Beef Cheek Tacos

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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.

The Verdict

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

The Beef Cheeks for these tacos was smoked and slow-cooked before being pulled and served on Corn Tortillas with Pico De Gallo.
Servings 6 people
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Beef Cheeks, Low ‘n’ Slow, Pulled Beef

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