Tongue Barbeque

Hello, In Mexico the term "barbeque" (tr. barbacoa) is used differently than in U.S. In the U.S. bbq is a special sauce used to coat pieces of roasted or slow cooked meat. In Mexico, "barbacoa" is steamed meat, and that could be beef (north Mexico) or lamb (central and south Mexico).

This recipe I'm presenting here is from north Mexico and is one of Monterrey city delicacies. It is made with beef tongue. Make sure you have a source of fire (like a grill or gas stove) if you are going to use the maguey leaf. If you decide to use some substitute then you may not need this source of fire.

1 beef tongue (I prefer fresh, but if you find frozen then you will need to unfroze it in the refrigerator all night)
1 garlic head (aprox 5 or 6 entire peeled garlic cloves)
grain salt (sea salt in grain is better)
1-2 maguey leaf
1-6 beers (cans or bottles, quantity depends on methods I will describe later)
your favorite aromatic herbs
1 meter of non bleached/colored cotton cord or any other natural fiber cord.
mexican corn tortillas
1 white onion
your favourite green or red salsa.
sliced limes.


1. Once the tongue is unfrozen, wash it very well using running water.
2. Rub all the tongue with the sea salt grains.
3. Bend the tongue by the half (the raspy side in the outside) and put the garlic cloves in the middle (like a sandwich :p )
--Skip steps 4 and 5 if you are using an electrical slow cooking pot--
4. Wash the maguey leafs (tr. penca) to remove any dirt, then roast it in the direct fire. You don't need to burn it, what we want with this is making the leaf flexible and avoid breaking it when we try to bend it to cover the tongue.
5. "Make the package" Use the leafs to make a wrapper with the bended tongue inside, use the cords to wrap it well.
6.a Using a pressure steam pot (recommended) Use the small grill that comes with the pot and fill the small space between the bottom of the pot and the grill with your favorite beer. Add the herbs to the beer and Introduce the "package" on top of the grill. Close the pot and put the fire to high until the valve starts to "dance", then reduce the fire to the minimum so you can keep the valve "dancing". Leave it two hours and that's it.
6.b Using a traditional steamer pot (tr. vaporera or tamalera). Use the same method described before, but for this you will need to use more beer as the grill will be higher. Also reduce the fire when you start seeing steam going out from beneath the cap but enough to keep it escaping. With this method you will need from 8 to 10 hours and keep watching the pot to make sure it has still beer to steam.
6.c Using a slow cooking electrical pot. I have never used this method but people that have referenced it to me had excellent results. Follow instructions from pot user manual, and add some beer :D.
7. Enjoy the remaining beers with your wife and friends while the bbq is done.
8. Once the tongue is ready, remove from the pot, open the package and put the tongue in some big plate. With a knife make a vertical cut in all the raspy side of the tongue. It will be very easy to remove this skin from the rest of the meat. You can dispose this skin. The remaining is the delicious meat, just strip it (this will also be very easy) with two forks.
10. Put the meat in some closed recipient for keeping the heat and place it on the table along with the salsas, warm tortillas, fine chopped onion and cilantro, sliced limes... enjoy in tacos!


i. Depending on your spot size you may add some extra "packages" to the pot, containing cheek (tr. cachete) or lip (tr. labio). Also prepare them with garlic and salt.
ii.If you are gluten sensitive then use water or use gluten free beer. Make sure the tortillas do not contain wheat.
iii. You may substitute the maguey leafs with banana leafs, also roast them before using them.