Sliced Venison Tongue Salad
November 14, 2011 | Updated June 12, 2020
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I get a lot of emails from deer hunters asking about sure-fire ways to use more of the deer they bring home, especially the offal: heart, liver, kidneys, tongue, etc. I love getting these notes, because it tells me that people are getting a little more adventurous with their wild game cooking. This recipe is one of my favorite “guts” dishes.
It’s a nice little salad that uses venison tongue seamlessly: Unless told, your friends will probably not recognize it.
To get there, you slowly braise the tongue until its tender, then peel it and slice it thin. I prefer to use venison, wild boar or lamb tongues here because they are smaller and much more dainty than beef tongues — if tongue can in any way be dainty.
There are two ways to cook the tongue. If you happen to have a water oven like the SousVide Supreme or some other immersion circulator, vacuum-seal the tongue with some olive oil and the herbs and spices listed below and cook at 150°F for 24 hours. Admittedly, most people don’t have a sous vide machine, so the regular instructions are below.
It is important that the salad be as interesting as possible, so use lots of different greens if you can.
- 2 deer or lamb tongues
- 1 quart lamb, venison or beef broth
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cups salad greens
- Fresh ground black pepper
- In a medium pot set over medium-high heat, bring the broth, bay leaves and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, drop in the tongues and simmer for at least 3 hours. The tongue should give willingly to the point of a sharp knife. If the tongue floats, flip it periodically. Remove from heat.
- While the tongues are still warm, transfer them to a cutting surface and peel it with your fingers or a paring knife. The skin is really the only icky thing about tongue: underneath it is pure meat. Slice the peeled tongue thinly and return it to the broth to rest. Turn the heat off the broth and cover.
- To prepare the dressing, place the garlic, remaining salt, vinegar and mustard in a food processor or blender. Puree briefly. Then, with the motor running, remove the cap from the center of the blender and drizzle in the olive oil. Buzz this 30 more seconds and move the dressing to something pourable.
- Mix the greens in a large bowl and tear them into smallish pieces you can eat with a fork. Toss in a few tablespoons of dressing, just enough to coat. Divide the greens evenly on four plates.
- Remove the tongue slices from the broth and toss with some more dressing. (if you have extra dressing, save it for another use) Arrange a few slices of tongue atop each of the plated greens, grind pepper over it and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Hey Hank! Love all that you do. This is a little out of the box…I recently went to a restaurant where they served a smoked beef tongue carpaccio and it was delicious. Have you ever tried something like this, or have any ideas? I have some elk tongues in my freezer and would love to try
Lucas: Weird. That seems very tough to pull off. Carpaccio is raw by definition, so my guess is they painstakingly sliced the outer skin off the tongue, cured it (maybe) and then cold smoked it before slicing on a mechanical slicer. Lot of work.
I am braising three whitetail doe tongues as I write!! Then off to the grocery store. Can’t wait to try this. It seems perfect to showcase such a wonderful and prized piece of meat.
PS…ribs are braising in the oven and neck roast for tomorrow. How lucky am I!!!
I had deer heart before but I wonder if I could taste deer tongue and deer liver
Hank- I took a doe and and button buck last weekend after many trips to the woods. After reading your post, I made a point of keeping the tongues. I generally keep the heart and liver, but am now looking forward to trying something new. Thanks.
I don’t have access to deer tongue, but would like to try it with pork tongue. Thanks!
Argh, I will never understand how people can eat tongues 🙂
Just a note on the DIY sous vide: I use a thermostat control that I bought from the homebrew store where I work. I just plug it up to a crockpot and it works great. It does hot and cold so you can use it to maintain cellar temp in a chest freezer for cheese, meat, beer etc. and take it off long enough to cook with. I am not here to pitch the homebrew site but I can point you in the direction if interested.
I will have to try this tongue recipe since heart recipes turned out so well.
Looks great. Makes me think about tongue pastrami.
Jamie: Not a huge fan of pickled tongue. Not my thing.
Kim: You could do a DIY sous vide. I’d get the water up to 165 degrees to start, then let the temp fall to 140 or so, then turn the heat back on until it’s 165, let it fall, etc. But braising is easier, though.
Karen and Kris: I remove the tongue at home. I skin the area around it, cut any muscles holding the jaw closed, then use a paring knife to slice it out as close to the base as possible. You can also come up from underneath the lower jaw. It is a little grisly, but it’s worth the effort.
Love beef tongue but have never had the opportunity to try deer. Sounds wonderful.
Best method for getting it out? Cut up the throat? remove the lower jaw?
Better yet… just how *do* you remove the tongue?? Ha! Appreciate the help!
I made paté with antelope liver recently and have the heart in the freezer, so will be back looking for recipes for it. I’ll try the tongue… should I remove the tongue in the field, bag it then put it on ice? That’s what I did with the liver.
Hank, do DIY sous vied work? I.e., putting the meat & flavoring into a plastic bag and immersing it in pot of water turned on low-low? Is it safe? Thanks.
This looks pretty good. What do you know about pickled deer tongue. I tried it last year and wasn’t over impressed.