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Roast Pig Cheeks / Char Siu Pig Cheeks

Roast Pig Cheeks 1

A friend of mine who runs my favourite pub* recently told someone that I had some brilliant stir-fry recipes right here on my blog.

I was forced to admit that there weren't any (save Burmese Pork and Beans), partly because I figured most of you lovely readers would know how to make them, but mainly because most of my recipes burble around in my brain and only occasionally make it on-line.

This is one of the recipes that I've been meaning to share for ever, but then I get distracted by a moth or a giant panda.

Pig cheeks. Vaguely fashionable, still cheap as chips, available at canny butchers, Waitrose and Morrisons.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that pig cheeks, like ox cheeks, need to be slow-cooked to be tender and delicious. And though I have been known to braise or stew them, god knows I wasn't blessed with a lot of patience, and so I experimented with cooking them in various ways (even one of those stir-fry jobs) before discovering that they're staggeringly good roasted - and it takes barely any time at all.

Roast Pig Cheeks 2

  • 4 large or 6 small pig cheeks
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Glug of Worcestershire sauce
  • Glass of white wine or cider
Marinade the pig cheeks in the rest of the ingredients except the wine or cider for at least an hour - preferably overnight. Preheat oven to 180 C.

Place pig cheeks on a grill rack with a tray underneath and pour any excess marinade all over. Chuck the glass of booze and a glass of water in the tray, and then place the lot in the top of the oven.

After 15 minutes, check the pig cheeks - they should be starting to go brown and even singe a little, but that’s what you want to see. Turn them over and turn the oven up to 200 C.

10 minutes more and the cheeks should be perfectly tender and roasted with a deep glaze. Cover the cheeks with some foil and leave to rest.

Add some water to the saucy roasted bits left in the tray and reduce into a gravy for the cheeks.

Slice up the cheeks and serve with the reduced sauce, taters, a bit of pickle and some wilted spinach or broccoli.

Roast Pig Cheeks 3

(it's a 2 for 1)
  • 4 large or 6 small pig cheeks
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin, sherry vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (optional)
  • Glass of sake, sherry or rice wine

Same cooking instructions as above, but serve with rice, couscous or bulghur wheat and some greens flash-fried with minced garlic and ginger.

I love my Chroma knife, I do

*The Ship in Wandsworth


Kavey said…
Please run a pig fest supperclub in your house. Please put my name at the top of the guest list. I will bring tasty dessert wine. Or strange sweet liqueurs with which to make funky cocktails.
Simon said…
Yup, what Kavey said. I need this in my life.
Oooh, fab. Definitely trying these. Funny how so-called 'tough' cuts seem to respond equally well to quick cooking as slow cooking, innit?
'Scuse my grammar. Monday afternoon fried brain.
Alex said…
Char siu pig cheeks sound brilliant! Definitely adding these to the Must Try list
Susan said…
Yum yum YUM. This is exactly what I want to eat RIGHT NOW ... sweet, succulent pigs cheeks. I will make this soon.
meemalee said…
@Kavey and @Simon - How could I possibly refuse? ;)

@aforkfulofspaghetti - Ooh, tell me more!

@Alex - It's so easy too.

@Susan - Let me know how you get on! You can experiment with the marinades - the main thing is the technique.
steampie said…
I am properly salivating, so forgive me if I don't complete this comment in the event that my keyboard shorts out! ...tmi perhaps ;)

Anyhow yes please DO run a porcine-themed supperclub for me & the mrs to attend. I promise not to look in any cupboards and certainly will treat your bathroom with the greatest (and non-pooey) care...
Crispy said…
I'm so jealous of your knife. It's beautiful!!!
The Grubworm said…
Twenty five minutes? That's all they take. *rushes out to buy a bag o' cheeks*

Awesome recipe - and that picture actually made my tummy rumble. Sadly my lunch is not pig cheeks. I'll know better next time.

I bet the cider 'n' soy marinade really makes these sing too. All those lovely umami and caramel rich flavours. Sigh. Hungry.

Oh, and yes to a porky supper club, this little piggy would love one.
meemalee said…
@steampie - Aww, thank you - for the promise too :)

@Crispy - It is lovely!

@the grubworm - Yeah, exactly - caramel pork mmmmm. And maybe in the New Year ...
Anonymous said…
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FatFran said…
Can I come, can I come, can I come??? They look AMAZING. Pig cheeks are my New Favourite Thing and these look seriously tasty. Would it be bad to make these for myself on Saturday night before a big fat lunch at Trinity on Sunday???
May said…
Nice! Am still trying to make a decent char siu.

Now where can I find some pig cheeks.
The way they are just glistening there is making my mouth water soooo much. I need these in my life - you say Waitrose and Morrisons do pig cheeks? I'm going to have to investigate. I am also planning which beer to go with them!
Nicky said…
Clever! Added to "must do" list, thenk yew
meemalee said…
@FatFran - Go for it! Oh, we need to arrange a One Cup handover ...

@May - Markymarket can get them for you :)

@Northcote Brewery - Oh, let me know which beer!

@Nicky - You're welcome!
Unknown said…
Excellent idea, I'm very tempted to get some and do some spiced char sui ones with noodles and greens, mmmm.
LB said…
Fabulous! I keep forgetting how good pig cheeks are.
Carol said…
Oh fantastic! I have a package of pork cheeks in the freezer that's been dying to be cooked and both these recipes look wonderful!
Winkypedia said…
I love pig cheeks too! Here is my recipe
Anonymous said…
Good evening!
Happy New Year!
Health, luck and love!
Jeanette said…
Wow! Just followed your recipe, tastes lovely and is very tender!
I must admit I was suprised considering the short cooking time. was def. not looking forward to 3hr oven time.
I'm thinking this may also work with pork belly, shall try it out.
Many thanks
Jeanette said…
followed the recipe, lovely
Lee said…
I'm intrigued. I cook pigs cheeks quite a bit, but have always gone for the slow braise, usually in honey, white wine, stock and mirepoix; it had never occurred to me you could cook them for a shorter time. Will defo try the char siu recipe, I bloody love pork char siu, ta very much!
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the recipe! It was great. I also added a bit of 5 spice and grated ginger.