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Dec 1, 2008 09:02 PM

Pinch my cheeks!

Last night on FN's Iron Chef, Chef Symon used beef cheeks in a dish.

I've never tasted beef cheeks or cooked with them (Alton said they required long braising) , does anyone have any experience to share with me and the rest of the class? I love beef so I imagine I'd enjoy them.

Fish and pork cheeks are the sweetest part of the fish and pig, so does the same logic hold for beef?

None of my local butchers would have these, so I called a local specialty meat shop, and after getting bounced to three different purveyors, the final one said she could order them for me, but I'd have to buy a 30 lb box @ $1.98 per lb. I don't want to spend $60 on something I may not like, so I'm asking you all for recommendations, experience, advice, etc.

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  1. Ken,

    I have seen them at various kosher butchers in the Los Angeles area. I've eaten them and they are very gelatinous. As for being sweet, they were prepared in a Moroccan style with a lot of seasoning, so I can't say that they were sweet. I too love beef, but I didn't find them too enjoyable. I wouldn't spend the $60 on beef cheeks.

    1. I wondered how he got the beef so tender when he had less than an hour to cook them? did I miss how he did that or what?

      2 Replies
      1. Your profile notes that you live in California, I don't know where. If you have ethnic markets nearby, try them for locating beef cheeks. I live in the Phoenix AZ area and buy beef cheeks at hispanic or asian markets.

        They are not sweet like fish cheeks but have a "beefy" flavor that I like very much. They're gelatinous and delicious if cooked for quite a long time, slowly. We enjoy a garlic-y beef cheek-chile soup and also use them for taco or burrito filling. Now, I'm getting hungry .........

        1. I had beef cheeks at a restaurant that were neat tender little ovoid parcels, so i thought I'd try to cook some. The only source I've found so far was at the Mexican market, and they sawed a 3-pound slab off a frozen 20-pound block. So I couldn't really see what it was like, it looked like a meat-colored brick until I defrosted it.

          When I did, it was not tidy ovoids, it had lots of strange stuff to throw out that I couldn't detect any meat in, but it also had some good pieces-- I trimmed and threw out more after I had cooked it, then returned it to the sauce. It had gelatinous areas, it's not all gelatinous. If you kind of chunk it apart rather than trying to serve large pieces you can get rid of a lot of it. I probably threw out a third of it by weight.

          All together, I'd say it would depend on the price to be worth the waste and extra work. The meat was tender and tasted good, more tender than beef shanks which are also gelatinous.