Beef cheek barbacoa

I finally managed to get my hands on some beef cheeks–just in time for Cinco De Mayo:


I cleaned them up by removing the external fat and silver skin:

The cheeks were marinated for a total of 18 hours in a vacuum sealed bag. The marinade consisted of chopped cilantro, crushed garlic, olive oil, adobo sauce, onion powder, and black pepper:


After marinating:

The rub was composed of onion and garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, and a touch of brown sugar:

The cheeks were coated in the rub and placed on the BGE at 200 degrees, using pecan and cherry wood for smoke:

After the cheeks got around 2.5 hours of smoke, I got the ingredients together for the braising liquid:

I mixed everything together and placed the cheeks into the mixture:

I let the cheeks braise uncovered for another 2.5 hours, then covered the pan with foil:

After another 2 hours, I removed the beef cheeks from the smoker:

The braising liquid was reduced to a thick sauce, fresh corn tortillas were fried up as tostada shells, and the cheek meat was shredded up with the reduced sauce:




Dinner was served (tostadas topped with smoked and braised beef cheeks, diced tomatillos & roma tomatoes, sweet onions, monterey jack and queso fresco cheeses, and smoked lime sour cream):



The texture of the cheek meat is rather unique. It has the mouth feel of very rich and fatty meat, but it’s just from the abundant amount of collagen within the meat. It was just like I remember it from authentic Mexican restaurants, except much more flavorful. The flavor of the marinade, rub, and braising sauce really rounded out the rich taste of the beef cheeks.
For dessert I wanted to try some tres leche ice cream. I started the batch by heating up 1.5 cups of heavy cream and 3/4 cup of evaporated milk just until it started to boil:

Two whole eggs and two egg yolks were beaten and then tempered with the hot milk mixture. This was cooked until the mix coated the back of a wooden spoon:

This mix was then strained and one 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk and one tbsp of vanilla was added:


Once the mixture had been thorougly chilled, it was churned in the Gelato Pro:

A smoked apple crumble was a must with this, so some apples that had been coated with brown sugar and cinnamon and then smoked, were used for this purpose:


The crumble topping was made with maple wood smoked flour, maple smoked butter, and brown sugar:



Freshly cooked:

All plated up with the tres leche ice cream:


OMG! So, so, so darn tasty. That recipe is going into permanent rotation.
Good eats.
This entry was posted in BBQ, Cold Smoking, Slavin' Over the Stove, Smoked Beef, Smoked Desserts. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Beef cheek barbacoa

  1. Chris says:

    This was a rather cheeky post! (Yeah, I went there, ha ha)

    You know that you now have me on the hunt for some cheeks, right?

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