There's one dish that has graced my table on countless special occasions and family dinners – long before my little ones entered the scene – it's the hearty delight of beef cheeks with sarsaparilla. 

It's the perfect dish to make for Father's day and will be loved by everyone.

Let's talk about those magical beef cheeks. An economical cut that transforms into tenderness with a little patience and care. If your local butcher doesn't flaunt these treasures, don't hesitate to ask – they're often hidden gems waiting to be discovered.   

The original recipe contained some of the top 10 food allergens, and I've changed it here to be top 10 allergen-free. This version is all about safety and scrumptiousness for our precious ones with food allergies.

I use Bundaberg sarsaparilla as their website FAQ section regarding allergens states "All Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Products are free of Allergens as defined by the Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Code (Standard 1.2.3 (4))." 

A bit of planning ahead is required, as this dish is a labor of love that rewards you with flavours beyond measure. I suggest you make it in advance, then simply reheat on the day, and you're all set for a feast.

But here's the magic: this dish is a bridge. It brings together the allergy-conscious and those without restrictions, sparking curiosity and endless recipe requests. And when the kiddos catch wind of the "soft drink" twist, oh, they're in for a treat – it's a sweet invitation to savour something truly special.

I've often paired these melt-in-your-mouth beef cheeks with a generous mound of allergen-free mashed potatoes, whipped up to perfection in my trusty thermomix, and a side of vibrant greens. But if you're feeling adventurous, a switch to rice and greens offers a delightful twist.

Remember to follow the allergy golden rule and always check ingredients labels before using a product as allergen statements do change from time to time and allergen info can surprise us.

Join me in embracing the flavours, the warmth, and the joy this recipe brings this Father's Day or any day. Here's to creating lasting memories, nurturing our loved ones, and sharing the love – one delicious plate at a time.

Happy cooking! We hope you love this recipe too!

Sarsaparilla Beef Cheeks 


  • 4 large beef cheeks (approx. 180 gm each)
  • 12 golden shallots peeled and left whole
  • 2 spring onions finely sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 brown onions sliced thinly
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 10cm piece of ginger sliced
  • 5 cups Bundaberg Sarsaparilla
  • ¾ cup coconut amino sauce (the original recipe used soy sauce)
  • 2 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar (check ingredients label to ensure safe as ingredients can vary)
  • 6 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper


  • Step 1 - Preheat oven to 160 C
  • Step 2 - Use a large ovenproof saucepan to heat the olive oil over medium heat
  • Step 3 - Add sliced brown onion, garlic and ginger and cook until caramelised and browned.
  • Step 4 - Add Bundaberg Sarsaparilla, coconut amino sauce, balsamic, star anise and cinnamon
  • Step 5 - Bring the liquid to a boil before reducing heat and simmering for 10 minutes
  • Step 6 - Season the beef cheeks with salt and pepper and then brown all sides in a hot frying pan
  • Step 7 - Place beef cheeks in braising liquid and cover with a sheet of baking paper and then cover the saucepan with a tight fitting sheet of aluminium foil
  • Step 8 - Braise in the oven for 4-5 hours.
  • Step 9 - Remove from the oven and allow braise to cool before removing beef cheeks
  • Step 10 - Strain the liquid into another saucepan and skim the fat off the surface
  • Step 11 - Bring to a boil and add golden shallots. Reduce the liquid by half over high heat
  • Step 12 - Return beef to braise to warm through
  • Step 13 - Serve with your choice of sides

1 comment

  • Amy on

    Sounds delicious! My mouth is watering imagining sitting down with the family and indulging.

    As for slow cookers… we have used Sunbeam and now a Crock Pot …the only reason we switched was because the crock (ceramic part) smashed and that model was no longer available…lasted for ages!

    Thanks for sharing the safe “yum” and as always- for being you.

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