Because beef cheeks come from tough, thick jaw muscle, they require long, slow cooking to be tender. However, they are also boneless and succulent when braised or stewed to add lush flavor to your favorite beef dishes.
To prepare beef cheeks for cooking, you may choose to marinate them for at least two hours but perhaps as long as overnight. A little salt, fresh lemon juice and olive oil helps break down the tough tissue while adding just a bit of fat to the meat. Many cooks also score beef cheeks to further tenderize them.
If you want to stew the beef cheeks on the stove top, brown them first in olive oil in a pot just large enough to hold them, and then let them rest while you saute vegetables, such as onions, carrot, celery and garlic, with herbs, such as bay rosemary, thyme and sage. Add stock and/or wine, and the return the beef cheeks to the pot. Bring the pot to a slow simmer over medium heat, and then reduce temperature. Stew the beef cheeks until they’re fork tender, adding liquid and re-seasoning as necessary.
If you prefer braised beef cheeks, brown the meat and saute the other ingredients in a Dutch oven exactly as if you’re stewing the meat. Then, depending on how tender you want the beef cheeks, seal them in the pot and braise in a cool oven for 8-10 hours at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for a slow cook or about three hours at 325-350 degrees Fahrenheit. The meat should be juicy and very tender