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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.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 people


  • 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.
Keyword Beef Cheeks, Low 'n' Slow, Pulled Beef