What are Beef Cheeks?
Beef cheeks are pieces of meat that can help to make a tasty, hearty meal for the family. Although not as popular as other cuts of beef, the cheeks are filled with flavour and depth, which makes them a must-try for meat lovers that haven’t yet tasted them. Perhaps you want to attempt something different to your weekly steak or stew but keep the glorious beefy flavours within your dish? Beef cheeks make a relatively easy meal and are perfect for the slow cooker. You can get on with your busy day while they simmer away, and look forward to a delicious plate of hearty food in the evening. Murphy’s Butchers are here to give you the information you need to know before trying beef cheeks!
How do I cook Beef Cheeks?
Beef cheeks are a meat that comes from the cheek of a cow. The cheeks contain frequently used muscles that are necessary for chewing food, which means that they consist of a large amount of collagen. Collagen is the connective tissue within the cheek muscles that can make the meat tough, which is why beef cheeks should be cooked for a very long time through braising. Cooking your beef cheeks for a long period of time on a low heat means that the tissue in the cheeks will break down, leaving your meat tender and incredibly flavoursome. Beef cheeks are also healthier than other cuts of beef so you can enjoy a tasty, protein-filled meal with a very small amount of fat and calories. Some compare the texture of slow-cooked beef cheeks with pulled pork; the meat should be extremely succulent and simply pull apart when sliced with a fork.
What Do Beef Cheeks Taste Like?
Beef cheeks have a rich and intense meaty taste; they are frequently compared to the taste of short ribs and pot roasts. This beefy flavour is why the cheeks appeal to meat lovers, they exert beautiful juices while being braised and end up on the plate as meltingly tender pieces of meat. Beef cheeks, also known as ox cheeks, can be bought in quality butcher shops across the country, including ours! See our beef selection.
An Easy Beef Cheeks Recipe
Beef cheeks should always be slow-cooked, otherwise, they can come out tough and chewy. The most popular recipe for beef cheeks is to combine red wine and beef stock for the braising liquid and ingredients such as onions, garlic and thyme in the slow cooker or casserole dish for seasoning. Here is a simple recipe for cooking your beef cheeks in a slow cooker:
4 large beef cheeks
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves (chopped finely)
1 onion (chopped finely)
4 thyme sprigs
1 cup of beef stock
2 cups of red wine (a hearty wine like merlot or cabernet)
- Add olive oil to a frying pan on high heat and wait a few minutes until the oil starts to sizzle
- Fry your beef cheeks with your onion and garlic on a high heat for 2 minutes on each side, until the cheeks are browned
- Transfer your beef cheeks from the frying pan into the slow cooker
- In the same frying pan, add your red wine and let it heat for 2 minutes
- Add your red wine, beef stock, onion, garlic and thyme into the slow cooker with the beef cheeks
- Cover tightly
- Cook on a low heat for 8 hours
- In the last hour of cooking, add chopped mushrooms, if desired
- Ensure the meat is cooked to your required tenderness; you should be able to put a fork easily through the beef
- Season your meal with salt and pepper
Searing your beef cheeks in a frying pan before slow cooking them means that they will glaze, which gives them a beautifully rich flavour. While your beef cheeks are slow cooking, the connective tissue will break down, leaving you with delicious tender meat.
What to serve with Beef Cheeks?
There are a variety of beef cheek recipes available; the meat can be used with almost any vegetables to create healthy yet filling meals for you and your loved ones. The most popular vegetables to put in your slow cooker with your beef cheeks are carrots, asparagus and potatoes. Creamy mashed potato is also a delicious side dish for your slow cooked beef cheeks.
Why Are My Beef Cheeks Tough?
Beef cheeks must be slow cooked so that their tough tissue can break down and leave you with a succulent piece of meat. If you have cooked your beef cheeks in a frying pan or oven, they will most likely be tough. If you have slow cooked your beef cheeks and they are still tough it means that the muscle tissues have not broken down properly, so you need to cook your meat for longer. You will know when your beef cheeks have been cooked properly as you should easily be able to place your fork through them.
Beef cheeks are inexpensive, tasty and flavoursome, so what is there not to like? Here at Murphy’s Butchers we supply a huge range of meat including beef, lamb, chicken, pork, turkey, sausage and bacon. We offer a click and collect service so you can order online and collect delicious meat for your meals. Our mission is to provide the very best in quality Irish meats to our customers; all of our meat is sourced locally and of premium quality.