Smoked Beef Cheek Barbacoa

Cook Time

240 mins

Cooking Method






Prep Time

15 mins




Aluminum Foil

2 lbs Beef Cheeks

1 cup Beef Stock

Corn Tortillas

3 Garlic Cloves, Minced

1 tbsp Hot Sauce

Jalapeno Pepper, minced

Lime, Wedges

TT Louisiana Grills Smokey Spicy Sweet Hot

1 tbsp Olive Oil

Queso Fresco, crumbled

Red Onion, Diced

1/2 sliced Yellow Onion

Cooking Instructions

Tender, beefy and rich in flavor, this Smoked Beef Cheek Barbacoa is made from an often underappreciated cut of beef. Beef cheeks are an economical cut that are often braised or used in stews as the fatty tissue benefits from low and slow cooks. Serve the succulent shreds of beef on corn tortillas with fresh toppings like jalapeno, queso fresco, or avocado. 

What is Barbacoa? 

Barbacoa is a traditional Mexican beef dish that uses Beef Cheeks which are typically braised or stewed in a liquid. In this version, the beef cheeks are seasoned, smoked and then braised in a flavorful stock until fork-tender. 

Wood Pellet Recommendation 

The spicy aroma of our Texas Mesquite Hardwood Pellets make this an obvious choice for Barbacoa.  

Note: This recipe uses Louisiana Grills Smokey Spicy Sweet Hot Rub. 

  1. Fire up your Louisiana Grills pellet grill and preheat to 250°F. If using a gas or charcoal grill, set it up for low, indirect heat.
  2. Remove the silver skin from the beef cheeks, then drizzle with olive oil, and season with Smokey Spicy Sweet Hot.
  3. Place directly on the grill grate, indirect heat, and smoke for 2 hours.
  4. Place onion, garlic, beef stock, and hot sauce in a cast iron skillet, then set smoked beef cheeks on top. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil, then increase temperature to 300°F, and braise for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 206°F.
  5. Remove beef cheeks from the grill and allow to rest for 15 minutes, then shred by hand. Drizzle with braising liquid.
  6. Serve warm with corn tortillas, fresh cilantro, queso fresco, onion, jalapeño, and lime wedges.

Special Tools

  • Cast Iron Skillet


Can’t find beef cheeks in your area? Try this recipe with chuck roast instead.

Diet Info

  • Flexible Dieting