Here you go, Porthus, my version of pickled tongue. Let me know if you try it and what you think.
Pickled, cured pig tongue
For the cure:
3/8C instacure #1
Pig tongues (5-8 is a good amount for a first try, I think)
Mix first 3 ingredients in a stainless steel pot, stir until dissolved. Wash tongues under running water, place in pot, bring just to boil on hi, remove from heat, let cool to room temp, refrigerate IN THE LIQUID overnight.
Now cured tongues (throw out the pickling liquid)
Simmer tongues in a 2/3 water, 1/3 vinegar, 2TBL salt, 2 TBL pickling spice mix for 1 hour. Drain, rinse under cold water and ‘peel’ the tongues; use a knife and scrape off the outer ‘skin’ layer. Discard the ‘skin’.
You can chop the tongues into pieces, or leave whole. I like to chop into 1 inch cube shapes.
Clean pot and make another 2/3 water, 1/3 vinegar, 2TBL salt, 2 TBL pickling spice mix. Simmer the peeled tongues for another hour.
Drain, clean pot and repeat with another ‘clean’ 2/3 water, 1/3 vinegar, 2TBL salt, 2 TBL pickling spice mix.
Drain and rinse the tongues.
Sterilise your canning jars.
Bring a mixture of ½ water, ½ vinegar (perhaps 2 cups and 2 cups), 1TBL salt, 1 TBL pickling spice (your brine) to a boil.
Pack tongues in jars, add brine to within ½ inch of the top, seal and process the jars (immerse in boiling water) for 15 minutes, remove, let cool, refrigerate for 3-4 days.
There you have it, pickled, cured tongue.
You don’t have to cure the tongues. However, the curing gives a subtle characteristic flavour and a nice pink color to the finished product. If you don’t cure, the tongues will be brownish.
Instacure can be difficult to get, I usually order mine from sausagemaker.com. If you haven't used instacure previously, read up on it and be careful, it contains sodium nitrate.
I boil the tongues 3 times mostly for esthetics. You CAN boil them for 3 hours or so, in the same liquid, then remove and peel and pickle, but you get a much cleaner, nicer-looking finished product by changing the cooking liquid.
The amounts of salt and pickling spices is not critical, you can add more or less, depending on your tastes.
Lastly, I’m not a canning expert. I suppose you don’t have to sterilize, nor use a hot brine if you simply refrigerate for a few days and consume. However, proper canning will allow storing the tongue at room temperatures (which I don’t do, I leave room temp pickled meats to the experts. Besides, I pop them in the fridge and pretty much eat them up quick anyway).
I arrived at this method with plenty of trial and error (various stages of not curing, not peeling, not changing liquid, etc etc). It may not be perfect, but it gives me the results I’m looking for.
I’d be curious to hear comments from people who’ve been doing this longer than I have.
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