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Revolution Barbecue Smoked Beef Cheek Barbacoa Tacos topped with Onions, Cilantro, and Cotija

Beef, Family Recipes by Revolution Barbecue, Recipes, Smokin Southern BBQ by Glenn Connaughton

Smoked Beef Cheek Barbacoa Tacos: A Savory BBQ Delight

Welcome to a recipe that holds a special place in my heart and on my family’s table – the Smoked Beef Cheek Barbacoa Tacos. This dish is more than just a recipe; it’s a treasured memory from the sun-drenched fields of the Texas Hill Country. While developing recipes for my first cookbook, “Smokin’ Southern BBQ,” my family and I stumbled upon this gem. It was love at first taste.

The beef cheeks, bathed in a blend of robust spices and gently smoked, transform into something truly magical. Each time I prepared this dish, it seemed to cast a spell over us. No matter how many times it graced our table, we would savor every bite as if it were our first. It was this dish that reminded us of the joy and communal spirit of barbecue, bringing us together time and time again.

Being a Texas-based recipe, I used Shiner Bock beer, a nod to the local flavors and traditions. The beer’s unique taste beautifully complements the rich, smoky meat. However, feel free to experiment with any good lager you have on hand. Each variation adds its own character to the dish, making it a versatile recipe to suit your taste.

This Smoked Beef Cheek Barbacoa Tacos recipe isn’t just a meal; it’s a celebration of family, love for barbecue, and the endless flavors that the art of smoking meat can unveil. Enjoy every bite, and let this dish bring your loved ones together, just as it did for my family. This recipe is by Glenn Connaughton. Read more about Glenn here.

Revolution Barbecue Smoked Beef Cheek Barbacoa Tacos topped with Onions, Cilantro, and Cotija

Smoked Beef Cheek Barbacoa Taocs

Ah, the magnificent journey of crafting Smoked Beef Cheek Barbacoa Tacos – a dish that truly embodies the heart and soul of barbecue. Now, before diving into this tantalizing recipe, a key piece of advice: you may need to pay a visit to your local butcher or scour online stores, as beef cheeks aren’t your regular find at the grocery aisle. And trust me, opt for pre-trimmed beef cheeks if possible. Trimming them yourself can be quite a task, and we want to keep our focus on the flavors and the smoking technique. This recipe, with its intricate blend of spices and the slow, loving embrace of smoke, transforms the humble beef cheek into a tender, flavor-packed masterpiece. Perfect for gathering friends and family, each bite of these tacos is a celebration of the art of barbecue
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 20 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 8 Servings


  • 1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt plus 1 teaspoon (2 tablespoons used first, then 1 teaspoon used later)
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 pounds beef cheeks trimmed
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 16 ounces lager beer
  • 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro diced
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • Small corn tortillas
  • Cotija cheese


  • In a small bowl, mix together the pepper, 2 tablespoons of salt, chipotle powder, granulated garlic, and cumin and set aside.
  • Season the beef cheeks thoroughly with the rub. Place the cheeks in the refrigerator while you prep the smoker.
  • Build a fire using charcoal along with 2 chunks of oak and bring it to 275°F.
  • Place the cheeks on the grill and smoke for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, the internal temperature reaches at least 160°F.
  • Place the broth, beer, medium onion, and garlic cloves in a foil pan.
  • Add the beef cheeks to the braising liquid in the pan and return it to the smoker for another 4 to 5 hours, flipping them over once about halfway through the cook, until tender. Be sure to check your wood chunks each hour and replenish as
  • needed. When the internal temperature reaches 195°F, remove the beef cheeks from the smoker.
  • Allow the meat to rest for 30 minutes. While the cheeks are resting, combine the large onion, cilantro, 1 teaspoon of salt, and lime juice in a small bowl.
  • Remove the meat from the braising liquid and shred, adding some of the braising liquid for maximum moisture.
  • Serve on corn tortillas with the onion and cilantro mix and topped with Cotija cheese.


If you loved this Smoked Beef Cheek Barbacoa Tacos recipe, there’s more where that came from! Dive into a world of mouthwatering BBQ delights with my cookbook, “Smokin’ Southern BBQ.” Packed with recipes that celebrate the art of barbecue, it’s a must-have for any BBQ enthusiast. Grab your copy now on Amazon and take your BBQ skills to the next level!
Smokin' Southern BBQ by Glenn Connaughton
Keyword Barbacoa Tacos, BBQ Beef Tacos, Beef Cheek Recipes, Glenn Connaughton, Smoked Beef Cheek, Smoker Recipes
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