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Jan 14, 2009 01:11 PM

Finding Beef Cheeks in Toronto?

Hello Hounds!

I have enjoyed some great cheeks while dining out (Grano did some great ones as part of a wine tasting dinner I still dream about). I've been braising up a storm recently and wanted to graduate from short ribs - the recipes I was looking at suggesting ordering these from my butcher as they aren't often carried but easily ordered and I've never seen them at the counter.

I emailed my local place and this was the response I got back:

"No, we do not carry beef cheeks. That cut has a tendency to carry parasites and most plants do not process any more."

hmph. So two questions and I will cross post this over to homecooking as well:

1. Where have you gotten or ordered cheeks from in Toronto for home cooking goodness?

2. What are these parasites that are going to live through hours and hours of slow-cooking? Or is it simply as I suspect so some dolt doesn't think they can pan sear them and eat them medium rare?

Any help much appreciated - the dinner party where I want to cook them for isn't until the end of the month so I have some time.

Many thanks!

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  1. I bought beef cheeks at the Healthy Butcher about a year ago. I'd suggest you give them a call.

    3 Replies
      1. re: grandgourmand

        They were wonderful. Some people might not like them, as they're quite gelatinous and very softly textured.

        I cut them into large pieces and braised them with root vegetables (along with, if memory serves correctly, beer as the deglazing liquid, and beef broth). The first time I had beef cheeks was in ravioli, at Babbo in NYC. Pure heaven, that dish!

        1. re: Tatai

          Agreed, the rav at Babbo is the bomb. If you give the HB a call with several days heads up than they can hook you up. I got them from them two years ago and it was about $12.00 a kg! Again that was 2 years ago and the price of things go up once people realized what to do with them. Osso Bucco is a prime example of that!

    1. I have seen beef cheeks at Toronto Kosher. The parasite issue is, as you suspect, preposterous. I don't think my own cheeks would survive trying to chew an underdone beef cheek.