It's really no secret that I have a taste for the exotic, most people who know me, know that at some point in any dinner party I throw I am going to slip in something a little strange. More often than not, it is met with some reservation but eventually everyone tries it and all enjoy. I have found that the best way to get people to try something new is to prepare it in a form they are familiar with. Cutting cross sections of heart and serving them, isn't a large enough disconnect for most people. If you slow cook a heart until it is fall apart tender then serve it in a taco more people are going to try it and be more willing to try it again. I have found this to be true about most offal, but the one thing people seem to have the biggest problem with is tongue.
I don't fully understand why people are so afraid of eating a tongue, after all it is just a large muscle and when prepared correctly, it is as delicious as any piece of meat I have ever had. Recently a friend of mine told me that her father was going to be butchering one of his farm raised elk and wanted to know if I would be interested in any of it. I told her that if he didn't want the offal I would happily take it. Shortly after that conversation I was given a bag with an elk heart, liver and tongue in it. I knew instantly what I was going to do with the heart and liver but the tongue took a little more planning.
I have cooked tongue in the past and couldn't make up my mind which way I wanted to cook this elk tongue. I have cooked beef tongue and have used deer tongues, but this was my first elk tongue and I wanted it to be special. I had made shredded beef tongue tacos in the past and have also smoked a beef tongue and they were magnificent. I have pickled deer tongues and really enjoyed that but I thought I would try something new with this elk tongue. I have really enjoyed corning antelope roasts so I thought I would give corned tongue a try. Using the recipe from Hank Shaw's book Hunt, Gather, Cook I brined the tongue.
After sitting in the brine for three days I placed the tongue in a pot and filled it with water till it came about 3/4 the way up the tongue. I simmered the tongue for about 3 hours until it was almost fall apart tender. I let the tongue cool down a little and then peeled the skin off and wrapped it in clear plastic wrap and refrigerated it over night. the next day the tongue had firmed up a little and was easy to slice. I piled it on some swedish rye with some sauteed cabbage and horseradish and served it with some fried whole potatoes. It was one of the best sandwiches I have ever made. The corned tongue was tender and juicy and had a brilliant corned beef flavor. I would almost be willing to bet that nobody would be able to tell the difference between the corned elk tongue and corned beef.