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recipe for beef cheekse

Beef Cheek Barbacoa Tacos

  • Author: Taylor Carrol for
  • Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 lbs beef cheeks- enough for 8 servings of tacos 1x


This recipe for Beef Cheeks gives Mexican inspiration in the form of Beef Cheek Barbacao Tacos. The flavorful marinade and braising liquid acts to keep the meat moist while braising while adding tons of flavor at the same time.



Marinade (for braising):

  • 1 large orange
  • 6 medium sized limes
  • 1 mango or ¼ cup guava paste
  • 1 small poblano, charred, skin scraped, and seeded
  • 2 small jalapenos, charred and seeded/de-ribbed 
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • ½ charred onion
  • 1 head of grilled garlic
  • 1 ½ cup beef stock

Alternative braising liquid-

  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1, 7 oz can chipotles in adobo
  • ¼ cup honey


  1. Preheat the grill or smoker to 275° F and set it up for indirect cooking
  2. If not pretrimmed, trim the beef cheeks until no soft fat or silver skin is visible 
  3. Season the meat liberally with Sunshine State of Mind
  4. If you are using whole cheeks, you can simply place them on the grill. If using cubed, place them on in a grouping to slow the cooking process. 
  5. Smoke for about 2 hours
  6. To make the marinade, juice to orange and limes into a blender then toss in the mango (or guava paste), onion, garlic, salt, and beef stock and blend until smooth
    1. The color is not the most appealing, but it will taste delicious! If you would like it to be less “clumpy”, run it through a mesh strainer once blended. 
    2. You can also choose to use the alternative braising liquid, to prepare it blend all the ingredients
  7. Place the beef cheeks into a pan and pour in the marinade so only the tops of the cheek are visible
  8. Cover tightly with foil and continue cooking until they probe like room temperature butter, about 2-3 hours. 
  9. Remove the meat from the braising liquid, allow it to cool then shred it and add back in some of the liquid to taste. 
  10. Serve on tortillas with cilantro, guacamole, and diced onion- or however you like!


Affiliate links have been used.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Category: Recipe for Beef Cheeks, Barbacoa
  • Method: Smoke, Braise
  • Cuisine: American, Mexican

Keywords: recipe for beef cheeks, beef cheek barbacoa tacos