthy meal ideas, visit $5 Dinners!


maria said...

Thanks for the recipe! I have two in the freezer :D

Anonymous said...

Ok, so what's the benefit of tongue over some other cut of beef? Is it purely cost or are there nutritional benefits unique to it?

Thanks for your interesting posts!

Anonymous said...

Interesting.....I would never have thought of eating tongue but you make it look tasty. I may have to see where I can find one around here.....

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I have never eaten "tongue tacos" but, it looks so delicious, I think that I have many ingredients in my house, and my mother eats so good, may be she wiil try to cook this great recipe.