Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bacon Tongue Explosion Fail

As mentioned in my bacon heart explosion recipe post, I went ahead last weekend and tried making a bacon explosion with a whole beef tongue...and failed unfortunately.The end result was very delicious, but terribly textured. As you might guess, the problem was with the outer skin.

For those of you who have never seen a whole beef tongue before, it comes with a skin that is of a very leathery texture and has a sandpaper roughness near the root of the muscle. It's melded completely to the meat while raw, but with a little cooking it peels off just like wrapping plastic. I've cooked tongue in a slow cooker before and have always remarked at how the skin comes off without effort or strain.

How to accomplish this with par cooking, however, is a conundrum I need to solve. Time is of the essence in making that skin peel right off, and there needs to be a balance between having the muscle cooked enough for the skin to come off but still be raw enough to roast with it wrapped in bacon. What I did was boil the tongue for fifteen minutes while I prepared the bacon grid and tried to peel it before wrapping and roasting. It didn't cook long enough, however, as the skin was still melded tight. I didn't know whether it would be wise to continue boiling it at that stage, so I settled and went with it as is. The skin isn't inedible or hard to chew; it just really throws off the aesthetics of the dish. The grid didn't wrap perfectly around the tongue given its shape, but I improvised and it worked out alright. I roasted it until it was approximately 140 degree Fahrenheit, medium rare.

Whatever its failure in texture, it was delicious! I couldn't season it before going in since the skin is impervious to it, but I made fine with a shaker full of sea salt. The meat was nice, mildly beefy, and not at all cumbersome to chew. I'd actually be willing to make it this way again. Compared to the beef heart version, I'd say they're about equal flavor-wise, though the ground beef heart is more functional and versatile.

I will take to solving this conundrum in the future however. Could I perhaps slow cook the tongue, peel off the skin, and quickly broil the bacon around it? Boil it for longer? Find a way to ground up the tongue beforehand? A subject of research and thinking. This is such a delicious combination that I am moved to make it work.

At the very least, my failure was delicious enough to provoke the glutton in me: I ate the whole tongue and all the bacon in one day.

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