Fierce Bull rubbed beef cheeks
Beef cheeks have a deep, rich flavour that deserves more recognition than it currently holds. They are delicious in tacos, on mash potato or in pasta. Although they are relatively small in comparison to most cuts associated with barbecue they still require a long, low and slow cook. When fully rendered, somewhere between 205f'/96c to 210f/99c, the gelatinous streak that runs through the cheek breaks down making the meat tender and juicy. They do have a bit of a reputation for being stubborn little things when it comes to breaking down that streak of fat. They may be small compared to some bigger cuts but don't let that fool you. If they take 7 hours to cook then so be it because if that fat doesn't render out then you won't want to be eating them.
This recipe calls for spritzing the beef cheeks every 30 minutes once the bark has formed. Another popular method is boating. Basically after the bark is well formed put the cheeks into a disposable aluminium tray and add some warmed liquid. Popular liquids include beer (stout works well), stock and apple juice. There's plenty of options and often honey will also find it's way into the mix.
Coffee and beef are a match made in heaven. They compliment each other really well and when you add salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, onion and the earthy touch of cumin from the SmokeyQ Fierce Bull Rub you can't go wrong. It also works wonders on steaks and burgers.
- beef cheeks, trimmed
- mayonnaise or mustard
- SmokeyQ Fierce Bull Coffee Rub
- Trim all the fat and silvery membrane off the cheeks. This stuff is really tough so if you choose to do it yourself make sure you have a sharp knife. Otherwise ask your butcher to do it for you.
- Apply a light slather of mayo or mustard and then liberally apply the rub.
- Fire up your cooker aiming for somewhere between 280f/138c to 300f/150c.
- Add the beef cheeks and if you're using a charcoal BBQ had a couple of half fist sized chunks of you're favourite wood.
- After 3 hours take a peak and if the bark looks well formed, spritz with an equal mix of half apple cider vinegar and water. Alternatively, if you are boating add the cheeks to a dish and add the warmed liquid.
- Keep spritzing every 30 minutes until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 205f/96c. At this point use the thermometer probe and check another thick part of the meat. You're not so much looking for a particular temperature as you are the feel of the meat. Much like a brisket or short ribs it should probe like butter. When fully cooked the gelatinous line of fat that runs through the cheeks will render, loosening up the muscle fibers and moistening the meat. If the cheeks feel tough then leave them for another 25 minutes before checking again.
- Pull or slice the beef cheeks depending on how you are serving them. They're especially awesome on tacos and adding a drizzle of honey brings a wonderful contract of sweet and savoury.
Photos and recipe by Messy Benches. Visit www.messybenches.com