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Shinin' Times at The Fort
by Holly Arnold Kinney
I can still recall boiling buffalo tongue in water and Bay spices in the kitchen of the Fort with my mother. Even as a young girl, I was surprised at how large the tongues were but even so I realized they were smaller than beef tongue. After we boiled them, my mom and I peeled off the outer skin so that the tongues were edible. I was always taught to revere the buffalo tongue, which was considered sacred meat by the Indians, used in religious ceremonies. I was told to be grateful to the intelligent animal who sacrificed his life to nourish our stomachs and our souls.

My dad, Sam'l, wrote about the history of the buffalo tongue:
"Buffalo tongue was thought by many to be the greatest gourmet delicacy of the American 19th century. Considered holy meat by Native Americans, it has a delicate flavor and fine texture and is far superior to beef tongue, which has a coarser quality. The demand for buffalo tongue was a major reason for the wholesale slaughter of the bison. Tragically whole herds were killed for their hides and tongues, the latter which were smoked, salted or pickled and sent east in fully loaded railroad cars. Such fine restaurants as Delmonico's in New York City reportedly served it to the likes of President Ulysses S. Grant and singer Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale. Today, in limited numbers, buffalo tongues are once again gracing gourmet palates, for in addition to the herds that still roam on federally protected land, bison are thriving on ranches in all 50 states."
Serves 8 to 12 as an appetizer


    • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 buffalo tongue (about 2 pounds)

    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
    • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
    • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • Italian parsley, for garnish


Bring a large pan of water to a boil with the onion, bay leaf and pepper. Add the tongue and reduce heat to low. Poach gently for 2½ to 3 hours, until tender and cooked through.

In a mixing bowl, whisk mayonnaise, capers, horseradish, oregano and pepper until well blended. Cover and chill the sauce until ready to serve.

When the tongue is cooked, remove it from the poaching liquid and allow it to cool slightly.

While still warm, peel off the light outer skin with a knife.

Preheat the broiler.
Slice the tongue into 1/2 inch thick pieces across the grain. Assemble on an ovenproof platter and heat briefly under the broiler.

Place a bowl of the caper sauce on the platter and garnish with parsley


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