Delicious slow-cooked beef cheeks recipe. Slow-cooking turns the tough meat into a wonderfully melt-in-your-mouth, rich and flavorful dish.
I've been making this recipe often this winter. It is rich, tasty and comforting. I think it's even better than crockpot pot roast. Which says a lot, because I LOVE pot roast.
Beef cheeks are a tough cut of meat. But when properly cooked, which means slow-cooked, they are delicious - the meat becomes tender and very flavorful.
The ingredients you'll need
The list of ingredients needed to make this recipe is delightfully short. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Two large beef cheeks: I usually order them online at grasslandbeef.com.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use, or the dish could turn out too salty. A teaspoon of kosher salt weighs less than a teaspoon of regular salt.
Spices: Onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and ground cumin. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can ruin a dish - especially a slow-cooked dish.
How to cook beef cheeks
The challenge is that they are wonderfully flavorful, but they are also fairly lean and very tough. All that chewing the cow does develops some tough muscle tissue!
The only way to make them edible - and delicious - is to cook them low and slow and use moist heat.
You can't, for example, simply roast them or pan fry them. But the process of slow cooking turns their tough meat into a wonderfully melt-in-your-mouth, rich and flavorful dish.
The detailed instructions are listed in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps for making this recipe:
Place the meat in your slow cooker.
Mix the salt and spices in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture all over the meat.
Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
Serve with the strained cooking liquids for dipping. You can boil the cooking liquids and reduce them into a gravy, but I rarely bother.
Shouldn't you add a liquid to the crockpot?
No, that's actually not necessary. The meat releases liquid as it cooks. Adding liquid before cooking would result in the meat basically boiling inside the crockpot. That's not what you want.
How to serve slow-cooked beef cheeks
What about leftovers?
Leftovers keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. I reheat them, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
Sometimes I shred the leftover meat and use it to top my lunch salad the next day. Or I add it to a sandwich wrap.
More slow cooker recipes you might enjoy
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Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks
- 2 large beef cheeks, around 2 lb. raw weight
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Place the beef cheeks in your slow cooker. Mix the salt and spices in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture all over the meat. There’s no need to add liquids. The meat will release liquids as it cooks.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours (I cooked for 8 hours). When done, the beef cheeks will smell amazing and the meat will be super tender.
- Serve with the strained cooking liquids for dipping.
- Optional: Make gravy. When done, transfer the meat to a baking dish, cover with foil and place in a warm (150 degrees F) oven. Strain the cooking liquids into a glass measuring cup. Use a spoon to skim off the fat layer that floats to the top.
- Pour the cooking liquids into a medium saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, until reduced into a rich sauce, about 10 minutes.
- Serve the slow cooked beef cheeks topped with the gravy.