Pork cheeks, as the name would suggest, are the small pieces of meat found in the cheek of the pig. Not to be confused with the jowl, which surrounds the cheek and is more fat (albeit tasty fat) than meat. The cheeks are meaty little portions marbled with fat, which make them melt-in-the-mouth tender once slow cooked like in these Cider Braised ones.
Jake’s Country Meats Pork Cheek packages are around 1# each and typically have 4 or 5 individual pieces of cheek. Pick up a package or two next time you visit the market!
These Cider Braised Pork Cheeks are great served over mashed potatoes and make their own thick, rich gravy. Add a side of seasonal veggies and enjoy a farm to table meal.
- 2 Pounds of Jake’s Country Meats Pork Cheek
- Salt and Black Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Flour (we used Gluten Free Flour)
- 2 tbsp spoon butter
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups hard apple cider (a dry cider, not too sweet)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp fresh sage – chopped finely
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary – chopped finely
- 1 small yellow onion – diced
- 1 carrot – diced
- 1 celery stalk – diced
- Season both sides of pork cheeks with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour and press it into the meat to coat thoroughly.
- Heat butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Sear meat on both sides until richly browned, adjusting heat lower if necessary. When cheeks are browned, reduce heat to medium. Transfer cheeks to a plate to rest.
- Add onions, carrots, and celery to skillet. Cook and stir until softened and sweet, seasoning with a pinch of salt. Add vinegar and stir to deglaze the pan. Pour in the cider and chicken stock.
- Bring to a simmer. Add sage and rosemary. Reduce heat to low and transfer cheeks back to pan. Cover. Cook until fork tender but not falling apart, 2 to 3 hours depending on the size of the pork cheeks. Transfer to a plate to rest.
- Bring liquid to a boil over high heat, skimming off fat as it rises to the surface. Reduce volume of liquid by about 60 to 70%. Sauce will start to thicken up. Taste for salt and season as needed.
- Transfer cheeks back to liquid. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until cheeks are heated through and tender and sauce is thick enough to coat cheeks.
If you want extra sauce, you can add an extra tablespoon of flour to the veggies when they are sautéing. Then add an extra cup of cider and broth, and proceed as shown. You want extra sauce…