Beef tongue is literally the tongue of cattle. The human consumption of beef tongue dates back to the days of Paleolithic hunters, who preferred the fatty portions of the carcass including tongues, as well as organs, brains, feet and marrow. Beef tongue is very high in fat, at almost 75% of its calories derived. Some countries, such as Canada, and specifically the province of Alberta who have a large beef export industry, export large quantities of beef tongue.
Beef tongue is often seasoned with onion and other spices, and then placed in a bowl to boil. After it has cooked the skin is often removed and the rest of the tongue is served. Pickled tongue is often used by the preparer because it is already spiced. If cooked in a sauce, it can then later be reused as a sauce for meatballs or any other food item.
Beef tongue around the world
Tongue is widely used in Mexican cuisine, and often seen in tacos and burritos. Boiled tongue or boiled brisket is traditionally eaten on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, a harvest festival also known as the Feast of Tabernacles. Also, beef tongue is a part of Romanian cuisine, German cuisine, Portuguese cuisine, Persian cuisine, Philippine cuisine, Albanian cuisine, Russian Cuisine and Japanese Cuisine (the dish gyutan originating in the city of Sendai).