Tongue taco. Say it loud and it sounds a bit porny. Say it soft and nobody will hear you. That's why I recommend you say "tongue taco" in a nice, medium, resonant inside voice. And only use the phrase when referring to food.
So anyway, I had this pig's tongue. Got it as part of The Pig. Was gifted it by the co-pigger, and my intent was always to utilize the tongue when I could share it with the co-piggers. This happened on Saturday, during the traditional Sharing Of The Ribs, and it turned out so damn well that I actually wish I had an ample supply of pig's tongues.
Step one was to simmer the tongue. I dropped it, whole, into a good-sized saucepan along with half an onion and three cloves of garlic. None of the stuff I saw online said anything about salt, so I didn't salt it at all at this point. The whole thing got brought to a boil and simmered, covered, for about three and a half hours. At about two and a half hours I had to add more water.
Next I let the tongue cool. At this point, it was around 1pm, and I had to get the ribs started, so I let it cool completely. The texture was soft and pliant. The smell was deep, rich, and porky - like slow-cooked pork shoulder, only even more so. A promising sign.
Peeling was... interesting. I basically used a sharp knife and peeled it like an apple. I only had the one tongue, and I wanted to stretch it as far as I could (speaking of things that sound porny), so I peeled it as carefully as I could manage. I then chopped the meat into small cubes, and dusted it with a teaspoon or two of cumin and a pinch of kosher salt before setting it aside.
Then it was time for the next part of my plan. Traditional recipes for beef tongue tacos just take the sliced tongue, warm it, and place it on the taco, but I wanted... more. I wanted something more like the lamb belly tacos from World Street Kitchen. I had slow-cooked soft meat. And I had lard.
I had a lot of lard, in fact. Several pounds of it as part of the pig purchase. I had never worked with it before, but I'd worked with cold reserved bacon fat before, and it couldn't have been that different, right? I broke off a chunk and heated it in a pan.
Well, this lard was chunky. Unrefined. It had stuff in it. And that stuff sputtered and smoked and some of it browned and crisped into a spoonful of cracklings. And in the rest of the pan went nine ounces of carefully harvested tongue meat, to sizzle away and brown and crisp. Not as nice as the lamb belly at WSK gets, but not bad by my own standards.
And here it is, laid out in all its glory on toasted corn tortillas. A little crunchy on the outside, soft and delicate on the inside, porky all over. So damn good.
To get it from here to the first picture, I just added a spoonful of salsa I made with peppers harvested from my deck garden (green Anaheim, red Anaheim, poblano, garden salsa), plus some onion and shallot and garlic and Roma tomato and lime juice, plus a bit of CSA cilantro.
It was, quite frankly, fucking glorious.