Holy Sh*t Pork Cheeks

Chipotle Pork Cheeks

Chipotle Pork Cheeks

Holy Shit Pork Cheeks, as in “Holy shit B, if you aren’t home in 10 minutes, I’m eating these all myself” He only got the 10 minutes because that was the amount of time I was going to have to spend photographing this. I got home and took the lid off the crockpot these were in all day and tried to lift out a cheek to taste and photograph and got my first realization of how amazing these would be–I literally couldn’t get one out whole, because they were so tender that they just fell apart. Into the delicious, porky broth below. This dish is certain to become a regular around here–for starters because despite eating it for dinner and lunch the following day, neither B nor I could stop thinking about the pork. On top of that, the total cost of the dish (which fed 2 people 2 meals) was a whopping $5. And I spent maybe 5 minutes on it.

Let me back up to the origin of the cheeks for a minute so you can appreciate the happy accident that turned out such an instant classic. Sometimes B has to go to the store. Sometimes he doesn’t pay too much attention to what he is buying, as long as it says “pork” and looks like it would be tasty on the grill. So when he got home and I told him I didn’t think cheek would do well on the grill, he glared at me. I gave him one to test and went out for the night. He wouldn’t admit that it was no good, but I noticed the rest of the cheeks in the fridge. He’s just trying to deny me my ‘told ya so’. 

So the next day, I opened the fridge to make breakfast and saw the pork cheeks, begging me to use them in the slow cooker. I only got the cooker last week, and while my first attempt, shortribs, wasn’t terrible, I don’t think they’ll get made again. This, on the other hand, I’ll be making again, probably this week.

Holy Shit Pork Cheeks

4 Pork Cheeks
1/2 can Chipotle peppers (about three peppers)
Turkey stock to cover

Simply season the cheeks, sear them quickly on both sides in the oil and throw everything into the slow cooker for 9 hours. Or however long you are at work for.

The only two words to describe these is Holy Shit, so they are the words I use, but seriously, these are cheap, delicious and f-ing fantastic. So make them. Now.

What are you waiting for?? I said GO!


  1. At what store do you find Pork Cheek?

  2. Beautiful pic! I need to get a slow cooker…….

  3. thegastrognome says:

    Yeah, ya do! Like I said, this is only my second time. I have one that also deep fries, though I haven’t tried to use it for that yet.

  4. Where can you buy pork cheek?
    Any butcher shop?

    • thegastrognome says:

      I bought mine at Dong Hing Market in the ID, my favorite place, but I get the idea they are decently common and that a good butcher should have them. Let me know how they turn out!

  5. I tried this with pork jowls, and it was okay but not holy-sht great. It turns out that pork *jowls* are not necessarily the same thing as pork *cheeks* . Apparently the jowls are the cheek meat with lots of surrounding fat. This made it a lot harder to get at the meaty part.

    • Oh no! Mary, I’m so sorry about that. Yeah, jowls are more commonly seen cured, as Guanciale (and then in Pasta Carbonara), and are much fattier. If you’re having trouble finding cheeks, pork shoulder should work, it’s just a lot bigger, so for those of us cooking for one or two people, the cheeks are great.

      • your right if you are going to use jowls they have the skin and fat left on and are usually cured and smoked like bacon, you will want to buy fresh cheeks or jowls from the a butcher and on the jowls trim off the skin and a large amount of the fat. In cajun country the jowls/cheeks are turned into Tasso which is cured and smoked with a heavey coating of ground red pepper on the outside

  6. Great post – inspired us to modify and create a variation of our own. The recipe is fantastic. Thanks!



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  4. […] When you know you’ll have no time when you get home, the slow cook is amazing. There is truly nothing quite like returning to your house, dog-tired, beat up by the day, stepping out of the freezing cold, to see the windows steamed up and smell the sweet scent of braising going on in your kitchen. If you have a slow cooker then you’re golden, if not, you can do it on the stove top (but maybe try it once or twice before you leave home when its on). Basic steps are to sear the meat, add liquid, add spices, and leave. Come home nine to ten hours later to a delicious, ready made meal. My favorite? Holy Sh*t Pork Cheeks. […]

  5. […] there on t’internet, but I quite like the plain simplicity and call-it-how-you-see-it naming of The Gastro Gnome’s ‘Holy Sh*t Pork Cheeks‘ so will riff that one. I reckon the cider I’ve got in the fridge may work […]

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