March 11th, 2009


Sweet and Sour Pigs Cheeks

Yum yum is the thought that spring to mind when thinking about these lip smacking delicious little gems. Packed with natural gelatine, and when cooked for a few hours they become soft, tender and incredibly morish.

Pigs cheeks are really good value for money as they are solid bits of meat with very little to trim, no fat and no bones, a bonus!

It’s a real shame that pigs cheeks do not feature more often on our menus, it’s definitely a forgotten cut.

I have to admit that I have only recently discovered them myself. Bath chaps is a very old fashioned dish that I use to associate with pigs cheeks. I am really excited about this discovery and therefore I have developed several recipes using these little gems. One discovery is that you do not have to cook  them for hours. Cut them in half, tenderise with a meat hammer, pane and shallow fry to make a delicious meal. The conclusion is, out with the old bath chaps and in with the new.


I cook this dish in a water bath. Alternatively you can cook them in a casserole dish in the oven at 160°C for three hours using the same ingredients. I am a great lover and believer of cooking food sous vide. The benefits of using a water bath are endless, however one should at all times follow the guide lines very carefully. Always wear clean rubber gloves. Ensure that the vacuum bag is clean and stored correctly, in a clean dry and well ventilated cupboard. Last but not least use fresh ingredients.

  • 450g pigs cheeks, about 8 in number
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 star anise
  • 5g course sea salt
  • 50g freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 40g Demerara sugar
  • 20g light soy sauce
  • 20g cider vinegar
  • 10g honey
  • 1tsp coriander seeds
  • 200g fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced

Preheat the water bath to 80°C.

Remove the skin from the pig’s cheeks; give them a rinse under cold running water and pat dry on kitchen paper.

Wear clean rubber gloves when working with sous-vide meats.

Rub the salt in to the meat; place the meat in to a clean vacuum bag.

Add the rest of the ingredients, seal the bag under hard vacuum .

Cook the cheeks at 80°C for 8 hours, once cooked cool the bag in ice water.

Remove the pig’s cheeks and sauce from the bag.

Place the sauce and pigs cheeks in a sauce pan, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and reduce the sauce while bringing the meat to 75°C.

The sauce will form a thick sticky and shiny glaze.

Serve the sweet and sour pigs cheeks with rice noodles and steamed tender stem broccoli.

Serves 2 for main course or 4 for a starter

Food Fanatic Tips

Food safety is very important therefore you should when cooking sous vide always follow the golden rules:

  1. Wear clean gloves when preparing to cook sous vide.
  2. Use clean vacuum bags, and store the bags correctly. This should be in a clean, well ventilated cupboard in a clean airtight container. This ensures that no dust or other objects can get in contact with the bags.
  3. Use  the best quality fresh raw ingredients.
  4. When cooling sous vide foods to be re-heated at a later stage, you must cool the foods as quick as possible in ice water.
  5. Re-heat sous vide foods to 75°C and over.

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2 Comments to “Sweet and Sour Pigs Cheeks”

  1. melvin says:

    Just walked into Waitrose tonight and they had pigs cheeks for the first time. They are trying to resurrect some of the older tarditional cuts. First time in the store in Weston super Mare and apparently I was the first to buy them!.
    No one at the butchery counter believed me when I said I was going to cook them in a water bath!

  2. Ben Lines says:

    Where do you get your pig cheeks from?

    Fab looking dish btw! :)

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