Pork cheeks offer a great, inexpensive alternative to pork shoulder, especially for a small get together with friends. They are rich and meaty and, once smoked, have an unctuous, stickiness to them, enough to satisfy any BBQ craving!
Chef James Kelleher gave up his full time job and set about starting his own BBQ business, SmokeYard Kitchen. He combines the principles of BBQ with some of the more classic skills taken from working in different kitchens.
The Big Green Egg is an amazing BBQ, it can cook anything. All the top chefs love it and it has a cult following in the USA, where it's been for the past 40 years. It's been here 5 years in the UK and is showing every sign of going the same way.
Skill Level: Intermediate
Core Ingredient : Pork
Egg Mode: Direct and Indirect
Serving Quantity: 4
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 5-6 hours
Set up your EGG for INDIRECT cooking with the Plate Setter in the legs up position and place the stainless steel grid on top. Target temperature is 225f/105c.
8 Pig Cheeks
20 Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 Red Onion
8 Flour Tortillas
8 Spring Onions
1 Small Bunch of Fresh Coriander
100ml Sour Cream
Salt & Pepper
2 Tablespoons of Your Favourite BBQ Sauce
For the rub
100g Sea Salt
100g Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Fennel Seeds
1 Tablespoon of Coriander Seeds
1 Tablespoon of Black Peppercorns
1 Tablespoon of Red Chilli Flakes
3 Tablespoons of Paprika
1. Toast the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns and chilli flakes in a dry pan over a medium heat for a couple of minutes when they will begin to release their flavours. Pour into a pestle and mortar or a food processor, add the remaining ingredients for the rub and then grind or blitz until you have a well mixed fine rub.
2. Trim any excess fat or sinew from the pork cheeks. Sprinkle the cheeks all over with an even coating of the rub, patting the rub on gently as you go, You probably won’t use all the rub, keep any excess in an airtight container.
3. Slice 12 of the cherry tomatoes in half and sprinkle over some sea salt.
4. Set up your EGG and light the coals. Once the coals are glowing and you would normally start to regulate the temperature, place the peppers directly on the coals. Use some long tongs and a Pit Mitt BBQ glove to turn the peppers over every minute until the whole pepper is burnt. Place the peppers in a container and cover with clingfilm. Continue to set up you EGG for indirect cooking, add a few chunks of applewood to the coals, put the Plate Setter in with the legs in the upright position and place the stainless steel grid on top. Target temperature is 225f/105c.
4. Place the pork cheeks on the stainless steel grid and leave for 2 hours. After 2 hours wrap the cheeks in a double layer of foil, add the BBQ sauce and place back on the EGG. At this stage place the sliced cherry tomatoes on a sheet of tin foil and add to the EGG, the foil will stop the tomatoes falling through the grid as they cook.
5. To make the salsa, remove the burnt skin and seeds from the peppers, cut into a small dice and add to a mixing bowl. Dice the red onion and remaining cherry tomatoes, roughly chop half of the coriander, add to the peppers with the lime juice, mix well and season with salt and pepper.
6. After 2 hours remove the cherry tomatoes from the EGG, they should have shriveled up slightly and look a bit like sun dried tomatoes.
7. After another hour check the pork cheeks, gently push down with the back of a fork, they should fall apart easily if they are ready, if not return to the EGG and continue to cook. Check every 15 minutes until they are ready.
8. Once the pork cheeks are ready remove them from the EGG and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Then place the pork cheeks on a large board, pour over the juices and BBQ sauce from the foil they were cooked in and serve with flour tortillas, the remains coriander roughly chopped, the spring onions sliced and sour cream. Enjoy!
Edited by George Cheley