This Slow Cooker Beef Tongue recipe yields the most delicious and tender lengua to use in my favorite beef tongue tostadas de lengua. Don’t knock this meat until you try it! Lengua is super lean, beefy, and packed with protein. And when it’s cooked low and slow in the Crock Pot, the result is a fall-apart tender, juicy cut of beef that melts in your mouth.

slow cooked lengua recipe served as tostadas de lengua on Mexican pottery traditional Mexican dish

What is Lengua, Exactly?

I’ll just get right to it. Lengua is Spanish for tongue, more specifically beef tongue. 

If you’re skeptical about consuming lengua, then I’m guessing that’s because you’ve never tasted it. Trust me when I say you shouldn’t knock it till you try it. There’s absolutely no weird aftertaste. It seriously tastes like the most tender, juicy, flavorful shredded roast beef or brisket. If you enjoy beef tacos or beef tostadas, then I highly recommend trying lengua. Lengua also makes an amazing filling for gorditas.

This slow cooker lengua recipe is a great filling for tacos de lengua or as a topping for mini tostadas made from mini street corn tortillas. I especially love it drizzled with chile de arbol salsa, chopped white onion, and cilantro (like I did for this recipe).

I love preparing these tostadas de lengua for a game day or big get-together because they easily feed a crowd. (Another reason to love the slow cooker!) Just place the lengua in the slow cooker with onion, garlic, and water and cook low and slow for eight hours. After it is cooked, you need to peel off the outer layer of skin and discard, and then finely dice the tender meat and sauté it in a skillet with fire roasted tomatoes for a delectable delicacy.

Set out a tostada buffet, and let your guests assemble their own tostadas with garnishes of their choice. This recipe is the perfect dish to enjoy for a football watch party alongside a cold chelada.

slow cooked lengua recipe served as tostadas de lengua on Mexican pottery traditional Mexican dish with margaritas and Chile de Arbol Salsa

Why is Lengua so Expensive?

You would think beef tongue would be a cheaper cut of beef considering it’s one most people don’t want or purchase. And considering you end up with very little meat compared to other parts from the cow. But it really just comes down to simple supply and demand. The demand is up, which has resulted in a diminishing supply and higher costs.

However, despite high-quality lengua being hard to come by, you’ll still want to get the best quality lengua you can since it’s the star of this show. 

Beef cow tongue by Rumba on a marble cutting board with garlic and onion in the background

Where to buy Lengua 

Rumba Meats offers specialty ingredients that are readily available in regular grocery stores. Rumba Meats is a variety meat brand focused on celebrating the flavor of family. It is the only brand that helps balance a bicultural lifestyle, therefore keeping cultural traditions alive. You can find Rumba meats near you and download a coupon to use at the time of purchase. 

Chile de Arbol Salsa, tostadas, cilantro, and onions on a Mexican pottery platter to be served with these beef tongue tostadas aka beef tongue tacos

Health Benefits

Like many cuts of beef, lengua is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and — of course — protein. Per every 4-ounce serving, beef tongue contains approximately:

  • 5 milligrams of zinc
  • 3 milligrams of iron
  • 4 micro-grams of vitamin B-12
  • And a whopping 21.8 grams of protein

Of course, and again like many cuts of beef, it can be high in cholesterol and saturated fats, so eat in moderation.

skillet filled with this slow cooker beef tongue recipe in a tomato sauce on a Mexican runner

Cooking Instructions

  1. Cook the Lengua in the Slow Cooker: Place beef tongue, water, onion, garlic, and sea salt in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Once it’s tender, take the tongue out of the stock to cool off. Peel off the outer layer of skin when you are able to handle the tongue. It’s easier to take the skin off while the tongue is warm. Dice tongue into 1⁄2-inch cubes and set aside.
  2. Save the Stock: Strain the stock and set aside. It’s always better to refrigerate the stock so you can skim the fat off and discard. If you have a fat separator then you don’t have to refrigerate.
  3. Make the Tomato Sauce: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add flour and stir for 2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and let come to a boil as you stir. Add diced tongue, 1⁄2 cup reserved stock, black pepper, and garlic powder. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken. If it’s too dry you can add more stock, however, this recipe should not be runny if using as a filling or topping.
  4. Fry the Tostadas: In heavy skillet heat one-quarter inch oil. Fry tortillas, one at a time, in hot oil for 20 to 40 seconds on each side or until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels. Store bought tostadas can also be used.
  5. Assemble the Tostadas de Lengua: Top one tostada with the saucy lengua. Drizzle with your favorite homemade salsa to taste, and top with desired garnishes like diced white onion, thinly sliced radish, and fresh cilantro.  Serve, and enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

Complete your game day spread by serving these beef tongue tostadas with some classic side dishes and beverages like any of the following:

Storage and Reheating

  • Store cooled, leftover slow cooker lengua in an airtight container or plastic bag in your fridge for up to four days.
  • Store leftover tostadas in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for up to a week.
  • Freeze cooked, cooled beef tongue in an airtight, freezer-safe container or plastic bag for up to a month.
  • Reheat from frozen by allowing it to thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter, then warming in the microwave or in a skillet until desired temperature is achieved.

slow cooked lengua recipe served as tostadas de lengua on Mexican pottery traditional Mexican dish with margaritas and Chile de Arbol Salsa

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean beef tongue?

It’s crucial to remove the tough, outer layer of skin. Otherwise, it will be too chewy to eat. Once that is peeled off, you simply chop up the meat, and serve as desired!

What does beef tongue taste like?

This is the first part of the cow that touches its food and water, so it makes sense that it’s one of the most purely beefy cuts of a cow. Think slow cooked pot roast, but even more tender and flavorful.

What’s the difference between a taco and a tostada?

The main difference is that a tostada is flat and made on a crispy corn tortilla shell that is typically fried. Tacos, however, are most commonly served soft and folded for easy consumption with either corn or flour tortillas.

More Beef Recipes To Try

Are you planning to make some slow cooker lengua for tostadas de lengua this football season? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to tag me (@muybuenocooking) if you post pics of your tasty creations to Instagram!

Tostadas de Lengua

5 (1 rating)
This traditional slow cooked lengua is beyond tender and literally melts in your mouth.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds Rumba Meats beef tongue
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • corn tortillas, recommend mini corn tortillas
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying

Sauce:

Instructions 

  • Place beef tongue, water, onion, garlic, and sea salt in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Once it’s tender, take the tongue out of the stock to cool off. Peel off the outer layer of skin when you are able to handle the tongue. It’s easier to take the skin off while the tongue is warm. Dice tongue into 1⁄2-inch cubes and set aside.
  • Strain the stock and set aside. It’s always better to refrigerate the stock so you can skim the fat off and discard. If you have a fat separator then you don’t have to refrigerate.
  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add flour and stir for 2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and let come to a boil as you stir.
  • Add diced tongue, 1⁄2 cup reserved stock, black pepper, and garlic powder. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken. If it’s too dry you can add more stock, however, this recipe should not be runny if using as a filling or topping.
  • Tostadas:
  • In heavy skillet heat one-quarter inch oil. Fry tortillas, one at a time, in hot oil for 20 to 40 seconds on each side or until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels. Store bought tostadas can also be used.
  • Top one tostada with lengua. Drizzle with your favorite homemade salsa to taste.
  • Garnish each with toppings of your choice.
  • Place lengua on tostadas and add your favorite toppings.

Video

Notes

  • Store cooled, leftover slow cooker lengua in an airtight container or plastic bag in your fridge for up to four days.
  • Store leftover tostadas in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for up to a week.
  • Freeze cooked, cooled beef tongue in an airtight, freezer-safe container or plastic bag for up to a month.
  • Reheat from frozen by allowing it to thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter, then warming in the microwave or in a skillet until desired temperature is achieved.
Calories: 296kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 39g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 520mg, Sodium: 914mg, Potassium: 641mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 31937IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 9mg