The history of beef tongue
While beef tongue may be new to you, it has been around for a long time. There is some archaeological evidence that residents of East Africa began feasting on wildebeest tongue as early as 2.5 million years ago.
Closer to home, in 19th-century America, buffalo hunters were interested in buffalo tongue long before it found its way onto our tables. This is not surprising since humans throughout history have exploited animals as much as possible.
Today's modern emphasis on "eating fuller" often discounts offal and less "ideal" cuts, leading us to believe this is a mistake and ultimately a cultural distortion of the big cut.
So why has beef tongue been so popular across cultures and centuries? The answer may have to do with its rich nutritional value and flavor.
How does beef tongue taste?
Beef tongue is famous for its unique taste. Part of the flavor of beef tongue comes from its high fat content. In the United States, we're used to eating brisket, shoulder, brisket, and other muscle-rich cuts. Beef tongue is an internal organ, has more fat, is delicious and nutritious.
Beef tongue also contains a variety of fatty acids that blend together to create a delightfully tender texture and mild flavor.
Nutritional value of beef tongue
100 grams of beef tongue contains 278 calories, 19 grams of protein, and 22 grams of fat. Calories are important because your body uses them for fuel and energy. Protein is essential for repairing cells and making new ones, and since beef tongue is high in protein, it's a great dish for anyone looking to build muscle.
Beef tongue's fat content comes from a mixture of healthy unsaturated fats and 7 grams of saturated fat. Although beef tongue is not considered a lean meat, in moderation it is an excellent addition to your diet.
The following is an analysis of the nutritional value of beef tongue:
Beef tongue nutrition facts
A 3-ounce (85 g) serving of braised beef tongue provides:
- Calories: 241
- Total fat: 19g
- Saturated fat: 6.9g
- Trans fat: 0.7g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 0.6g
- Monounsaturated fat: 8.6g
- Cholesterol: 112 mg
- Sodium: 55mg
- Potassium: 156mg
- Total carbs: 0g
- Dietary fiber: 0g
- Sugar: 0g
- Protein: 16g
- Vitamin A: 0% Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin B6: 7% daily value
- Vitamin B12: 44% DV
- Vitamin C: 1.8% daily value
- Zinc: 23% DV
- Niacin: 15% DV
- Phosphorus: 12% DV
- Calcium: 0.3% daily value
- Iron: 12% DV
- Copper: 6% DV
- Riboflavin: 15% DV
The following is a detailed introduction to the specific nutrients in beef tongue:
Rich in B vitamins
Beef tongue contains a lot of B vitamins. These are essential for supporting metabolism and helping to break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy for body tissues.
Beef tongue is rich in vitamin B-12, which protects nerves and keeps blood cells healthy, helping to support healthy brain and nerve function. Other B vitamins present in beef tongue include B-2, B-3, and B-6.
A 3-ounce serving of cooked beef tongue contains 2.7 micrograms of vitamin B-12, which should meet your daily requirement.
High in choline
Choline, like the B vitamins, is vital to the nervous system. While B-12 vitamins help insulate nerves, choline is a component of the chemical responsible for nerve communication. A 3-ounce serving of beef tongue contains 132 milligrams of choline, which is 24 percent of the recommended daily value for women and 24 percent for men.
Beef tongue, like any other meat, contains no carbohydrates – so no starch, fiber or sugar! This means it's perfect for any low-carb diet, such as keto or carnivore.
Lots of iron and zinc
Both iron and zinc are important parts of a healthy diet. Iron is important in making heme, a protein that provides oxygen to all parts of the body. Inadequate supply of iron in the diet can cause your body to tap into iron stores in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow, leading to iron deficiency and anemia.
Beef tongue contains 2.6 milligrams of iron per 100 grams, accounting for 15% of the recommended daily iron intake.
Zinc is a nutrient that supports healthy function of the immune system and metabolism. Maintaining healthy levels of zinc in the body is also crucial for proper wound healing and fighting infection.
Cooked beef tongue contains 4.1 milligrams of zinc per 100 grams, accounting for 29% of the recommended daily zinc intake.
Every cell in the body contains protein, so it's no wonder that proteins are often called the building blocks of life. Your body needs protein to maintain muscle mass, repair itself after injury, maintain healthy bone mass, maintain hormonal balance, and stay healthy.
According to the National Academy of Medicine, you should consume 7 grams of protein per 20 pounds of body weight per day. This means that a 150-pound person should consume approximately 55 grams of protein per day.
A 100-gram serving of cooked beef tongue contains approximately 19 grams of protein.
Nutritional disadvantages of beef tongue
Beef tongue has a lot of amazing nutrients, but it also has some drawbacks, just like any other food.
100 grams of beef tongue contains 22 grams of fat, including 8 grams of saturated fat and 1 gram of trans fat. Consuming high amounts of saturated fat can lead to higher levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and increase inflammation.
Trans fats increase levels of bad LDL cholesterol and lower levels of good HDL cholesterol.
It's also important to consider total fat content. For someone on a 2,000-calorie, 3-ounce diet, the recommended daily fat intake is 44 to 77 grams. This part of your tongue accounts for a large portion of your daily needs.
How to add beef tongue to your diet
Now that we know about beef tongue and its beneficial nutritional properties, how do you cook it? The good news is, there's no shortage of recipes and ideas for how to serve beef tongue, from simple to extravagant.
If you're a new beef tongue consumer, cooking this dish yourself may seem intimidating, but cooking organ meat is actually easier than you think.
Start by slicing the tongue into thin slices to ensure even and easy cooking. If the butcher hasn't peeled the beef tongue for you yet, you can peel it yourself with a knife. Next, place the sliced beef tongue into the slow cooker and simmer until tender. This simple preparation method will give you mild-flavored, tender beef tongue that's perfect for a sandwich or on top of a salad.
The bottom line of beef tongue nutrition
Giblets, or offal, are known for their caloric and nutrient density. Beef tongue is an excellent introduction to offal because it has a mild, pleasant flavor that avoids the characteristic "fear" associated with many offal.
You can get plenty of B vitamins, iron, zinc, choline, protein and other nutrients from beef tongue, but like any red meat, you should eat it in moderation with other foods.
The most nutritious beef tongue comes from grass-fed cows
The healthiest, most delicious beef can only come from 100% grass-fed, grass-raised cattle. That means no antibiotics, no genetically modified organisms, no dark warehouses—it’s just beef, raised the way it should be raised.
This starts from the moment the cow is born until the moment it dies. No grains or industrial additives are added at any time. Because we know that if you do the right thing, you don't need to pump your cows full of drugs.
These decisions can have a huge impact on taste and nutrition. So if you want to try beef tongue, don't choose something that's not good for your body and taste buds, but choose real beef tongue.