Pickling and Cooking an Ox Tongue

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Floyd on Britain & Ireland

By Keith Floyd

Published 1988

  • About


  • 1 × 3½ lb (1.73 kg) ox tongue
  • Salt
  • Peppercorns
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bouquet garni

For the pickle

  • 4 pints (2.3 litres) water
  • 3 oz (75 g) coarse sugar
  • 1 oz (25 g) saltpetre
  • 14 oz (400 g) sea salt


Put all the pickle ingredients into a pan and boil until no more scum rises. Set aside until cold.

Meanwhile, rub the tongue with salt and leave for a few hours to rid it of any blood. When ready, rinse and immerse it in the pickle. Make sure that it is well covered with the pickle: if not, turn it every day. The tongue should be ready in 4 to 5 days, but if it is fairly large leave it for 2 more days.

Remove the tongue from the pickle and wash thoroughly. Tie the meat neatly and put into a pan of cold water. Bring slowly to the boil and skim. Now add a few peppercorns, a carrot, onion and bouquet garni and simmer for 3½ to 4 hours. When cooked, plunge the tongue into cold water and skin. Curl the tongue, put into a 6 in. (15 cm) tin and press with a plate and weight on top. When cold, turn out and serve with one of the chutneys or pickles.

If you wish to serve the tongue hot, omit the pressing procedure but let it rest for 20 minutes. Slice the tongue and serve with any of the sauces.