Beef Tongue Pot Roast with Onion Gravy

Southern Kitchen

About the recipe

Beef tongue is a wonderful cut of meat, not only because of its value but also because of its inherent “beefiness.”

In the spirit of making tongue more approachable, we’re treating it very similarly to pot roast. Because the tongue is a working muscle, it will need to be simmered for several hours until tender.

Once tender, it will absorb the flavors of any sauce with which it’s served. You can simmer the tongue on the stovetop or you can use a pressure cooker or Instant Pot to cook it in a fraction of the time. Serve with mashed potatoes for a complete and hearty meal.

Serves: 4

Hands On Time: 1 hour and 0 minutes

Total Time: 7 hours and 0 minutes


Beef Tongue

2 large beef tongues

1 large yellow onion, quartered

6 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

3 bay leaves

3 sprigs fresh thyme

Onion Gravy

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups beef broth

Mashed potatoes, for serving

Chopped chives, for serving


To make the tongue: Place the beef tongues in a large stockpot or Dutch oven with the onion, garlic, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves and thyme. Cover with water by at least 3 inches then bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once the liquid is simmering, cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the tongue is tender and a knife can be inserted with little to no resistance, about 6 hours.

(Alternatively, place all of the ingredients in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot and cover with water. Cook at high pressure until tender, about 90 minutes. Use the natural release to release the pressure.) 

Once the tongues are tender, remove from their cooking liquid and transfer to a cutting board until cool enough to handle. Peel the outer skin away from each tongue and discard. Thinly slice the meat.

To make the gravy: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is foamy, add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Once the onions are soft, add the garlic and thyme and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

Add the beef broth and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the sliced beef tongue. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the tongue in the gravy until the flavors have melded, about 10 minutes. Serve hot over mashed potatoes, garnished with chopped chives.