Master the Art of Cooking Succulent Beef Cheek Meat in the Oven

Beef cheek is an underrated cut of meat that deserves more attention. When properly prepared beef cheek transforms into fork-tender fall-apart meat with rich, deep flavors. The key is slow cooking it with moist heat to break down its collagen. And one of the best ways to achieve beef cheek perfection is by braising it in the oven.

With a few simple tips, you can master the art of cooking succulent beef cheek meat in the oven In this comprehensive guide, we will cover

  • Benefits of cooking beef cheek
  • Prepping the meat
  • Choosing the right cooking method
  • Step-by-step oven braising instructions
  • Serving suggestions
  • Common FAQs

Arm yourself with this beef cheek knowledge and get ready for your most tender. flavorful meal yet!

Why Cook Beef Cheek Meat?

Compared to popular cuts like ribeye or sirloin, beef cheek is relatively unknown. But this inexpensive cut packs some major advantages:

  • Rich taste – Beef cheek contains high levels of collagen, which breaks down into gelatin when cooked slowly. This gives it an incredibly rich, meaty flavor.

  • Tender texture – The ample collagen also ensures beef cheek becomes fall-apart tender after braising. It turns deliciously moist and succulent.

  • Budget friendly – As a lesser-used cut, beef cheek costs very little. You get amazing taste and texture at a fraction of the price of premium steaks.

  • Versatile – Braised beef cheek pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes, pasta, polenta, rice, and more. Use it in tacos, sliders, stews – the possibilities are endless!

With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why beef cheek is worth seeking out and learning to cook properly.

Preparing Beef Cheek for the Oven

Proper prep is key to braising success. Follow these steps when getting beef cheek ready for the oven:

  • Choose the right cut – Select beef cheek labeled as such, not just “beef roast.” Opt for well-marbled meat for maximum moisture and flavor.

  • Trim excess fat – Some external fat is good, but too much can make the braise greasy. Trim off any unsightly large pieces.

  • Cut into chunks – Cut the beef cheek into 2-3 inch pieces. This increases the surface area for crispy searing.

  • Season generously – Use salt, pepper and your favorite herbs and spices. The seasoning permeates the meat as it braises.

  • Marinate overnight – For the best flavor, marinate the seasoned beef cheeks in the fridge for up to 24 hours before cooking.

Now the beef cheek is ready to transform into fork-tender perfection in the oven.

Choosing the Right Oven Cooking Method

To turn tough beef cheek into transcendent tenderness, moist heat and time are essential. Of all cooking methods, oven braising produces the best results.

Here’s why braising is king for beef cheek:

  • Low and slow – Braising utilizes low heat (325F or less) for long cooking times. This gently breaks down collagen.

  • Moist environment – The meat cooks partially submerged in liquid, keeping it succulent.

  • Full flavor development – Sauce ingredients like wine, stock and aromatics infuse the meat over hours.

  • Hands-off convenience – Aside from occasional basting, braising requires minimal work once in the oven.

While stovetop braising in a dutch oven is also an option, the oven maintains an even, enveloping heat. Set it and forget it!

Step-By-Step Guide to Oven Braising Beef Cheek

Follow these simple steps for fork-tender beef cheek every time:

1. Preheat the oven

Heat oven to 300°F. This low temp is ideal for the long cooking time.

2. Sear the beef cheeks

In an ovenproof dutch oven or braiser, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef cheeks and brown well on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. This caramelizes the exterior and builds deep, rich flavors.

3. Add aromatics

Push beef cheeks to one side. Add aromatics like onions, carrots and celery to the pot. Sauté until starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes.

4. Pour in braising liquid

Add just enough liquid like wine, stock or beer to come halfway up the meat. The liquid will reduce as it braises.

5. Braise in the oven

Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise for 3-4 hours until fork tender. Baste and turn meat every 45 minutes.

6. Finish the sauce

Transfer beef cheeks to a plate. Skim excess fat from sauce. Simmer to reduce and thicken. Season to taste.

7. Serve and enjoy!

Place beef cheeks on mashed potatoes, polenta or your favorite bed. Spoon over the luscious sauce. Dig in and savor the results of your beef cheek braising efforts!

With this easy oven method, you’ll be rewarded with fall-apart tender, juicy beef cheeks in a rich sauce every time.

Creative Ways to Serve Braised Beef Cheeks

The possibilities are endless when serving your fork-tender oven braised beef cheeks:

  • Hearty main dishes – Serve over mashed potatoes, creamy polenta, rice, or pasta. Ladle on plenty of braising sauce.

  • Savory sandwiches – Stuff tender chunks into crusty rolls with melty cheese and caramelized onions.

  • Taco fillings – Chop or shred the cheeks and pile into corn tortillas with all the fixings.

  • Pizzas and flatbreads – Top par-baked crusts with shredded beef, mozzarella and the reduced braising sauce.

  • Pies and hand pies – Mix beef cheek chunks and sauce into pie dough along with veggies like carrots and parsnips.

  • Salads – Chilled, shredded beef cheek makes a delicious protein-packed topper for fresh greens.

However you serve it, braised beef cheek is guaranteed to satisfy. Let your creativity run wild!

Common Questions About Cooking Beef Cheek

If this is your first beef cheek braising experience, you may still have some questions. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions:

Where can I buy beef cheeks?

Check with your local butcher or specialty markets. Beef cheek may also be available through online meat purveyors. Look for well-marbled pieces.

Can I use other liquids besides wine to braise?

Yes! Beef or vegetable stock and beer also work well. Avoid hard liquors which can overpower the other flavors.

Do I need to baste the beef as it braises?

Basting is recommended every 45 minutes. Opening the pot briefly won’t drastically affect the cooking temp. Basting bastes moisture and helps color the exterior.

How do I know when it’s done braising?

Use the fork tender test – beef cheeks are perfect when fork tines slide in and out of the meat with no resistance.

Can I prepare beef cheek meat in a slow cooker instead?

Absolutely! Follow the same braising steps then cook on low heat for 8+ hours until tender.

How long does braised beef cheek last in the fridge?

Properly stored, cooked beef cheek will keep for 4-5 days refrigerated. The braising liquid preserves the meat.

Still hungry for more beef cheek knowledge? Browse recipes and connect with fellow beef cheek lovers in recipe community

BARBACOA “ESPECIAL” HOMEMADE RECIPE – Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks + Lengua

How do you cook beef cheeks in the oven?

Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C) for slow and gentle cooking. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Sear the beef cheeks on all sides until a golden-brown crust forms. This step will help seal in the juices and enhance the flavor. Transfer the seared beef cheeks to a roasting pan or oven-safe dish.

How long does it take to cook beef cheeks?

Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, then pop the casserole pot into a preheated oven and bake until tender. Most of my beef cheek recipes have a cooking time of approximately 3-4 hours at an oven temperature of 150 degrees C, however, this largely depends on the size of the beef cheeks. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

How do you cook beef cheeks in a slow cooker?

Marinade the beef cheeks as outlined above. Pat dry cheeks, add salt, and sear in skillet to build flavor. Add beef cheeks and marinade to slow cooker and add enough beef stock to cover them. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours (if cheeks are larger than 8 ounces, add an hour or two to your timeline). Remove cheeks and set aside.

Can you cook beef cheeks overnight?

We like to do this step overnight to have the salt act as a dry brine to tenderize the meat, but it is not necessary. When you’re ready to cook your beef cheeks, heat up 2 Tbsp of olive oil in your pot on medium-high heat and sear all sides of the beef cheek on the hot pan, about 1-2 minutes per side.

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