Emeril’s Crispy Pork Cheeks

May 15, 2015 3:33 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Emeril’s Crispy Pork Cheeks

Crispy Pork Cheeks Emeril's Emeril Lagasse

Pork cheeks are a delicious and inexpensive cut of meat that are fork-tender and flavorful when prepared correctly. Pork cheeks are exactly what the name implies: the slip of meat in the hollow of the cheek. The key to cooking pork cheeks is to cook them for a long time at a low temperature to break down the tough proteins. When cooked correctly, they will melt under the fork and you will be amazed at their rich flavor. Pork cheeks are more common in Southern cuisine, and this recipe for Crispy Pork Cheeks with Creole Dirty Rice is served at Emeril Lagasse’s “Delmonico” restaurant in New Orleans. If you’re not lucky enough to live near any of Emeril’s restaurants, you can try this recipe out in your own kitchen.

Emeril’s Delmonico Crispy Pork Cheeks with Creole Dirty Rice
Chef de Cuisine Anthony Scanio
Yields: 4

Emeril's Delmonico Pork Cheek


2 1/2 pounds pork cheeks, cleaned and trimmed of all tough membranes
8 cloves garlic
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
Vegetable oil, as needed
1 cup flour, or more as needed for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Creole Dirty Rice (*see recipe below)
Sliced green onion tops, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Place the pork cheeks, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and coriander seeds in a baking dish just large enough to hold the pork in one even layer. Add enough vegetable oil to completely cover the pork. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until cheeks are fork-tender, usually 4 to 4 1/2 hours. (Note: this will depend on the size of the pork cheeks you are able to procure, so check periodically during the cooking time.)

When the pork is tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the oil. Once cool, remove the cheeks from the oil and pat dry with paper towels. (Oil may be strained and reserved for another purpose.)
Dust the cheeks lightly with flour and heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat.

When the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and, when the oil is hot, add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sauté the cheeks, in batches if necessary, until golden brown on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining cheeks, adding more vegetable oil and the remaining butter if necessary.

Serve the cheeks hot, with the Creole Dirty Rice and garnished with the green onions.

Creole Dirty Rice Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 pound chicken livers, pureed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups cooked long grain white rice
1/4 cup beef stock or canned, low-sodium beef broth
Dash of Tabasco, or other Louisiana hot sauce, or to taste


In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the butter, onions, and bell peppers and sauté the vegetables until tender and lightly caramelized, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the pork and cook, using the spoon to break the pork into small pieces, until it is well-browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the liver purée, bay leaves, jalapeno, salt, coriander, cumin and cayenne and cook until the liver is cooked through and the spices are fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the rice and beef stock and continue to cook, stirring, until well-combined and the rice is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and add hot sauce to taste.

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