Perhaps one of the less understood beef cuts are the beef cheeks. These cows’ cheek muscles are a very tough cut of meat, hard-working muscles that houses an abundance of connective tissues, definitely a part works out a lot as it is constantly used to chew grass giving it that muscular and dense texture. This means it should be cooked low and slow like brisket or short ribs to reap its benefits. Having said that unlike those cuts mentioned where only several sections tend to be juicy specially when it is beside the fat, beef cheeks on the other hand are juicy on every bite, with strips of collagen everywhere that gives it that unique sticky and succulent feel. Another good thing about this cut, unlike most, what I notice it that it absorbs all the flavours thrown at it, where it balances the meatiness and the flavours of the ingredient it is accompanied with, hence it goes well on braised dishes, stews and curries With its collagen content it also adds the thickness of sauces as well as flavoursome results.
Many years ago, this cut was quite cheap but thanks to cooking shows like MasterChef who introduced this to the masses making it popular now. Before I never seen it in restaurants but now even the last Airport lounge, I visited, this beef cut is used on a delicious red wine braised dish. I had the opportunity to use them even before it became popular because even before the bigger supermarkets started to sell them, it was already being sold on Asian groceries. If you want to give this a go, I have several recipes for you to try and trust me they are all quite good!
Beef Cheeks and Tendon Claypot Rice
A Chinese inspired dish of fork tender sweet savoury beef cheeks, melt in your mouth tendons finished off on top of a rice cooked on a claypot.
Vanilla Braised Beef Cheeks
Yup vanilla can be used on savoury dishes, this one is a great example. Simply cooked with wine and vanilla bean together with herbs and spices like garlic, onion, thyme and bay leaves.
Beef Cheeks in Red Wine Casserole
The basic on them all, beef cheeks in red wine, celery, carrots and onions, slowly braised until its fork tender.
Beef Cheeks and Tendons Adobo with Fried Pearl Potatoes
Filipino adobo with the pork but with all the joys and sensation of eating it. Fork tender beef cheeks replace pork meat, beef tendons replace pork fat, then served with pearl potatoes in the famous savoury, sweet, sour and garlicky Filipino Adobo sauce
Using the best cut for this internet sensation, levelling it up even further. This is what a street food should look like!
Level up Filipino creamy macaroni soup prepared with cubed beef cheek pieces, corned beef and carrots
Beef Cheeks in Red Wine with Creamy Mashed Potatoes
It can’t get any better than this! Slow cooked beef cheeks in red wine and vegetable gravy served on top of mashed potatoes. This is what comfort means.