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Pork cheeks, how did I not know?!?!?!?

cornman

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A restaurant/butcher in our area that we frequent (if you’re in the central PA area, check out Cabalar in Lancaster…awesome burgers) had pork cheeks for sale. I decided to pick some up and smoke them.

Four pieces at about 1.25 lbs seasoned a few hours before the smoke and then on the WSM with some hickory and apple chunks.
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After 2 hours, I wrapped the cheeks in a mix of Sweet Baby Rays, a good size pat of butter, rib rub, and a drizzle of honey and let them cook for another hour. I then checked them and they were almost probe tender. I gave them an additional half hour and they seemed good to go.
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I made each of us a plate of sliced homegrown tomatoes with some Gazebo Room dressing with me having the cheek on a roll while my wife ate hers cut up.
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I ended up eating 3 of the 4 cheeks. I’ve never thought of cheeks before but it makes sense. They were really good…I probably could have let on a bit longer as they were tender but not pt roast tender as I saw online. They had the taste of a savory rib meat minus the bone, definitely want to try them again!
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Thanks for looking!
 

SmokinEdge

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They cure and smoke really nice as well.
nice looking meal.
 

bertman

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I've had beef cheek tacos, but never pork cheek. If that tasted as good as it looks, it must have been a treat.
 

Hamdrew

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It is arguably the best part of pork, in some cultures always goes to the cook or guest of honor when eating whole hog.

Cured it is known as guanciale, traditionally was more often than not unsmoked but unsmoked is pretty common/easily available these days. I think of it like an always-perfect slab of belly.
 

SmokinAl

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That’s a good looking sammie!
I have never seen it in our local stores, but if I do, you can bet I will buy a couple of pounds!
Al
 

uncle eddie

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Ha! I forgot about jowels.

I actually, long ago (late 1980's sometime), won a bench rest, open sight, muzzle loader shoot. A hog was butchered for the prizes. The pork "parts" were wrapped in white, unlabelled butcher paper. As I was the winner, I got first choice...and...I picked the one that looked like a whole ham wrapped in butcher paper. It wasn't a ham! Boy oh boy did I get a lot of jowels. I ended up smoking/grilling most of it, like you did. It was just like delicious bacon.
 

oldsmokerdude

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Pork cheeks? Who woulda thought? I must admit that I usually skip right over the "nasty" parts but those look great. I'm going to head over to my butcher today to ask about them. Thank you for sharing.
 

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