If you are looking for an epic recipe for beef cheeks that answers all your questions about this underrated cut- well you’ve come to the right place!
Beef cheeks are often an overlooked cut, but they are packed with intermuscular fat which makes for a flavorful and excellent textured dish. They are a less expensive alternative to cuts such as brisket and short ribs and lend themselves nicely to the same cooking techniques.
When you go to find Beef Cheek, they usually come in two ways, already trimmed and cubed (and often labeled “for barbacoa”), or in their whole form. I prefer the pre trimmed and cubed variation because there is no waste/product lost from trimming, whereas the whole form has a lot of soft fat and silver skin that needs to be cut off, usually resulting in about 35-40% loss on purchase weight. No matter which preparation you choose, they do both cook the same way.
Just like the traditional bbq cuts, beef cheek lends itself best to a low and slow cooking method to allow all the connective tissues and fat to gelatinize and render properly for the perfect bite.
The optimal range for cooking is going to be between 225° F and 275° F to allow for a nice slow render. If the process is sped up by using higher heat, it can result in a final product with more of a “slimy” mouth feel opposed to a nice and silky texture.
Cheeks are a much smaller cut than a brisket or ribs, so they are a little bit less forgiving when it comes to them potentially becoming dry. Here are two ways to avoid that-
Both methods will need another 2-3 hours to cook to completion once executed depending on the size of the product you are using. The final temperature when finished is between 195° F and 203° F, but it is easier to go by feel (whenever it shreds effortlessly and probes like butter)
** if you do not have a grill, you can mimic this process by searing the cheeks in a pan for some color and then braising them on low in a crockpot until they become probe tender**
Ground chuck, tongue, and oxtails or any cut that benefits from low and slow and a braising are good alternatives to Beef Cheeks. Try my Brisket Style Chuck Roast recipe for an easy and inexpensive cook that is always a family favorite.
With any grilling, smoking or even cooking inside the kitchen, it is IMPERATIVE to have a Meat Thermometer. Here are my recommendations:
Beef Cheek Barbacoa Tacos are the perfect vehicle for Beef Cheeks and let's face it- who doesn't love a good taco? This recipe includes a delicious Mexican Barbacoa inspired marinade that adds a ton of flavor to the meat while also helping to keep it tender while it braises in the liquid. Serve the Beef Cheeks with all your favorite taco fixins- I like to set up a taco bar at my house and let everyone make their own as I put out all my favorite toppings: cilantro, pickled onions, pickled jalapenos, tomatoes, hot sauce, Queso Blanco- have fun with it!
The braising marinade for this recipe for beef cheeks adds a ton of flavor while also keeping the meat moist and tender.
Marinade (for braising):
Alternative braising liquid:
Directions to make smoked (or braised) Beef Cheek Barbacoa Tacos:
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.
Alternative braising liquid-
Affiliate links have been used.
Keywords: recipe for beef cheeks, beef cheek barbacoa tacos
Want more grilled beef recipes? Check out these posts!
The post Beef Cheeks: The Complete Guide, plus a recipe for Beef Cheeks Barbacoa Tacos appeared first on Grill Girl.