Can you BBQ beef cheeks?
Beef cheeks have gained popularity in recent years as a delicious and succulent cut of meat. Traditionally, beef cheeks were used for slow cooking methods such as braising or stewing to break down the tough connective tissues and render them tender. However, with the rise of barbecue culture, many people wonder if beef cheeks can be cooked on the grill. In this article, we will explore the possibility of grilling beef cheeks and provide some tips and techniques to achieve the best results.
The suitability of beef cheeks for barbecuing
Beef cheeks are an incredibly flavorful and tender cut of meat when cooked properly. They are known for their rich marbling and gelatinous texture, which adds depth and complexity to dishes. Due to their high fat content and connective tissues, beef cheeks lend themselves well to slow cooking methods that allow the meat to break down and become tender.
However, when it comes to barbecuing, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Grilling beef cheeks directly over high heat may not yield the desired results. Since beef cheeks are relatively lean compared to other cuts, they can dry out quickly if exposed to intense heat for too long. Therefore, a more indirect grilling method is recommended to ensure the meat remains juicy and tender.
Techniques for barbecuing beef cheeks
To barbecue beef cheeks successfully, here are some techniques you can employ:
- Marinating: Marinating beef cheeks before grilling can help tenderize the meat and infuse it with additional flavors. A marinade consisting of acidic ingredients like vinegar or citrus juice, along with herbs, spices, and oil, can work wonders in enhancing the taste and tenderness of the beef cheeks.
- Indirect grilling: As mentioned earlier, direct grilling over high heat can lead to dry and tough beef cheeks. Instead, opt for indirect grilling by setting up your grill for two-zone cooking. This means having a hot side where you sear the meat initially and a cooler side where you finish cooking the beef cheeks slowly. This method allows the collagen in the meat to break down gradually, resulting in a moist and tender final product.
- Low and slow: When barbecuing beef cheeks, it’s important to cook them at a low temperature (around 250°F to 300°F) for an extended period. This slow cooking process helps to melt the collagen and render the fat, resulting in incredibly tender meat.
- Basting: Basting the beef cheeks with a flavorful sauce or marinade during the cooking process can help keep them moist and add an extra layer of taste. Brush the meat periodically with the basting mixture to keep it from drying out.
Recipe: Grilled BBQ Beef Cheeks
Now that we’ve discussed the techniques, here’s a simple recipe for delicious grilled BBQ beef cheeks:
- 2 pounds of beef cheeks
- For the marinade:
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- In a large bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients.
- Add the beef cheeks to the marinade, ensuring they are well-coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for maximum flavor.
- Preheat your grill for indirect grilling, aiming for a temperature of around 250°F to 300°F.
- Remove the beef cheeks from the marinade and discard any excess liquid. Pat them dry with paper towels.
- Sear the beef cheeks on the hot side of the grill for about 3-4 minutes per side until nicely browned.
- Move the beef cheeks to the cooler side of the grill and continue cooking for approximately 2-3 hours, or until they reach an internal temperature of around 195°F to 205°F.
- Baste the beef cheeks with the remaining marinade or your favorite BBQ sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- Once cooked, remove the beef cheeks from the grill and let them rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
- Serve the grilled BBQ beef cheeks with your choice of sides and enjoy!
While beef cheeks are traditionally slow-cooked, they can indeed be barbecued to create a tasty and unique dish. By utilizing techniques such as marinating, indirect grilling, and cooking low and slow, you can achieve tender and flavorful beef cheeks on the grill. Experiment with different marinades and sauces to personalize the dish to your liking. So, next time you’re planning a barbecue, don’t shy away from trying beef cheeks – they might just become your new favorite grilled delicacy!