Ox cheek, also known as beef cheek, refers to the cut of meat taken from the cheek muscles of a cow. Ox cheek is a popular meat cut in ethnic and French cooking.
Ox cheeks are dense and finely grained with very little to no fat. Because they are such a lean cut, when they are prepared incorrectly ox cheeks can be too tough for many people. Correctly prepared ox cheeks are richly flavored and creamy.
How to Prepare
Because the tough connective tissue running through ox cheeks can be gristly when undercooked, the best method for preparing ox cheeks is braising. Braising involves browning or searing the meat in oil or fat and then cooking for several hours in a liquid in a covered pot. Dutch ovens and Crock-Pots are excellent for simmering the meat. Red wine, juices or stock add flavor to braised ox cheeks.
Ox cheeks are an unusual cut of meat not found in many grocery stores. Grocery stores specializing in ethnic food or butcher shops are the best places to look for them. You can use beef brisket cut to size when you can’t find ox cheek.
References and ResourcesChow: Beef Cheeks
My Gourmet: Expert Advice: What Are Beef Cheeks?
Alibi: An Offal Story: Cow Cheeks and Barbacoa