Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks
It took me a while to master the cooking of Beef Cheeks. I absolutely love them! I had some friends come over that I hadn’t seen for a few months, due to the Covid pandemic, so this was a great opportunity to make Beef Cheek Tacos.
I bought these Beef Cheeks from Meat Matters. Their meat is outstanding and these were no exception.
Preparation and Cook
The night before the cook, I took the Beef Cheeks out of the fridge, applied the rub, and then put them back in the fridge overnight. I used the Charcoal BBQ Spice Rub from The Smokey Carter.
In the morning, I removed the Beef Cheeks from the fridge about 1 hour before I wanted to start the cook. Next was setting up the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). I use large pieces of Lumpwood Charcoal for my slow cooks, so got the smoker lit and bought it up to 225°F / 107°C.
Once I put the Beef Cheeks on I added the wood chunks. My favourite is cherry, mainly due to the lovely colour it gives the meat.
With my slow cooks, I go unwrapped until the internal temperature of the meat hit 160°F / 71°C and then will wrap until the meat hits the desired temperature. With this wrap, I also sat the Beef Cheeks in a braising liquid which definitely helps with getting them lovely and tender. With this cook I didn’t cook to temperature but until they felt ‘ready’ to come off.
Once I took them off I wrapped them in foil and placed them in a cool box to rest.
These Beef Cheeks were my best yet. I think the quality of them certainly helped, but I also planned this out and find every time I do this the cook goes really well. I was also not cooking to a time, which personally I think takes some of the pressure off.
The beef pulled wonderfully and I really liked the tortillas I used. It was my first time and I would definitely buy these ones again (although I know I should be making my own). These got a fantastic thumbs up from everyone.
Beef Cheek Tacos
- 1 kg Beef Cheek
- Charcoal BBQ Spice Rub (or an alternative)
- 3 Chipotle Morita Chillis (dried)
- 4 Garlic Cloves (sliced)
- 1 tbsp Ground Coffee
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Payenna Pepper
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tbsp Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 440 ml Porter
- 200 ml Water
- The night before you want to cook give the Beef Cheeks a liberal sprinkling of the Charcoal BBQ Spice Rub and place them in the fridge.
- About an hour before you want to start the cook, remove the Beef Cheeks from the fridge and allow them to come up to room temperature.
- Set up your smoker to sit at around 225°F. Don't worry if it fluctuates a little as you are cooking as long as the temperature remains in that area. Add the Beef Cheeks and then add your wood chunks to inject that smokiness.
- I aim to take the meat to 160°F and then will take off to braise. This usually takes 2½ to 3 hours.
- About an hour before the Beef Cheeks are due to come off prepare the braising liquid. Add all the ingredients to a saucepan, bring to a simmer and then turn down the heat.
- When you are ready to take the Beef Cheeks off, pour the braising liquid into a baking or foil tray and then place the Beef Cheeks into the liquid and spoon it over the Beef Cheeks.
- Cover the baking tray tightly with foil and then place back onto the smoker at 225°F.
- If you are cooking to temperature a lot of recipes will tell you to aim for 203°F. In my experience, I would go higher. My best Beef Cheeks have been in the 210°F range but to test I take a spoon and press the Beef Cheeks to see how tender they are. If they start to come apart you know they are ready.
- Take the Beef Cheeks off, wrap them in foil and then put them in a coolbox for 1 hour to rest. Keep the braising liquid and put it on the hob and keep warm.
- Unwrap your Beef Cheeks and pull them apart with 2 forks. Spoon some of the braising liquid over the pulled beef.
- Warm-up your tortillas and then spoon some of the pulled Beef Cheek into each one and add your topping. I added Pico de Gallo and a Mexican Lime and Jalapeno Mayo.