Smoked Beef Cheek Wontons with Grilled Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce
May 8, 2014
Beef cheeks are one of those cuts that usually require calling in a favor from your local butcher but once you try them, you’ll know it was worth the extra effort. A tougher cut of beef, it is best cooked low and slow to the make it nice and tender. To prepare, I prefer to give them a dose of smoke over low heat, followed by a long braise in a flavorful liquid to ensure it is moist and falling apart when it is time to serve it up. Once the meat is shredded, it can be served solo atop a batch of polenta, added to tomato sauce for beef cheek pasta, served in fresh corn tortillas for tacos, or my favorite preparation — beef cheek ravioli with homemade sweet chili dipping sauce.
Beef Cheek Ravioli with Grilled Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce
2-3 lb. beef cheek
3 tbsp. steak seasoning (I used Fiesta brand)
2 tbsp. seasoned meat tenderizer (I used Fiesta brand)
32 oz. beef broth
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
½ onion, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1 10oz. package wonton skins
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp. water
2 cups canola oil
Grilled sweet chili dipping sauce (recipe follows)
Prepare smoker or grill for indirect cooking, approximately 250 degrees. Once the charcoal briquettes have ashed over, add 2-3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood or 6-7 Kingsford Smokehouse Style Briquets to bring a deep smoky flavor to the beef. Trim the beef cheek of excess fat and membrane. Season the beef cheek on both sides with steak seasoning and seasoned meat tenderizer. Let the beef cheek come to room temperature as the smoker or grill heats up.
Place the beef on the smoker or on the cool portion of the grill and allow it to smoke for 1 hour.
After an hour, place the beef cheek in a disposable aluminum half pan along with the beef broth, onion, celery, carrots and bay leaves. Cover loosely with foil and set the pan on the smoker or grill. Cover the smoker or grill and allow the beef cheeks to cook for another 2-3 hours until the meat is extremely tender.
Remove the beef cheek from the smoker or grill and place the entire pan in the fridge to cool. Separate the cheek meat from the gelatin like fat in the pan, setting aside the fat and shredding the meat with a fork.
Lay out 15-20 wonton skins on a large cutting board that has been lightly dusted with flour. In a small bowl, combine the beaten egg and water to create an egg wash. Place approximately ½ tbsp. of shredded beef cheek and ½ tsp. of gelatinous beef fat in the center of each wonton skin.
Brush the four edges of each wonton with the egg wash and top with a second wonton skin, pressing the edges together with your finger to seal.
To fry the wontons, add canola oil in a medium saucepan and heat to 375 degrees. Working in small batches, add wontons to the oil and fry until lightly browned, flipping the wontons as needed. Remove the wontons from the oil and allow them to drain on paper towels. Serve along with the grilled sweet chili dipping sauce.
Grilled Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce
2 red jalapenos
½ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup sugar
½ cup + 1 tbsp. water
2 tsp. chili flakes
2 tsp. fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. cornstarch
Prepare grill for medium-high heat grilling. Place red jalapenos on the grill and cook until lightly charred. Remove the jalapenos from the grill, remove the charred skin, de-seed, and finely chop. Place a small saucepan on the grill and add the rice wine vinegar, sugar, ½ cup water, jalapenos, chili flakes, fish sauce, and garlic. Mix the cornstarch and remaining 1 tbsp. of water in a small bowl to create a slurry that is added slowly to the saucepan to thicken the sweet chili mixture. Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes until it has begun to reduce and coats the back of a spoon.
- Clint Cantwell, Grilling.com Editor