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How to Sous Vide Beef Beef Cheek
Beef cheeks are a tough cut of meat and can greatly benefit from the long cooking times sous vide allows. For a very tender, steak-like texture I recommend 131°F (55°C) for 2 to 3 days. If you want something along the lines of a more traditional result you can cook them at any of the braise-like temperatures for a few days.
Beef cheeks are a tough cut of meat and can greatly benefit from the long cooking times sous vide allows. With sous vide you can cook them below the temperature that starts causing moisture loss. This results in meat that is moist, and easy to cut and chew.
For a very tender, steak-like texture I recommend 131°F (55°C) for 2 to 3 days but if you like a medium cooked cheek 140°F (60°C) is also very good. If you want something along the lines of a more traditional result you can cook them at any of the braise-like temperatures for a few days.
About Beef Cheek
As the name suggests, the cheek is the facial muscles of the cow. A hurdle in preparing this cut is that it is very tough. The cow chews all day which creates thick fibers in its muscles. That is why the muscles are cooked through either sous vide or a slow moist cooking method. It helps impart rich flavor in the dish you are making because the muscles and fat break down into gelatin.
It is dense-fleshed in appearance and has a layer of white connective tissue in the middle. You can remove the silvery tissue by skinning it like fish. That is by peeling away the tissue by running a knife beneath it.
It typically weighs around 3/4 to 1 pound each. Make sure that you buy well-trimmed cuts from the butcher as it will make your job easier in cooking any dish made up of beef cheeks. You can store this cut in the refrigerator for a maximum of 4 days.
The cut is an odd option for a gourmet treat but believe it or not, it is becoming popular in a number of restaurants. Beef cheeks are especially popular in French bistros. There are a variety of ingredients like bay leaves, cloves, garlic, thyme and chives that you can use to impart more flavor in the dish. Also always remember that the cheek's flavor will make excellent gravy.
An easy way of making this cut tender apart from either sous viding or braising it for hours, is by marinating it overnight. You should definitely check out this cut because it is inexpensive and with the right cooking technique, you can serve a mouth-watering dish.
Typical Cooking Methods for Beef Cheek
Sous Vide, BBQ, and Braise
Other Names for Beef Cheek
Joue (French), Guancia (Italian), Mejilla, or Cachet (Spanish)
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What is the Best Sous Vide Beef Cheek Temperatures and Times?
Beef cheeks are a tough cut and can greatly benefit from the long cooking times sous vide allows. I usually do 131ºF (55°C) for 2 to 3 days for steak-like, or 150°F (65.5°C) for 1 to 2 days for braise-like.
131°F for 2 to 3 Days (55.0ºC)
140°F for 2 to 3 Days (60.0ºC)
Tender Braise: 150°F for 1 to 2 Days (65.6ºC)
Firm but Shreddable: 156°F for 1 to 2 Days (68.9ºC)
More Fall Apart: 165°F for 1 to 2 Days (73.9ºC)
Really Fall Apart: 176°F for 12 to 24 Hours (80.0ºC)
Do you have experience cooking beef cheek? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!