Yields 2 servings/Time 3.5 hours

This recipe is an investment of time and dirtied dishes but we promise the outcome is worth it. Pork cheeks are lean and braising them low and slow will result in extra tender meat that you’ll then dredge and pan fry. The salty and crispy pork cheeks are complemented by the sweet and warm raisin ragout. This recipe makes plenty of dredge for frying, so it’s easy to up the number of servings by simply frying more pork cheeks.

You will need:

For the Cheeks:
2 packages pork cheeks (4 cheeks)
1 yellow onion, cut in half
6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 cups stock
1 teaspoon cooking oil

For the Breading
2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons salt

For the Ragout:
½ cup onion, small diced
1 cup raisins (or ½ cup raisins and ½ cup currants)
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups reserved cooking liquid
Salt and pepper

Braise the cheeks

  • Preheat oven to 275F  salt pork cheeks all over
  • In a high sided oven-safe saucepan, heat cooking oil over medium heat Sear both sides of the pork cheeks, about 3-4 minutes per side. Add onion and garlic, stir and cook about 5 minutes. Add vinegar, cook about 4 minutes, add stock
  • Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and braise in the oven for about 2 ½ hours until tender
  • Let pork cheeks cool in the cooking liquid until cold enough to handle, gently remove the pork cheeks from the liquid and set aside to cool completely
  • Strain the cooking liquid, reserve, and cool completely, once cooled remove any fat from the top


Fry the cheeks

  • Beat egg into buttermilk with hot sauce until incorporated. Heat oil in a large high sided skillet over medium until 375, or a pinch of breading sizzles in the oil
  • Coat cheeks in breading, then dip in buttermilk mixture and dredge in flour again until well coated. Shake excess flour off and gently place in heated oil
  • Fry about 4 minutes on each side until golden brown
  • Serve two pork cheeks with a large spoonful of raisin ragout 


Make the raisin ragout

  • In a large skillet heat butter over medium heat until foaming
  • Cook onion about 4 minutes until translucent. Add raisins, Worcestershire, and garlic, cook about 3 minutes until simmering
  • Add reserved cooking liquid, bring to a simmer, let cook about 30 minutes
  • Split in half . Reserve one half, and strain the other half reserving liquid and solids
  • Put the strained solids in a blender and add just enough liquid to puree to the thickness of barbecue sauce
  • Fold pureed raisin mix into reserved ragout, season with salt and pepper