Smoked & Braised Beef Cheeks

I’ve tried cooking beef cheeks a couple of different ways - braised 100% of the cook, smoked 100% of the cook, and now 50/50 braised and smoked. I have to say that the mix is now my preference! The meat stays more firm than when braised the entire time (it tends to fall apart) which is great if you’re trying to slice it as it holds together. It also cooks faster than when smoking it for example to make pulled beef. With any of the cooking methods, beef cheeks are one of my favourite cuts to cook because they’re very forgiving and really full of flavour.

I’ll step through the recipe with some pictures.

First, buy good quality meat! This is from Rock n Roll Butcher on Logan road in Stones Corner. We’ve been shopping there for years (as well as the fruit & veg and bakery) and rate it highly.

Trim off any excess hard fat and silver skin to ensure the meat is exposed. Beef cheeks have loads of fat throughout the meat, which is what renders to make it super tender.

Season with whatever rub you like. I used the Lanes BBQ Brisket rub (same as the ribeye) because I liked it so much! It worked perfectly with the beef cheeks as it’s quite similar to a brisket.

Then, I put the beef cheeks in to smoke in the Weber at 135C for 3.5 hours.

Whilst they were smoking, I through together the braising liquor. This is based of one of my all-time favourite recipes, which is from Gourmet Traveller all the way back in 2008!

Here’s a pic of all of the ingredients I used, plus 750mL of sarsaparilla, 1 cup of chicken stock, 2 tbsp of worcestershire sauce. I basically did the liquid until it was 1cm below the surface of the tray.

And the beef cheeks in the tray, look at that colour!

I then sealed with foil over the top and braised for a further 3 hours.

To finish everything off, take the tray out (carefully!) and let the cheeks cool a bit in the liquid, up to 30 minutes. Whilst the cheeks are resting (keep them warm in a dish in the oven) I then strained and reduced the braising liquid in a saucepan for about 45 minutes until it was thickened.

I think I’ll be doing these more regularly!

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