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Beef Cheeks for Peposo?


Shel_B

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I've never used beef cheeks, and I don't cook beef except very rarely, although I like beef quite a bit.

 

I'm planning to make peposo for the first time and have been thinking about the cut of meat I want to use. Beef cheeks came up while reviewing some recipes, albeit not in the context of peposo.

 

I've heard that cheeks are very flavorful, and also that they are quite tough and need a very long braise. Might they be a good choice for peposo? Would the braise required be too long considering wine as the braising liquid?

 

I'm a little out of my element working with beef, so any suggestions would be welcome, although there's no need to spend much time on the various cuts of chuck, which I have worked with.

 

Thanks!

 ... Shel


 

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For someone that doesn't eat a lot of beef, cheeks might be too rich and gelatinous.

Maybe short ribs might be "middle ground" they are rich in beefy flavor but not as gelatinous as cheeks.

Edited by FeChef (log)
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I have cooked a number of beef cheeks but always sous vide which I know doesn't help you.  But, I just wanted to echo @FeChef and say say that they are indeed very rich and gelatinous.

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I had never heard of peposo so I googled it. From a brief survey it appears that most people use chuck. Like you, @Shel_B, I rarely eat beef any more so no expert. I don't see why short ribs wouldn't be very nice.

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10 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

Shel, where are you finding beef cheeks in the Bay Area?    Every place I've asked has told me that they all go to restaurants.

Just a guess, but perhaps The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley offers beef cheeks. It's an amazing place, if you want meat. Maybe Berkeley Bowl has them? I've never looked for them. 

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1 minute ago, Katie Meadow said:

Just a guess, but perhaps The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley offers beef cheeks. It's an amazing place, if you want meat. Maybe Berkeley Bowl has them? I've never looked for them. 

Thanks, and duh!    We LOVE The Local Butcher Shop!     It's a destination for us, not a 5 minute walk to our corner shopping street, but a joyous place to drop a bundle of money in exchange for superb product and service.     (Berkeley Bowl is a little too "Berkeley" for me.  I'm always afraid that I'm breaking some kind of unwritten but universally understood covenant.)

eGullet member #80.

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7 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

Thanks, and duh!    We LOVE The Local Butcher Shop!     It's a destination for us, not a 5 minute walk to our corner shopping street, but a joyous place to drop a bundle of money in exchange for superb product and service.     (Berkeley Bowl is a little too "Berkeley" for me.  I'm always afraid that I'm breaking some kind of unwritten but universally understood covenant.)

You're funny! Our main shopping trip is always at Berkeley Bowl, not that everything there is perfect. Sadly a few products I have relied on for years are no longer in stock. Their fish dept is good, but in the East Bay the best fish is at Tokyo Market.

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1 hour ago, Katie Meadow said:

I had never heard of peposo so I googled it. From a brief survey it appears that most people use chuck. Like you, @Shel_B, I rarely eat beef any more so no expert. I don't see why short ribs wouldn't be very nice.

Short ribs were one of my first thoughts along with a particular cut of chuck. There's also something I saw at Costco that might work ... can't recall it right now. I believe that some people use round.

 ... Shel


 

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56 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

Just a guess, but perhaps The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley offers beef cheeks. It's an amazing place, if you want meat. Maybe Berkeley Bowl has them? I've never looked for them. 

The cheeks were just something I read about. I have no idea how available they'd be. I shop at The Local Butcher and BB.  TLB provides me with soup bones and some specialty items, and, of course, beef when I need something for a special dish ...

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 ... Shel


 

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1 hour ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

 

Shel, where are you finding beef cheeks in the Bay Area?    Every place I've asked has told me that they all go to restaurants.

I've not looked for them, don't know how available they are. I have a friend who recently retired from the meat business, and should I decide to go with cheeks, I'd ask him as well as BB and TLB.

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 ... Shel


 

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1 hour ago, FeChef said:

Restaurant Depot Sells Beef cheeks. But i would suggest you use boneless short ribs for this dish.

I appreciate the info.  I don't buy perishables online.

 ... Shel


 

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7 minutes ago, Shel_B said:

I appreciate the info.  I don't buy perishables online.

You don't have a Restaurant Depot near you? They will give you a day pass if you go to the counter and ask. But that said, boneless short ribs should be easy to find at your local grocery store.

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Beef cheeks are one of my favourite cuts and would make a great peposo. They make for a nice neat presentation too with a lot less waste than short ribs (when properly trimmed). 

 

The main thing to bear in mind with them is that they need a lot of cooking to make sure you render out all the collagen. You want them to be fully probe tender before serving. Once you get to that point, reducing some of the cooking liquid and glazing them up is great. 

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12 hours ago, FeChef said:

You don't have a Restaurant Depot near you? They will give you a day pass if you go to the counter and ask. But that said, boneless short ribs should be easy to find at your local grocery store.

I never heard of Restaurant Depot until you mentioned them. There are four stores in my very general area, the closest of which is about 16 miles from me.  The drive is on heavily congested freeway, and is inconvenient to anyplace I frequent, so a special trip would be necessary.  It's not a place I'd like to shop. Thanks for the info ... might be useful in the future.

 ... Shel


 

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I hadn‘t heard of peposo before, but looking it up I am certain that beef cheeks will do great and you‘ll be please with the result. Mirroring @&roid’s advice I’d make certain they’ve rendered out most of their connective tissue as gelatin into the stew, then the richness of the entire dish (not the meat itself) will be balanced, as @AAQuesada mentioned.

 

Please give it a go and report back. I’ll be checking on offers for beef cheeks as well to try peposo. Thanks for pointing in that direction 🙏

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Posted (edited)

I just got off the phone with The Local Butcher in Berkeley and ordered a couple of beef cheeks.  They'll call me when they're ready and I'll check back here when I get 'em.  It'll be a while as, believe it or not, there's a waiting list for them and now I'm in the queue. Thanks for everyone's input.  I'm excited to try them.

 

I the mean time, I'll try some more common cuts just to get a feel for making the dish and decide upon what pepper variety to use.

Edited by Shel_B
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 ... Shel


 

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I make peposo relatively often, and was taught to use...whatever's cheap (and usually, tough) at the butcher's that day. It's a great dish, but it's also Tuscan, and Tuscans are notoriously cheap frugal. That said, beef cheeks sound great.

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Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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I love beef cheeks in long braises (or in the pressure cooker), so they should work great in a stew like peposo! I also see some peposo recipes using beef shins, another cut that you don't see that often and is tasty as well, although not as luscious in texture compared to cheeks.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Today was the day. The beef cheeks arrived and I picked them up at Berkeley's Local Butcher.  I've not opened the package yet, and will try to make the braise in the next day or two. Really looking forward to trying them.

 

The gang at the shop also provided some pork neck bones, a couple of chicken carcasses, and their luscious ground pork. On the agenda with peposo is Bolognese and bone broth.  Just need a bit more chicken meat which I'll pick up at TJ's tomorrow.

 

I treated myself to a walnut chocolate chip cookie made with leaf lard.

 

All-in-all, a good day in Berkeley.

Edited by Shel_B
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 ... Shel


 

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On 3/19/2024 at 12:10 PM, Shel_B said:

I believe that some people use round.

 

I was hoping you won't use round - not enough fat, connective tissue or flavor for this dish.  

 

And I think the dish would be great over polenta.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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1 hour ago, weinoo said:

 

I was hoping you won't use round - not enough fat, connective tissue or flavor for this dish.  

 

And I think the dish would be great over polenta.

I agree on both points. There's usually at least one type of polenta in the cabinet.

 ... Shel


 

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