Cherry beer Pork Cheeks #Traegerday celebrations
A year does have several beautiful holidays. The one more official than the other. This month of May even has 2 very nice ones. Last week we put the mummy’s in the flowers. Today it’s the ultimate men’s toy celebration: #Traegerday. A day where the passion for smoking food is highlighted and the community of Traeger fanatics get ready to share their most beautiful creations. As a lover of this BBQ, you don’t want to miss the day. With these Cherry Beer Pork Cheeks, we’re heading for the party night! And the best of all! You too can make them now!
Disclaimer: this post uses the Traeger Ironwood donated by Traeger Grills. All opinions expressed are personal and sincere.
I remember it well. About a year ago, I was asked if I wanted to work with Traeger. Until then I was very sceptical about the use of a Pellet BBQ and decided to apply for a test phase at first. Soon I fell in love with the convenience and quality this BBQ has to offer in addition to my other BBQs. Because of this, I now BBQ even more than before. Perfect right? In a number of posts I already described my experiences with the Traeger Ironwood and how it works compared to my Kamado Joe. In the year smoking on it, I only had one small problem at startup after I left my pellet reservoir open in humid weather. But aside from this personal flaw, I’ve had nothing but joy in my sessions.
For the first time I also get the chance to develop a dish for Traeger’s social media pages in honour of Traeger Day. At such a moment you want to walk the extra mile. When I was asked to develop a typical Flemish dish I had to think for a moment. Until I realized that pork cheeks nostalgically have a great value for this blog. This recipe for the whisky braised pork cheeks was one of the first recipes I developed myself. Pork cheeks also play a big role in Flemish cuisine nowadays. Nowadays it’s almost impossible to imagine classic Flemish stew without pork cheeks (unfortunately, the price has risen from 5 euro/kg to 18 euro/kg in a few years…).
But also the meatballs with cherry sauce kept grinding in my head. Choosing is losing so I decided to make a combination of both. Cherry beer pork cheeks. Smoked pork cheeks in a lacquer sauce of cherry beer. To integrate the taste of the cherry beer in the pork cheeks I decided to marinate the cherry beer pork cheeks in a combination of cherry beer, thyme and rosemary. The preparation can be compared to a mini version of Pulled Pork and in times like these it might be best to use the 321 method for “Fall of the bone ribs”. How do you proceed (after marinating)?
321 pork cheeks
- Phase 1 (+-3h) smoking: In a first phase you will smoke the cherry beer pork cheeks at low temperature to a core temperature of +-74°C. Approximately 3 hours at 75-100°C with supersmoke function (in another type of BBQ you can add a cube of smoking wood).
- Phase 2 (+-2h) packing: once you’ve reached the desired core temperature you can pack the cheeks in butcher paper with a knob of butter and some maple syrup to a core temperature of +-88°C.
- Phase 3 (+-20 min) glazing: When the structure of the pork cheeks becomes soft (around this temperature) it’s time to apply the cherry beer glaze. To get a nice smooth structure it’s best to put the sauce in a deep bowl and pass the pork cheeks through the sauce. Then place the pork cheeks back on the BBQ for another twenty minutes, uncovered, at a temperature of +-130°C. so the sauce can stick nicely around the cherry beer pork cheeks.
Whether you own a Traeger or not? You can make these pork cheeks on any device! Of course, it’s fun when you have stable control over your BBQ so you can fully focus on developing other tastes or just sit back and relax with your company! Make a party of life. For the time being in limited company or especially with online events (be sure to check out Traeger’s instagram feed where a lot of fun things will be shared today and the entire next week). Happy #Traegerday!
- 2 kg pork cheeks
- some lumps of butter
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 l of water
- 1 l cherry beer
- 100 gr. salt
- zest of 1 lime
- 3 branches rosemary
- 1 handful of thyme
- 1 piece of chili pepper
- 250 ml cherry beer
- 800 gr pitted imposed cherries
- 2 tbsp vanilla pudding powder
- 1 dash of rum
- some twigs of thyme
- 2 tbsp raspberry vinegar to taste until the sauce has a sweet and sour balance
Take a deep bowl of water and add the ingredients of the brine.
Carefully bring to boiling point, turn off the heat and allow the brine to cool.
Add the pork cheeks and brine for 12 hours in the cooled beer brine.
Remove the pork cheeks from the brine and pat dry well.
Prepare your BBQ for an indirect session at low temperature 75-105°C. When using the Traeger Pelletsmoker you can use the supersmoke function.
Smoke the pork cheeks to a core temperature of about 75°C.
As soon as the core temperature is reached you take a piece of butcher paper. Place the pork cheeks in the butcher paper (or silver foil) and sprinkle with the maple syrup.
Then place a few lumps of butter on top and fold the butcher paper tightly so you get a nice package.
Wrap the pork cheeks to a core temperature of +-88°C until you can easily pierce the pork cheeks with a toothpick.
While the pork cheeks are cooking on the BBQ you can make the sauce. Pour the juice of a cup of cherries (keep the cherries separate) in a bowl and add the cherry beer and thyme.
Leave to simmer gently for five minutes so the flavours mix well.
Add the rum to the vanilla pudding powder and dissolve it so that all the lumps disappear.
Thicken the sauce with this mixture and season with some raspberry vinegar to taste.
As soon as the pork cheeks are cooked you increase the temperature of your BBQ to 130°C (indirectly).
Pour half of the sauce into a deep bowl and remove the pork cheeks from the packaging. Put them through the sauce and put them back on the smoker until the sauce sticks nicely to the pork cheeks. This takes about 10-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the cherries to the other half of the sauce and let it heat up in the sauce for a while.