Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gyutan Yakiniku

Gyu-tan is one of my favorite cuts for Yakiniku.  Gyutan means beef tongue.  People travel to Sendai (in north-eastern Japan) to eat it as a special delicacy, however it is now popular as Yakiniku in restaurants throughout Japan. 
 (Yes, that's my beloved Sendai that was hit by a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in 2011) 

If you've never tried it before, your first question will probably be "What does gyutan taste like?"

The flavour of gyutan (apart from tasting like beef, obviously) I would describe as "buttery".  When cooked just right, gyutan is very tender and moist, and a little chewy at the same time.  
Ok, this description is probably sounding a little vague to you, so maybe you'll just have to try it!

In Yakiniku, gyutan may be sprinkled with salt and pepper during cooking, and/or you may like to dip it in Yakiniku Tare (Yakiniku Sauce) or Ponzu.
I find it equally delicious with Tare or Ponzu.

Click to see more about Yakiniku: How to make Yakiniku
 In my photo below is the sliced Gyutan along with some Beef Heart (Shinzou) marinated with garlic, sake, oil and a little salt.  The gyutan I leave plain as it is delicious on its own.  

In Australia, we enjoy gyutan and beef heart often as at $5/kg for whole tongues from (Woolworths) supermarkets, it's about the cheapest cut of meat.

If you don't feel like skinning and slicing a whole tongue, have a look in the freezer of your Korean grocery store, and you'll pay a little more (around $16/kg) for perfectly prepared, thinly sliced beef tongue.

If you buy a whole beef tongue for the first time (yes, I agree it is a little scary-looking) and you've never prepared beef tongue before it's quite a tricky procedure.  However, there is an easy way for removing the skin and slicing a beef tongue thinly for gyutan as you see in my photo below.
Click here for my Gyutan Preparation Tutorial.
♡ ♡ ♡ 
I first tried Gyutan at a restaurant in Matsushima, one of the great natural wonders of Japan, located near Sendai.


  1. Wow thank you! I've been trying to find a way to prepare gyu tan because my gf is crazy over it. I've seen it a few times at Victoria market but just couldn't bring myself to buy it as I thought I'd ruin it.

    I'm more confident at giving it a try now :)

  2. Thank you for the info on how to eat it,the tutorial for how to prep and for the photos -- I've been looking for all these and you have them all here. I love beef tongue (we call it lengua) and I've been wanting to try it grilled since I saw it in one concert vid where this was served to the band.

  3. Gyutan is one of the best dishes to come out of Japan in the last 60-70 years. Why this method of cooking it isn't more popular around the world (where cow tongue is reasonably popular) I'll never know.

    My wife is from Sendai and whilst I absolutely adore sushi, sashimi, agedashi tofu, buta no kakuni etc (i.e. all the popular 'traditional' dishes that foreigners love), my favorite has to be a big plate of gyutan, rice and a nice bowl of tororo with a raw egg on top (ideally from Rikyu near Sendai station)! Mmmm just typing this has made my mouth water!

    I've never managed to find it in the UK in a form that would allow me to cook it like they do in Japan and I don't much fancy buying a whole tongue!

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