What Can You Substitute for Beef Cheeks? 7 Best Alternatives

Beef Cheek is famous for its many applications like stews, hearty soups, a braised beef cheeks recipe that is excellent for cold night dinner, but what if you can’t find it at the right time?

No worries, since I’ve brought seven readily available Beef Cheek substitutes that are nearly duplicate in taste and consistency.

Give your recipe the exact taste you’d expect from Beef Cheek. 

However, some slight alterations are required, so continue to browse and scroll down for tips that will satisfy your taste buds!

What is beef cheek meat? What kind of meat are Beef Cheeks?

Beef cheek meat, also known as boeuf à la mode or simply beef cheeks, is a choice cut of beef coming from the cow’s head. 

The cheek meat is located between the jaw and the animal’s neck. It has many connective tissues and fat, which renders the meat very tender.

What’s another name for beef cheek meat?

Beef Cheeks are also known as “Cheek Meat” or “Cheek Popper.”

Beef Cheeks have a rich and hearty flavor almost as intense as oxtail meat. That’s why Beef cheek is always used to substitute for oxtail soups or recipes. 

Beef Cheek is a delicacy that is very flavorful and rich. Beef Cheeks are excellent meat for pot roast, braising, or stewing.

What can I use instead of Beef Cheeks? ( 7 Beef Cheeks Alternatives)

Following these meat portions, I try at home and among various try, I come up with these seven beef cheek substitutes which are easy to find, perfect replacements for beef cheeks either you make soup or stew or braised them -anything you love to cook with beef cheeks.

At last, I mention which of them I like the most.

1. CHUCK -A Cheap Alternative to Beef Cheeks

Beef chuck is an easy and perfect substitution for beef cheek. It is the large, meaty muscle that makes up the shoulder. It’s a tough cut of beef and must be cooked for a long time with moist heat to make it tender.

chuck is a cheap alternative to beef cheeks.

Beef chuck is a beautiful, economical cut of meat for any home cook to have on hand. So it is a popular choice for stews and pot roasts.

– the long, slow cooking tenderizes the meat, while the rich flavor from the fat marbling is transferred to all parts of the dish. 

It’s perfect for braising and stewing. Even though it’s a tough cut of meat, the final result is meltingly tender when cooked with moist heat for a long time.

You’ll usually find beef chuck sold as whole roasts, bone-in or boneless, and sometimes cubed for kabobs, depending on where you live.

2. SHORT RIBS- Tasty Beef Cheeks Substitutes

Short ribs are cut from the bottom portion of beef or veal ribs. The bones and meat are cross-connected with cartilage, making them perfect for braising.

Short ribs are delicious because of their rich flavor. Short ribs are used in various recipes, and you can prepare them in many different ways, such as roasting or braising. 

Short ribs are also an essential ingredient in several popular dishes, such as Korean Kalbi and Chinese Lion’s Head Meatballs.

The short ribs can easily be found in Brazilian, Argentinean, or Asian markets.

3. Use BRISKET Instead of Beef Cheeks Alternatives 

Brisket (beef brisket or corned beef brisket) is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. Another great option for beef cheek.

Brisket is one of the signature dishes of Texas Barbecue. The large, tough cut of meat, when correctly prepared, melts in your mouth and is well worth the hard work involved in its preparation.

4. BEEF SHANK -Great Beef Cheeks Substitute

Beef Shank is similar to beef cheek full of muscles and tough. It is the leg portion of cattle. Beef shank has to cook for a long time in moist heat.

beef shank is a great beef cheeks substitute.

Beef shank is relatively cheap and found in retails. You can use beef shank instead of cheek in soup, make stock, braise it, and it is perfect for beef bourguignon.

5. OXTAIL – Perfect Substitute for Beef Cheeks in Soup

If you don’t find beef cheeks, use an oxtail place for it. Oxtail is the cut portion of the tail and has full of gelatinous substance perfect for stew, soup, Pho, Kare- Kare.

Oxtail contains cartilage and fat, providing you with intense beefy flavor. A slow cook makes it more tender and extracts all marrows into the recipe.

6. OSSO BUCCO – Intence Alternative for Beef Cheeks

The shin bone of veal is used to make Osso Bucco, a popular cut of meat. If you use veal, you’ll notice a change in flavour. Veal of good quality is usually more delicate than beef and has a milder beef taste.

7. LAMB SHANKS- A Decent Replacement for Beef Cheek

Try lamb shanks if you’re looking for a change of tone from beef. Lamb shanks have a deep, luscious flavor depth that is tough to compare. They often have spherical bones in the middle and resemble steaks.

They’re a terrific beef cheek substitute, and when stewed, the meat turns exceptionally tender.

Read More- Best Cheap Pork Belly Substitutes

Beef Cheek Substitute for Barbacoa

Traditionally, barbacoa is made with a whole cow’s head. That’s a lot of meat and very hard to find in the States. 

At least it’s the way my mom made it, every Christmas. Beef cheeks are an excellent substitution for cow heads. 

No, they are not cow heads. I have no idea how the cheek part of a cow got to be called “barbacoa,” but it is actually the same cut of meat. 

Beef Cheek is much easier to find, especially if you have a Mexican or Korean market nearby. You could also find them online.

I know in the US, beef cheeks are not cheap. That’s why when I make barbacoa, I give you two options. 

One is a very cheap version for those on a tight budget, and the other is a more expensive one, using these fantastic boneless short ribs.

It is my favorite cut of meat for barbacoa, but they are not always easy to find, or they can be costly, depending on where you live.

So, enough of the preamble and on to the recipe! You can use either beef cheeks or boneless short ribs for this barbacoa. Either way, it will be delicious!

Is ox cheek the same as beef cheek?

Ox cheek and beef cheek are quite similar as It’s cut off from the head part, and they can be either slow-braised or stewed.

At the same time, Beef cheek and Ox cheeks have some differences; like Beef cheek is a cut from a cow’s face, it can be used as a steak or braised for hours to produce a very tender delicacy.

Ox cheek is also a cut from a cow’s face, but it comes from much further back – which means it’s a much tougher cut.

Most people who have eaten traditional Mexican carnitas will have tasted ox cheek since this is the classic ingredient for this ‘slow-cooked, melt-in-the-mouth dish.

Ox cheek is much tougher than beef – which means it needs to be cooked for a lot longer to make it tender. It can be braised for four hours or more, which is why it’s often used in slow-cooked dishes.

On the other hand, beef cheek was traditionally used to make beef-tea – but it’s equally at home as a steak or in dishes like bolognese.

So beef and ox cheeks aren’t the same thing. But if you can’t get hold of ox cheeks, it’s easy to substitute them interchanging.

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My Favourite Beef Cheeks Substitutes 

  • · Lamb Shank
  • · Oxtail
  • · Beef Shank
  • · Chuck 
  • · Short Ribs
  • · Brisket

Wrap Up On Best Alternatives for Beef Cheeks

I expect you enjoyed reading this post and encountered it useful in your hunt for a substitute for Beef Cheek.

Please leave me a comment on which replacement of Beef Cheek that you favor the most. 

If any alternates are not mentioned in this list, please say them down and share your close one with us.

FAQs Related to Beef Cheeks & Its Replacements

Q1. What cut of beef is beef cheeks?

Beef cheeks are a cut of beef taken from the cow’s head. Beef cheeks contain mostly muscle tissue with very little fat. 

The average weight of beef cheeks is about one pound.

However, this weight will vary based on how close to the bone they are cut and if there is any excess fat attached.

Q2. Beef Cheek vs Chuck

A little while ago, I discussed beef cheeks vs chuck with some friends.

Beef cheeks are cut from the “cheek” of the cow, as is chuck. But beef cheeks are different from the chuck and usually come from younger animals. 

Many folks prefer beef cheeks because they can be more tender and full of flavor.

Both chuck and beef cheek are tough cuts, and both need time to break down and get tender.

Beef cheeks can be cut into smaller pieces and stewed in a braise or pot roast, while beef chuck is ideal for bigger, longer pieces like a 7 bone pot roast or arm roast.

Beef cheeks tend to be leaner and have less marbling than chuck, which is a little higher in fat.

Beef cheeks are cut from the cheek and contain very fine grains of meat and fat.

Q3. Where do Beef Cheeks Come from?

Beef cheeks are from the cheek of a cow. The cheek is a thick, flavorful cut from the cow’s face. They have been prized as a source of meat for hundreds if not thousands of years, and they still remain popular today.

Q4. Is beef cheek expensive?

Is Beef Cheek expensive? This is the most asked question for people who will buy the first time. So it depends on where you live, And where the meat comes from.

Although, The last time I bought it (several months ago), it was around USD 4 / pound in American dollars. It has a good amount of meat on it. 

Q5. Where to buy beef cheeks?

In the United States, beef cheeks are slowly becoming popular cuts to have in your freezer. 

We have a couple of distributors listed below who ship these items frozen overnight.

Creekstone Farms (US) – Ship throughout the US and to over 20 countries; they offer beef cheeks in 1lb, 2.5lb, and 5lbs roasts, also available in bulk.

Haus und Hof (Cowpool) – Ship throughout the US, contact for shipping rates.

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