Beef Cheek Tacos

Beef Cheek Tacos

If you want that authentic beef flavor with tacos then beef cheeks is the way to go. We’re both smoking them and then braising them on the grill.

Servings 4 people
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Start the grill 30 minutes


  • 2.2 lbs beef cheeks (untrimmed weight)
  • 2 tbsp barbecue rub
  • 8 tortillas
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 silver onion (or vidalia onion)
  • 11 oz full flavored beer


  • Start by trimming off any fat, sinew and membranes from the beef cheeks. You're gonna have to spend some time on this, as there's quite a bit of trimming to be done.
    Beef Cheeks
  • Sprinkle the barbecue rub on both sides of the beef cheeks.
    Beef Cheeks with barbecue rub
  • Peel the onion and slice one half, and chop the other half.

Phase I – smoke

  • Fire up your grill, prepare it for indirect grilling. Have it running at 225° – 250° F. Use the snake method if you’re using a kettle grill, or even better, a Slow ‘N Sear. Add some wood chunks for smoking on the glowing embers. Place the beef cheeks on the indirect side and close the lid. Smoke them for 2 hours so they get a nice color and bark develops.

Phase II – braise

  • When the beef cheeks have gotten some good smoke flavor and bark has developed, it's time to tenderize them. Place them in an aluminum pan together with the sliced half of the onion and the beer. Leave the thermometer in the beef cheeks and wrap it with alumimum foil and place the aluminum pan back on the grill.
    Beef Cheek Tacos in braising liquid
  • Leave the pan on the grill until inner temp in the meat hits 205-210° F (95-100° C), it's needed to make them tender.
  • Remove the pan from the grill and open the aluminum foil "lid" slightly and let it rest for 30 minutes.
    Braised Beef Cheeks
  • Remove the beef cheeks from the pan and start shredding them with a pair of forks. Put the meat back in the pan and mix with the sauce.


  • Now all that's left to do is to serve! Add a few spoons of the meat/sauce mix together with chopped silver onion, some cilantro and shredded cheese.

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