Beef Tongue Tacos

I remember years ago when my coworkers and I went to our local taqueria  and one of my colleagues ordered beef tongue tacos. I didn’t flinch at all as I was used to plenty of my friends eating ‘weird’ things in my life. I always had an interest in beef tongue, and on a recent visit to my favorite taqueria, I decided to get a beef tongue taco, or taco de lengua, and base my own recipe off what my experience was with theirs. To say the least, the beef tongue taco was amazing, not only in how ‘beefy’ it tasted, but also in texture. I swear, if I served you own, you would most likely think it was some type of beef. That’s when I decided to take things in my own hands, and head back to the meat department and order a tongue.

I did not tell anyone the following day (well I told my daughter as she was baking a cake) what I was making as I wanted to surprise them when I was going to serve the tongue tacos the following day. Were they surprised? Yes.

Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe
Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe

Making the beef tongue takes a few hours to make, but it is totally worth it, plus you are left with some awesome beef stock when you are done.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 beef tongue
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tbsp whole black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 dried chili piquin
  • 2 whole onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bunch of cilantro stems (use the ends of the fresh cilantro)
  • flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • limes, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil

Start by taking the tongue and adding it to a large saucepan. Add water and make sure it covers the tongue by a couple of inches. Place this on medium heat, and boil for about 2 hours.

After 2 hours, remove the tongue and place onto a cutting board. Pour the water out and wash out the saucepan.

Return the tongue back to the pot, cover with water again, then add in your aromatics. Add the jalapenos, black pepper, salt, bay leaves, piquin, quartered onions, garlic, and cilantro stems. Bring this to a simmer, and cook for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, remove the tongue, and strain the stock. Discard the stock solids, but reserve the stock (it’s really great).

Next, take the tongue and rinse under cold water. Now it’s time to peel the outer layer as that is not desired. If you cannot easily peel it, use a pairing knife and trim all of it away, exposing the cooked beef tongue.

Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe
Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe

Discard the outer layer, then cut your beef tongue into strips, then into bite-sized chunks. Season with a pinch or two of salt. Mix, and get ready to sear it up for your tacos.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat, then add a tablespoon of oil. Once heated, add in some of the beef tongue, and cook until it gets a slight sear on them. Once seared, add a spoonful or two of the reserved stock. Heat through until the stock reduces, then remove from the heat.

Take a flour tortilla, load it with some of the beef tongue, and top with cilantro and onion. Squeeze some lime, and dig in.

Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe
Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe

It is everything I love about a simple taco. A slightly charred flour tortilla with a bite from the jalapeno and onion, along with the tartness from the lime. I’m in. Now with the nicely charred tongue, and now I have a new favorite taco.

Short of the story… DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY NEW THINGS! The new things can be down right amazing.

Beef Tongue Tacos
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 beef tongue
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tbsp whole black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 dried chili piquin
  • 2 whole onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bunch of cilantro stems (use the ends of the fresh cilantro)
  • flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • limes, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
Instructions
  1. Start by taking the tongue and adding it to a large saucepan. Add water and make sure it covers the tongue by a couple of inches. Place this on medium heat, and boil for about 2 hours.
  2. After 2 hours, remove the tongue and place onto a cutting board. Pour the water out and wash out the saucepan.
  3. Return the tongue back to the pot, cover with water again, then add in your aromatics. Add the jalapenos, black pepper, salt, bay leaves, piquin, quartered onions, garlic, and cilantro stems. Bring this to a simmer, and cook for 4 hours.
  4. After 4 hours, remove the tongue, and strain the stock. Discard the stock solids, but reserve the stock (it’s really great).
  5. Next, take the tongue and rinse under cold water. Now it’s time to peel the outer layer as that is not desired. If you cannot easily peel it, use a pairing knife and trim all of it away, exposing the cooked beef tongue.
  6. Discard the outer layer, then cut your beef tongue into strips, then into bite-sized chunks. Season with a pinch or two of salt. Mix, and get ready to sear it up for your tacos.
  7. Heat a large skillet on medium heat, then add a tablespoon of oil. Once heated, add in some of the beef tongue, and cook until it gets a slight sear on them. Once seared, add a spoonful or two of the reserved stock. Heat through until the stock reduces, then remove from the heat.
  8. Take a flour tortilla, load it with some of the beef tongue, and top with cilantro and onion. Squeeze some lime, and dig in.

 

Mexican Alambre

You know when you have that craving for tacos, or better yet fajitas? Yeah, I know, I pretty much have that craving all of the time! This dish, known as alambre, is a popular Mexican dish that should be on everyone’s menu, but is not. This Mexican alambre is a mix of beef, bacon, peppers, and cheese, topped with avocados and limes, only to be folded into nicely grilled flour tortillas. This feeds an army and is packed full of awesome flavors and textures, that I’m positive will have you making this more than once.

Mexican Alambre Recipe
Mexican Alambre Recipe

Alambre, in Spanish, literally translates to ‘wire’ and I suspect that it could be due to the fact that meats and vegetables were skewered and grilled before getting chopped up and folded into tacos. Regardless, I simply throw things on the grill to get a nice char before slicing and serving.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of bacon,  cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 whole white onion
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 whole roma tomatoes, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 lbs bottom round beef, thinly sliced
  • 2 morita chili pods, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 puya chili pods, stems and seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups of water
  • flour tortillas, warmed
  • avocados, slided
  • 2 cups of Oaxaca cheese
  • Salt, to taste
  • sour cream, optional
  • sliced limes, optional

Start by marinating your beef. I like to do this overnight, but 4 or more hours should be sufficient.

To a small sauce pan, add the water, the garlic, and the 4 chili pods. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or until the pods are softened. Let the mixture cool. Take the pods, garlic, and about a cup of the water and blend until you have a fine puree.  Pour this mixture into a sealable bag, throw in a generous pinch or two of salt, and add in the beef, seal, and give the beef a nice massage to ensure the marinade penetrates the beef. Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill.

Mexican Alambre
Mexican Alambre

When you are ready to start making this, you have a couple of options. First is to grill the vegetables and beef (which is what I prefer), or you can cook everything in one big wok or skillet. (Hint: chose the grill)

Heat up your grill. I like to use a combination of charcoal and cherry wood as the smokiness really gets into the great flavor of the beef.

While the grill heats up, add the bacon to a large skillet, and cook on low heat, adding about 1/4 cup of water during the cooking process. You don’t want the bacon to be fully crisp as you normally might eat for breakfast, but somewhere between soft and crisp. Continue cooking the bacon on low heat, reserving some of the fat.

Next, add the whole bell peppers, onion, and jalapeno peppers to the grill, cooking over the coals. Your goal here is to get a nice char, while not fully cooking the peppers. Once you get a bit of the char, remove them from the grill, and take them inside to slice. Remove any of the seeds from the jalapenos if you don’t want this to be spicy.

Once you slice the peppers, and onion, add them to the cooked bacon, along with the sliced tomatoes and cilantro. Give this a good stir, and season with a pinch or two of salt.

Return back to the grill, and cook your beef until it is about medium. Don’t overcook your beef!

Take the beef inside, and slice into 1 inch strips, then add the beef to the bacon mixture, giving a good stir.

Top the mixture with the Oaxaca cheese, then cover, and remove from the heat. You want the cheese to melt into the mixture.

Mexican Alambre Recipe
Mexican Alambre Recipe

Now you are ready to serve. Uncover, and place the skillet onto some heat resistant pads on the table. Top with fresh limes and sliced avocados, along with a plate of warmed flour tortillas.

Take your tortilla, take some of the alambre, and fold it into the tortilla. Give a squeeze of fresh lime juice, lay on some avocado, and some sour cream if you prefer, and dig in.

This was a great meal to serve at the table. The kids loved the interactivity (and the rocking flavors), and it was a great conversation piece. My oldest, who typically does not like melted cheese (especially on tacos), nor peppers, was spooning this into about 4 tacos. I think he loved this Mexican alambre, and I’m certain you will to! Enjoy.

Mexican Alambre
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 6 slices of bacon, cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 whole white onion
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 whole roma tomatoes, cored, and thinly sliced
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 lbs bottom round beef, thinly sliced
  • 2 morita chili pods, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 puya chili pods, stems and seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups of water
  • flour tortillas, warmed
  • avocados, slided
  • 2 cups of Oaxaca cheese
  • Salt, to taste
  • sour cream, optional
  • sliced limes, optional
Instructions
  1. Start by marinating your beef. I like to do this overnight, but 4 or more hours should be sufficient.
  2. To a small sauce pan, add the water, the garlic, and the 4 chili pods. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or until the pods are softened. Let the mixture cool. Take the pods, garlic, and about a cup of the water and blend until you have a fine puree. Pour this mixture into a sealable bag, throw in a generous pinch or two of salt, and add in the beef, seal, and give the beef a nice massage to ensure the marinade penetrates the beef. Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill.
  3. When you are ready to start making this, you have a couple of options. First is to grill the vegetables and beef (which is what I prefer), or you can cook everything in one big wok or skillet. (Hint: chose the grill)
  4. Heat up your grill. I like to use a combination of charcoal and cherry wood as the smokiness really gets into the great flavor of the beef.
  5. While the grill heats up, add the bacon to a large skillet, and cook on low heat, adding about ¼ cup of water during the cooking process. You don’t want the bacon to be fully crisp as you normally might eat for breakfast, but somewhere between soft and crisp. Continue cooking the bacon on low heat, reserving some of the fat.
  6. Next, add the whole bell peppers, onion, and jalapeno peppers to the grill, cooking over the coals. Your goal here is to get a nice char, while not fully cooking the peppers. Once you get a bit of the char, remove them from the grill, and take them inside to slice. Remove any of the seeds from the jalapenos if you don’t want this to be spicy.
  7. Once you slice the peppers, and onion, add them to the cooked bacon, along with the sliced tomatoes and cilantro. Give this a good stir, and season with a pinch or two of salt.
  8. Return back to the grill, and cook your beef until it is about medium. Don’t overcook your beef!
  9. Take the beef inside, and slice into 1 inch strips, then add the beef to the bacon mixture, giving a good stir.
  10. Top the mixture with the Oaxaca cheese, then cover, and remove from the heat. You want the cheese to melt into the mixture.
  11. Now you are ready to serve. Uncover, and place the skillet onto some heat resistant pads on the table. Top with fresh limes and sliced avocados, along with a plate of warmed flour tortillas.
  12. Take your tortilla, take some of the alambre, and fold it into the tortilla. Give a squeeze of fresh lime juice, lay on some avocado, and some sour cream if you prefer, and dig in.

 

Mexican Menudo

Whatever you heard about menudo is probably right. Mexican menudo is one of those soups that you typically only find being cooked on the weekends, whether that be in a Mexican restaurant, or in many traditional homes. My home was one of those this weekend, and I only made this because on a recent lunch break at my favorite taqueria, I noticed some guy was buying a massive amount of honeycomb tripe. This essentially sparked my interest. After talking with the guy, I pretty much looked at him and said ‘Menudo this weekend?’. Yep, he announced, and he stated the honeycomb tripe was the one you want to make your menudo with. I honestly thought the guy was buying all of it, as he did state ‘you gotta buy a lot when it’s on sale, and today is that day!’. I kid you not, the guy bought 21 pounds of tripe. That’s a lot of tripe!!

Mexican Menudo Recipe
Mexican Menudo Recipe

I actually fell in love with tripe years ago when living in Dallas, and eating Vietnamese pho. Tripe is essentially the edible lining of a cow’s stomach, and it is something that not only needs to be cleaned well, but also cooked nice and slow so it is really tender. This menudo is not only super easy to make, granted it takes a bit of time, but I love that on the weekends, but it is really, really good.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs of beef oxtails
  • 2 lbs honeycomb tripe, any fat trimmed and removed
  • 1 whole cows foot, split down the middle
  • 2 heads of garlic, to of each head removed
  • 1 whole white onion, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 oz Menudo spice mix (found at local Mexican grocery store)
  • water
  • 25 oz can of hominy, drained and rinsed

Ingredients for the chili paste:

  • 3 dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 6 dried guajillo chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 6 dried chili de arbol chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 3 dried morita chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 7 oz can of chipotle chili sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 tsp cumin powder

For garnishing the menudo:

  • limes
  • fresh cilantro
  • diced onion
  • warm corn tortillas
  • Additional chili powder
  • chicharrones

Get a large soup pot on the stove. Add the oxtails, and cows feet. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and let this cook for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain the oxtails, and cows feet, reserving them.

Clean out the soup pot, and then rinse off any scum from the oxtails and cows feet. Place back into the soup pot, covering again with plenty of water.

Bring the mixture back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

At this time, add in the 2 heads of garlic, the bay leaves, salt, Mexican oregano, Menudo spice mix, and diced onions. Give a good stir, and cook for about 2 hours, skimming off any additional scum that may surface.

How to make Mexican Menudo
How to make Mexican Menudo

Next, get a skillet on medium-low heat. Add in all of the chilies, and 3 cloves of garlic, skin left on. Your goal here is to lightly toast the chilies, without burning them, to bring out their essential oils. This takes about 5 minutes or so, turning them along the way. Once they are lightly toasted, add in about a cup of water, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

During this time, add the tripe into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Add in about a tablespoon of salt, and set this aside.

Remove the chilies, and place them into a food processor. Remove the skins from the garlic, and add the garlic to the food processor. Add in the cumin powder, the onion, and about 1 cup of fresh water. Blend until you have a smooth mixture.

Next, using a fine mesh strainer or chinois, strain this mixture over a bowl. The goal is to remove any clumps from the onion, garlic, or chilies. Pour the chili liquid from the bowl and into the soup pot. Give this a good stir, then add in the small can of chipotle sauce. Give another good stir. Season and adjust for any additional salt.

Now for the tripe. Strain the tripe, and rinse it off really well to remove any excess salt. You want the tripe, at least in my opinion, to be in about 2 inch pieces. So if you have to cut them down to size, please do so.

Add the tripe to the soup pot, mix, and cook an additional 3-4 hours. About one hour in, add the hominy.

Now you are ready to eat! Remove the cows feet, 2 heads of garlic, and the bay leaves and discard those. You may be thinking ‘cow’s feet?!’. Yes, the collagen from those feet actually create the mouthfeel for this menudo.

Remove the oxtails (if they do not already fall apart for you, and using a large slotted spoon, remove any strange fatty material from the remains of the foot, along with any additional bones. Once the bones and fatty materials are removed, it is now time to create your bowl of awesome menudo.

Ladle in generous amounts of the menudo, making sure you are getting some beef, and tripe. Garnish with lots of fresh lime, onions, and cilantro. Serve with warm corn tortillas, then repeat.

This soup is really darn good. Not only in texture, but also in flavor. It was just the right amount of spice, aroma, and is really built for a weekend feast. If you haven’t tried tripe before, well, maybe, just maybe is now that time. I hope you enjoy!

 

Spicy Michelada

I will admit that I like a good bloody mary. It’s one of those drinks that I typically will only drink during the brunch time of the day, and in particular on a Sunday. I have no idea why, but I’m sure you could probably twist my arm and get me to drink one on a Saturday as well. My wife on the other hand is not a fan of a bloody mary, probably due to the tomato juice, but for me I love everything about it, even though I am not a huge fan of tomato juice. It’s the spice that I love! Now there is a simple twist to a bloody mary, and instead of using vodka as the booze of choice, you use a simple lager. It’s called the michelada, and it takes a strong first against a bloody mary.

Spicy Michelada Recipe
Spicy Michelada Recipe

The michelada is basically a tomato and beer mix that is loaded with an array of spices, and they say they a cure for a hangover. Who knows about that, but whatever the case the premix is the key, in my opinion, in making a great michelada.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp maggi sauce
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco
  • 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Tajin seasoning
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Few drops of habanero sauce
  • 5 oz tomato juice
  • 6 oz pilsner beer
  • ice cubes

You will want to make the premix the day, or night ahead to let all of the flavors form. Trust me, it’s a knock out mix of flavors.

Start by adding the maggi, Tabasco, Worchestershire, fish sauce, Tajin, lime juice, lemon juice, and habanero sauce to a small container. Stir well, cover, and place in the refrigerator over night.

How to make a michelada
How to make a michelada

The following day, fill a glass with ice cubes. If you want, you can rim the glass with Tajin seasoning. I prefer not to as there is so much flavor already in the premix.

Pour the premix into the glass, then the tomato juice. Give this a good stir, then top with the beer. Sip and enjoy. This premix is so robust it will possibly have you second guessing that bloody mary. Enjoy!