Where to Buy Beef Cheeks: A Guide to Finding and Cooking This Underrated Cut

Beef cheeks were once a throwaway cut that butchers would grind up or dispose of. But over the past decade, they’ve emerged as a prized ingredient celebrated by chefs and home cooks alike. When properly prepared, beef cheeks offer an unbeatable combination of rich, meaty flavor and ultratender texture. If you’re looking to try this cut at home, here’s everything you need to know about where to source beef cheeks and how to cook them to perfection.

What Are Beef Cheeks?

Beef cheeks come from the muscular cheeks of a cow. Located below the eyes and jawbone, they get a constant workout during grazing and chewing. This gives them a high proportion of collagen and connective tissue. When cooked low and slow through methods like braising and stewing, this connective tissue breaks down into gelatin, leading to incredible tenderness.

Compared to traditional beef cuts like chuck or brisket, beef cheeks have more intense beefy flavor. Their small, compact shape also makes them ideal for braises, slow cooking, and soups. While still considered a specialty item, beef cheeks have grown in popularity for these reasons. They’re especially beloved in Italian cuisine and Latin American dishes like barbacoa.

Where to Buy Beef Cheeks

Finding beef cheeks used to require a trip to a butcher shop or ethnic market. Today, more mainstream grocers and online meat purveyors carry them. Here are some of the best places to buy beef cheeks:

  • Local butcher shops: Ask your local butcher if they can source or already stock beef cheeks. Many specialty butcher shops regularly carry or can order them. This allows you to inspect cut quality.

  • Farmers markets: Look for vendors at your local farmers market that sell pasture-raised meats. They may have or can likely source beef cheeks upon request.

  • Online specialty purveyors: Several online vendors specialize in grass-fed and pasture-raised beef cuts, including cheeks. Two top options are Porter Road and White Oak Pastures.

  • Ethnic grocery stores: Mexican, Asian, and Halal markets sometimes carry beef cheeks since they’re popular in many cuisines. Check the meat department.

  • Costco or Sam’s Club: Some warehouse stores sell beef cheeks, often frozen in big packs. Availability varies by location.

For the best flavor and quality, look for pasture-raised beef cheeks whenever possible. Grass-fed cattle produce beef with a richer taste.

How Much Do Beef Cheeks Cost?

Due to their popularity among chefs and their small size, beef cheeks are pricier than typical beef cuts like chuck or brisket, averaging $6-8 per pound. However, a little goes a long way since they pack so much flavor into each bite. Their collagen content also allows them to shrink less during cooking. Expect to pay:

  • White Oak Pastures grass-fed beef cheeks: $17.59 per 1 lb. package

  • Porter Road pasture-raised beef cheeks: $52 for a pack of 4 cheeks (1.5-2 lbs)

  • Local butcher shop or farmers market: $6-10 per lb. on average

  • Ethnic grocery: $3-5 per lb. for conventionally raised

While not the cheapest cut, beef cheeks provide great value considering their flavor and how far they stretch in stews, braises, and other dishes. Their succulence makes them worth the splurge!

How to Cook Beef Cheeks

To enjoy beef cheeks at their best, choose recipes and techniques that transform their connective tissues into melt-in-your-mouth gelatin. Here are some top preparation methods:


Braising involves cooking meat in a small amount of liquid like broth, wine, or sauce at low temperatures for a long time. The prolonged moist heat tenderizes tough cuts like cheeks while infusing them with flavor. Try braised beef cheek ragout or bourguignon for classic preparations.


  • Brown cheeks first for color and flavor
  • Braise at 300-325°F for 2-3 hours until fork tender
  • Use a flavorful braising liquid like red wine or tomatoes


Simmering beef cheeks in an aromatic liquid delivers similar results to braising. Turn them into beef cheek chili or stew for hearty, cold weather meals.


  • Cut cheeks into 1-inch pieces to reduce cooking time
  • Gently simmer on the stove or in a 300°F oven for 2-3 hours
  • Add veggies like potatoes, carrots, and celery

Slow Cooking

A slow cooker makes preparing beef cheeks convenient since it cooks unattended for hours. Adapt any braised beef cheek recipe for the slow cooker.


  • Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours
  • Add liquid to cover and seasonings
  • Brown cheeks first for more flavor


You can impart extra flavor into beef cheeks by grilling or smoking before braising. This step isn’t required but adds an extra layer of richness.


  • Grill over medium heat for 2-4 minutes per side
  • Smoke at 225-250°F for 1-2 hours until browned
  • Finish cooking with moist heat

Sous Vide

Cooking beef cheeks sous vide involves sealing them in bags then cooking in a precisely temperature controlled water bath. It delivers tender beef cheeks without evaporation.


  • Cook at 165°F for 1-2 days
  • Chill cheeks in bag after cooking then sear
  • Braise or simmer after for extra flavor

Serving Suggestions

The richness of beef cheeks makes them very versatile in recipes:

  • Tacos, burritos, tamales
  • Beef stew or chili
  • Pasta ragu, bourguignon
  • Beef barley or vegetable soup
  • Shredded for sandwiches or nachos
  • Pot pies or empanadas
  • Caribbean oxtail stew

They pair especially well with red wine, tomatoes, root vegetables, and warm spices like cumin, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne. A squeeze of citrus right before serving helps cut through the unctuousness.

Storing Leftover Beef Cheeks

Cooked beef cheeks keep well for 4-5 days refrigerated and 2-3 months frozen. To store:

  • Refrigerate braised cheeks in cooking liquid or broth
  • Remove all bones before freezing
  • Portion into reusable containers or freezer bags

Reheat gently on the stovetop with a bit of liquid to prevent drying out. Add leftover braised cheeks to stews, chili, pasta sauce, tacos or sandwiches.

Discover This Underrated Beef Cut

With their outrageous flavor and tender texture, beef cheeks satisfy like few other cuts when properly cooked. They deserve a place in every home cook’s repertoire. Use this guide to find and cook beef cheeks for mouthwatering braises, stews, tacos and more. Once you taste their succulent, meaty goodness, this unsung hero of the beef world will become a new favorite.

Beef Cheek Burnt Ends | Chuds BBQ


What are beef cheeks called at grocery store?

Also known as barbacoa meat, beef cheek meat is great in tacos, quesadillas, burritos and other delicious dishes. What is beef cheek meat? Beef cheeks come from the face of the cow, next to the jaw muscle.

How much do beef cheeks cost?

Beef Cheeks, $8.50/lb (0.5-1.75 Avg lbs)

What else are beef cheeks called?

Beef Cheeks are also known as Ox Cheeks. Come from the facial Cheek muscles of cattle. Average Weight is 12 to 14 oz per Cheek.

Are beef cheeks a cheap cut?

Are beef cheeks an affordable cut? “They’re very affordable! They usually go for around $15 per kilo, which is a very good price for a cut like that.

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