Braised & smoked cheeks

Braised & smoked cheeks

The Hang Fire Cookbook

Jowls and cheeks are probably the most well used parts of the living animal so lend themselves perfectly to slow and low due to their collagen content. We like to smoke our cheeks for a few hours before making them into a delicious stew. In this recipe you can use either pig or cow cheeks. If using beef, you’ll need to braise in the liquor longer than the pig cheeks. We wouldn’t recommend mixing the meats due to their varying cooking times. This is great with some Hasselback Potatoes, or mashed potatoes with Bone Marrow Butter.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg pork cheeks or beef cheeks, (as uniform size as possible)
1 litre stout or porter beer
50ml worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
50g * texas grindhouse rub [rid:33202]
2 medium onions, sliced
4 carrots, 1 left whole, 3 cut into chunks
1 garlic head, halved widthways
1 dried chipotle chilli, soaked in water overnight, seeds removed and finely sliced
1 fresh bay leaf
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
500ml chicken stock, (or beef stock if using beef cheeks)
1/4 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
3 tablespoons tomato puree
250g tin good-quality chopped tomatoes


  1. Remove any silver skin from the outside of the cheeks and put in a bowl. Pour over the beer and Worcestershire sauce. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge to tenderise overnight.
  2. The next day, take the cheeks out of the marinade, reserving the liquid. Use kitchen towel to pat the cheeks dry. Rub them all over with the oil and liberally sprinkle with rub, then leave them to come to room temperature while you prepare your smoker or grill for indirect heat. Maintain the temperature at 120°C.
  3. Add your wood and as soon as it starts to smoke, put in your cheeks. Smoke pork cheeks for about 1½ hours, and beef cheeks for about 2 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a saucepan, add the reserved marinade, stock, black pepper, salt, tomato purée and tinned tomatoes. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Skim off any foam from the surface.
  5. After your cheeks have had a hit of smoke, carefully remove them from your grill using tongs and set aside while you prepare the rest of your dish. Preheat your oven or set your grill up for indirect heat at 180°C.
  6. Put the onions, carrots, garlic, chilli and bay leaf in a casserole dish. Place your cheeks on top, pour in your reduced sauce and add some salt and pepper. Make sure there’s enough liquid to cover the cheeks, if not add a little water. Cover with a lid and braise in the oven, or your grill, for 3 hours, or until the cheeks are fork-tender. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  7. Put the cheeks on a serving dish and spoon over the sauce.
Deep South
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