Smoked/Braised Beef Cheeks...

Discussion in 'Nose to Tail' started by webowabo, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well.. I wanna try it with some smoke... the braised cheeks I think we get...but I wanna do it in a smoker.. just for that extra smoke kick.
    After discussing with y'all (mick..clarissa..and some of jjs post) we go.

    Beef cheeks... im lucky enough to get these free from local mexican market cause I buy alot..and I fixed his a/c for free ;)

    As suggested..gonna marinade over night in red wine (Mick. .im not a wine drinker AT ALL...but in your honor.. Yellow Tail was on sale.. lol... ) and some garkic, onion, rosemary, thyme..

    Thats all for now. Will throw on tomorrow probaby the vertical propane so I can use the water pan with the marinade... maybe the mini if I can find a pan to fit around the house.

    I plan to smoke for an hour or so.. some light fruit wood... over the marinade juice pan...with some thin layers of beef fat trinmings on top to help not dry it out...

    Then either transfer to the Dutch and slow simmer... or.. just drop into juices and foil in smoker.. we will see.. depends on what smoker I use I guess. Any other advice.suggestions... or commments..
    Say away please ;)
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I use 9x9 foil pans when I do veggies or Au jus in the mini. Can get a 3 pack for a buck at the dollar store.
  3. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well .. the didn't have 9x9..but "beat to fit"works with 11x9.. thanks Case! :biggrin:
  4. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looking great Mike.  Never tried cheeks.  Cant wait to see how they come out. That Mexican Meat market in your part of town? I'd like to visit it? 
  5. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    ive been goin to Fiesta a lot lately Brian. Not sure if Fiestas are down around you.. I normally only look at the big cuts (briskets...butts.. roasts..) but man, if you go Saturdays morning.. they have some interesting cuts.. I have to google a shit load to see what they are when Im not sure.. hehe. then I found a whole section.. kinda on the side.. and its in Spanish but I like to think it reads "Nose to Tail" )maybe the butcher is a SMF member.. hehe. and  its nothing but pig ears.. pig fat packages.. pig skins.. your beef tripe and stomachs,, beef and pig feet.. all the OTHER meats. and they are all cheap... so I figure what the hell.. lets smoke some!!
  6. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Heck brother. I'd eat any of that. What don't come out of the back end and plop on the ground is worth cooking in some fashion!  Ive seen those Fiestas ...never been in one.  I'll give it a shot next time I'm up that way. b
  7. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    well I just rotated the cheeks in my marinade bowl... bottom to top..nd vise versa. Got a problem. Unlike if I was to just braise them, it wouldn't be a problem, and I knew they would do this but never thought about it.


    The cheek {picture #1 in post number one) is a bunch of small meaty pieces with some fat.. and bunched and froze together. however, they are no longer froze together and have fallin apart from each other.

    Problem I see coming tomorrow

    how to smoke these "pieces" with out drying up, Im not sure I can role them together like a small roast. Im horrible at butcher ties... and they would for sure dry out in individual pieces ...any suggestions?

    picture of 5 of the pieces. There might be say 12 total.

    I kinda looked around my "cook area" for some ideas. I do have a "filet grill" to hold the filets .. but I think I would still run into them drying out right?

    anyways.. anyone that looks and has ideas.. Im game to hear til about 8am tomorrow...

  8. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Whoops! Change of plan.  That happens from time to time. The cook has to think on his feet when the meat hits the fan.

    Humble suggestion...  One word my friend. Fajitas     I'll shag the flour tortillas for you. 
  9. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    fancy red wine marinaded beef fajitas.. lol.. Ill figure something out. I have one of those elastic type wraps that I saved from a small boneless butt... I bet I could stuff all meat in that and tighten it up as much as possible. That's gonna be my first try in the morning brian. that doesn't work.. then Ill panic a little more. right now... Im just enjoying probably my first Saturday night not in a bar IN A LONG time. (I finally got wifi at my house) ..its nice and relaxing.. Plus.. I have yall? :)
  10. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Pal... All I can say is that a tortilla or two has bailed my butt out when things didn't turn out a planned.   First Saturday not at bar? The boys at No Frills probably miss you.  Giving the liver a rest is not a bad thing.

    Okay  with the fancy red wine marinade i'll throw one more out there. Then I need to get back to my scotch cause the ice is melting.  How about... beef bourguignon?  Typically a winter dish.  But hey. Whatcha gonna do?  Your meat is falling apart for gosh sakes. 

  11. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    My best friend passed away about 12 years ago. He bartended at No Frills.. I use to LOVE that place.. I don't think Ive been since his funeral "party" held after the services. God rest his soul! I always have some tortilla handy.. if not my Neighbor makes her own every sunday for her Sunday service she does at her house..... nothing like fresh white corn tortillas with some meat, cilantro, onions, and some lime! yum!
  12. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good you got your own thread to showcase your cooking not that I mind in the least if you were to do this in mine.

    Back to the issue. Yellowtail good for cooking but not on my list of favourites .Mind you the Casella family who are Yellowtail are about 40 minutes from where I grew  up & a great success story.

    Do I understand the issue to be that some of these cheeks are cut into smaller bits,undiscoverable until defrost?

    I think you can still smoke them but then head down the braise road from there. You are going to have leftovers anyway so those bits can be used up as a pot pie or similar. 

    The TexMex food here is variable, its fashionable here in a transient way not convinced how authentic it is but I dont have much real Mexican to compare it to.

    I am going to have a shot at something with  a TEXMEX feel with some beef tongue ,sort of a bean,tongue,chorizo with roasted chilli. Expect a call for some advice[​IMG]
  13. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    Webowabo - I'm a little late to the thread, but I agree with Moikel. Smoke then braise.

    I prepared some cheeks a few weeks ago for barbacoa. I cut them into 2" cubes, then into a marinade for 24 hours. I then removed the cheeks, and reserved the excess marinade. I smoked the cheeks with mesquite at 185F to an IT of around 130F. From there, I put the cheeks, along with the excess marinade and a little beef stock, in a banana leaf lined Dutch oven, sealed with foil and covered, then braised  at a low temperature for 3-4 hours until the meat was very tender.

    I use the same procedure for similar dishes such as cochinita, chamorro, or for that matter, any meat that benefits best by braising.
  14. the cabeza is barbacoa and tamale country...smoke it then braise and stuff it into a tamale, steam then enjoy with a cold beer. dont make a simple cut difficult. lol.
  15. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I did pretty much the same thing, other than the banana leaf.. they turned out great, smokey... melt in your mouth good.. RIGHT up until I poured a full bag of sea salt into the damn D.O... (I was soooooooooooo mad.... .it was good that I was wasted when it happened .. which is why it happened.. or things could have gone south real fast. )

    Before the salt "thing" I was able to pull one good chunck of cheek out to cool a bit so I could slice (with a fork btw)... so I know it WAS good, before I ruined it all. I apologize for a wasted thread... but over all .. Ill do it again, less booze next time... less salt....

    and boy oh boy do I love some barbacoa.. with the cheeks... all that grease... and chili's... some homemad corn tortillas. onions... YUM!!! greatness!!!
  16. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    How did I miss this thread?? Silly drunks ;)
  17. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Mikey why in the heck did I think you were doing shanks?
  18. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    Well, it sounds like you've got it pretty much worked out, but sorry about the salt "thing". Personally, i would have rinsed the meat well and moved on. BTW, the banana leaves are a nice addition but aren't mandatory. I use them because I always have a supply on hand.

    This thread has got me thinking, and if time allows this weekend, I may make some Enchaladas de Cachetes. I'm also working on a dish I had at Babbo restaurant in NYC a couple years ago known as Ravioli Guancia di Manzo. Beef cheek ravioli with a sauce comprised of squab liver, anchovies, and capers. Squab livers aren't going to happen so I'll sub chicken livers. In both cases, the cheeks will be smoked then braised as previously described.
  19. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    And you say I was lucky not to burn myself.. this thread started the same time your shanks did Keith..... silly drunks :p

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