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Beef tongue is the tongue of a cow. The human consumption of tongue dates back to the days of Paleolithic hunters, who preferred the fatty portions of the carcass including tongues, as well as organs, brains, feet, and marrow. Beef tongue is very high in fat, at almost 75% of its calories derived. Some countries, such as Canada, and specifically the province of Alberta which have a large beef export industry, export large quantities of beef tongue.
The tongues of other animals, notably pigs and lambs, are also eaten, and are very similar to beef tongue.
Tongue is often seasoned with onion and other spices, and then placed in a pot to boil. After it has cooked the skin is removed. Pickled tongue is often used by the preparer because it is already spiced. If cooked in a sauce, it can then later be reused as a sauce for meatballs or any other food item.
Another way of preparing tongue is to scald it in hot water and remove the skin. Then roast the tongue in an oven, using the pan drippings to prepare a gravy.
Tongue is widely used in Mexican cuisine, and often seen in tacos and burritos (lengua). Also, tongue is a part of Bulgarian cuisine (tongue with butter), Romanian cuisine, German cuisine, Portuguese cuisine, Brazilian cuisine, Persian cuisine, Indonesian cuisine (semur lidah or beef tongue stew), Nicaraguan cuisine, Philippine cuisine, Albanian cuisine, English cuisine, Russian cuisine, Korean cuisine (hyeomit gui), Japanese cuisine (the dish gyutan originating in the city of Sendai) and Italian cuisine (typical dish in Piemonte and Genoa).