char siu roasted pork cheeks

several months ago i ordered various braising cuts of meat from donald russell, including beef and pork cheeks, both of which i have not touched since putting them into the freezer.

i have ice cream plans so am trying to work out some warm-weather-friendly dishes using these cuts. my attempt at creating a light summery version of beef cheek stew didn’t really work (i now have beef cheek stew in the freezer, which doesn’t really help – any ideas v welcome!) but the pork cheek experiments were much more successful, thanks to meemalee and her roasted pork cheek recipe, which only require 25 minutes cooking time.

there are a couple of versions of the recipe on her website but the basic technique is the same – marinade the cheeks, roast them for 15 minutes at 180c, turn over the cheeks and finish with 10 minutes at 200c. i was a little sceptical about whether the short cooking time would give me tender cheeks (!) but it really did – thanks meemalee!

pictured above are the char siu cheeks, which we ate with rice and greens (cooked with garlic and ginger plus a little oyster sauce). 

meemalee’s char siu roasted pork cheeks (serves 2-3)

4 large or 6 small pig cheeks

2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons of mirin, sherry vinegar or rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tablespoon of honey

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of minced garlic (optional)

glass of sake, sherry or rice wine (i used sake)

marinade the pig cheeks in the rest of the ingredients except the sake/sherry/rice wine for at least an hour - preferably overnight. preheat oven to 180c.

place pig cheeks on a grill rack with a tray underneath and pour any excess marinade all over. chuck the glass of booze and a glass of water in the tray, and then place the lot in the top of the oven.

after 15 minutes, check the pig cheeks - they should be starting to go brown and even singe a little, but that’s what you want to see. turn them over and turn the oven up to 200c.

10 minutes more and the cheeks should be perfectly tender and roasted with a deep glaze. cover the cheeks with some foil and leave to rest. add some water to the saucy roasted bits left in the tray and reduce into a gravy for the cheeks.