Cheeky Tail Chili (Beef Cheeks)

September 10, 2013
0 Ratings
  • Serves A small army
Author Notes

Beef Cheeks, Oxtail, Mexican Peppers and Beer--What's not to love? Worth the wait and does extremely well in Chili Competitions. —Pivobud

What You'll Need
  • 7-9 pounds Beef Cheeks
  • 5-7 pounds Ox Tails
  • 1-2 pounds Merguez Sausage
  • 2 quarts Homemade Beef Stock
  • 16 ounces Beer (for the Chili; more for the Chef)
  • variety Dried Mexican Peppers
  • 2 pounds Dried Red Beans
  • 8-12 Med/Large Tomatoes
  • 2-3 Med/Large Onions
  • 1 Head of Garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons Mole Paste
  • 1 Jar of Tomato Paste
  • various dashes Salt, pepper, bay leaves, Cumin seeds, Cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, bouquet garni, celery salt
  • liberal splashes Chipolte or Habenero Hot Sauce if desired
  1. DAY 1 Soak the dried Mexican peppers in water for a few minutes then boil them 15 – 20 minutes until soft. (3-4 each of Ancho, Pasilla, Guaillo, California, New Mexico and Morita, and 1 – 2 each of Chipolte, Arbol, and Habanero. 6-8 Tepins can be used ) All can be found on line at
  2. After boiling, remove the peppers and SAVE the water. (Let the water cool then soak the dried red beans in it overnight along with a dried habanero or two. Add more water if needed.)
  3. Trim and clean beef cheeks and tails then salt and pepper, dredge them in flour and sear them at a medium high temp in oil and butter until well browned.
  4. Put browned cheeks and tails in a large metal pot (or slow cooker) cover with beer and beef stock bring to a boil add the bouquet garni and a few bay leaves then cover and put them overnight (8-10 hours) in a low temperature oven (100 C or so) OR simmer on a stove for 3 – 4 hours or more.
  5. Using gloves, clean the stems and seeds from the cooled peppers, and roast until brown in an oven around 200 C along with 5 or 6 chopped and deseeded tomatoes, 2 chopped onions and some garlic. (4 or so cloves) Spices like salt, cumin, cayenne, smoked paprika and celery salt can also be added before roasting. Let cool, then puree the mixture and store in fridge overnight.
  6. DAY 2 Boil then simmer the beans 2 -3 hours until soft. (Remove habanero peppers BEFORE boiling if so desired)
  7. By now the cheeks and tails should be very soft so remove the meat, bay leaves and bouquet garni and strain the liquid.
  8. Separate the tail meat from the bones, chop the cheeks into bite size chunks and return to the strained liquid along with pureed peppers from Day 1. (Depending on the heat level of the puree, you may not need all and can freeze the rest to use elsewhere or use as a side for people to add.)
  9. Take Mole paste and mix/whisk it with hot beef stock then add to pot with tomato paste.
  10. Roast more cleaned tomatoes, onion, garlic and spices if desired and puree.
  11. Remove Merguez sausage from its casing and brown/fry with onions and garlic then strain and add to other meats.
  12. Let simmer for a bit then add hot sauces (if desired or needed) to adjust the heat intensity. (I usually don’t add but have on hand Chipolte and Habanero sauces for others to use.)
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1 Review

Pivobud September 22, 2013
By the way, if tails are hard to find or a pain clean, short ribs work as well if not better.