- Sushi Grade Japanese Rice
- Rice Vinegar
- Thinly Sliced Veggies of choice (avocado, cucumber, jalapeno, etc.)
- Nori Sheets
- Tongue (beef, buffalo, moose, elk, deer)
- Soy Sauce
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This video uses venison and beef tongue with a Japanese twist.
I’m going to leave the sushi rice prep to the experts, which I am not. What I can do is follow instructions and most bags of Sushi Rice have a nice simple recipe. The combination of cooked, high-quality sushi rice, rice vinegar and sugar, are the main components to a good sushi rice. A simple prep, but proper sushi chefs can spend a lifetime refining the balance of these ingredients. Instead, I’ll be focusing on how to properly cook and peel a tongue.
We have all heard the old adage: “There is more than one way to skin a cat”. This is particularly true with cooking and peeling tongues. From fire roasting them like chilies, to boiling them for hours then throwing them into the freezer, I have tried them all over the years and have developed a nice hybrid method that severely reduces the amount of cutting away and waste. When peeling a moose, beef or buffalo tongue. A little extra cutting and meat lost to the paring knife isn’t a big deal. With whitetails, mule deer, sheep and antelope, every pass of the knife to remove skin that has not been properly separated can be a major loss.
I prefer to braise my tongues in the oven. In a covered roasting pan with some stock for flavor and added moisture. I cook them slow and low at 230 degrees for 2 to 3 hours (depending on size and amount of course). You want the tongues to be cooked through but still retain some spring back. Not completely braised down to the consistency of pull pork. Check on them periodically until you see the skin began to pull away. As soon as you start to see the skin separate from the meat. Remove them from the oven and throw them in an ice bath. This will stop the cooking process and separate the skin from the meat.
At this point, all you need is a sharp paring knife and some patience to finish cleaning them up. I find the hardest area to remove skin is at the tip of the tongue. After all the skin is removed, simply slice thin your favorite sushi veggies. (cucumber, avocado, jalapeños, etc.) Slice your tongues on the bias into 2’’inch by ¼’’peices. Slice strips of Nori Sheets into ¼’’ long ribbons to tie your nigiri together.
Setup your mise en place with cooled rice and ingredients in a row for assembly. Have a bowl of room temp water to prep your hands to form the rice. Sushi rice is sticky and the water will help keep your hands clean. Form tight beds of rice in your fingers. Then top with veggies and tongue. Tie the entire thing up with a wrap of nori to seal over its self with the last wrap moistened with water.
I topped my sushi with an eel sauce inspired mix. Combine a ¼ cup soy sauce, 2 shots of sake and a table spoon of siracha. Then drip over the top of your nigiri pieces.
Tongue is a cut that is usually discarded or looked down upon, but it is one of my favorite meats. You can try anything from from Lengua Tacos to Nigiri Sushi to get creative with this treat of yesteryear to get the most out of your harvests.
A Note on Removing Tongues From Game
Removing the tongue from game is surprising easy. I highly recommend making the removal of the tongue one of the first things completed when cleaning your animal in the field. Cut the tongue before you have gutted or drug your animal out of the woods. These actives can get the tongue unnecessarily dirty or damaged. Also, you don’t want rigor mortis set in while the animal is biting down on its tongue. This makes removal even more difficult. Just like liver, once removed, inspect the tongue and check for sings of infection or discoloration. If any is noted, then do not consume.