best spot to buy tongue?
For our first father's day (my wife is due to give birth imminently!), my wife decided to surprise me with one of my favourite dishes -- very, very slowly cooked beef tongue.
She went to our regular butchers, Dewar in Newton, to get the tongue. Having just partaken, I can say it was delicious. However, when I asked about where she bought it etc, I was surprised to hear that a) Dewar's only stock frozen tongue, since they don't get many customers for it and b) it was really qute pricey! She can't remember how much the tongue weighed, but let's call it 3-4 pounds. She paid just over $40 for it, which I thought was rather steep.
What's the going rate for good tongue these days, and where do CHers recommend to purchase it, preferably fresh.
You might try giving Lionette's market in the south end a call. They'll generally order up whatever you might need (and from animals who've been properly raised!). The Hi-Lo in JP sells them as well, fresh, but not as well butchered as I've had from more upscale places.
And I agree, paying more than $5/lb seems silly.
"What's the going rate for good tongue these days?"
Surely I can't be the only one whose first response was "Twenty bucks, same as in town!"
I would call Blood Farm in Groton (978-448-6669) and make a special request. Might take 'em a day or two, but the price will be worth the drive, and you can stock up on their other glorious meat products while you're there.
Last year River Rock Farm had beef tongue (frozen) for sale at the Lexington Farmer's Market for several weeks running. It was very inexpensive compared with what Dewars charged or for River Rock Farm's other products, for that matter. If memory serves it was $4 or $5 / pound. As the fellow at the market said, every cow comes with one tongue; the price is right because tongue just isn't that popular (more for me and you!). You might try contacting them directly.
The larger Market Baskets carry them in the case from time to time; call the new, ginormous Chelsea location. Market Basket carries more variety meats that have vanished from other chains, especially locations catering to Latin American populations that demand them.
PS: I love tongue. I wish it were more readily available as a deli meat in these parts.
Keep in mind a lot of variety meats are often sold frozen in boxes so that non-frozen tongue from a supermarket could have been frozen before. That said Market Basket carries some offal in cryovac from a supplier which sells offal more to the latino market and the packaging claims "never frozen." I forget the name of the vendor, but the package has flames on it and they usually have oxtail from them too. In comparing that product to buying oxtail elsewhere, it is a bit more pricey, but I did like the tongue the one time I tried it. You can always find the tongue at the Chelsea MB, not always in others, but they do stock it (why I wish I had the name handy so you could call ahead). The Somerville MB tends to carry a bit more veal and usually has veal tongue (which may have been previously frozen). Lionette's market may carry local never frozen beef tongue if you order ahead, but it is $5.25/lb and I'd say 5lbs average so it could get up to the $30 neighborhood. If there is a meat vendor at a local farmers market, you might also ask them about offal availability, with the catch you would need to order ahead.