Beef Cheeks Barbacoa

Barbacoa is one of my favorite Mexican dishes of all time. This dish always reminds me of my college roommate Ben and forever thankful his mom hooked it up with the Barbacoa recipe years ago. This has been my go-to barbacoa recipe for years.

I took this aromatic and amazing barbacoa to the next level by smoking it in the Traeger Grills using mesquite pellets and using Meat Church’s Smoked Beef Cheeks recipe for inspo. This was the first time I ever used beef cheeks and it tasted so beefy, gelatinous, and so tasty! I found the beef cheeks at the San Jose Costco Business Center. I also love that it was pretty inexpensive. If Beef Cheeks are unavailable, use beef chuck!

After shredding the beef, you can prepare it any way you like! I made the girls ooey gooey and cheesy quesitacos and regular taqueria style tacos for Mrs. No Limit and myself topping it with our favorite taco toppings. However you want to eat it, it’s gonna be hella bomb!

Check out my IG Reel to see how the Beef Cheeks Barbacoa was made.

5 pounds beef cheeks or chuck roast, cut in 3-inch cubes
Mexican style seasoning or rub

Adobo Sauce Ingredients:
2 cups of low sodium beef broth
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
6 dried New Mexico or California chiles, rehydrated
10-12 garlic cloves
8 bay leaves
1 tablespoon agave syrup or sugar
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Corn tortillas
Onions, finely diced
Cilantro, finely chopped
Pico de Gallo
Cotija Cheese
Salsa Verde


Season Beef – Season trimmed beef cheeks with your favorite Mexican style rub and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

First Part Smoke Beef Cheeks – Smoke beef cheeks in a 250-degree smoker for 3 hours or until the internal temp of the beef cheeks reach 160 degrees.

Make Adobo Sauce – While the beef cheeks are smoking, combine all the adobo sauce ingredients in a blender, and blend it until smooth.

Second Part Smoke Beef Cheeks – After 3 hours or until the beef cheeks reach about 160 degrees, add the beef cheeks and adobo sauce in a Dutch oven or aluminum foil pan. Stir the beef cheeks in the adobo sauce, cover it, and continue smoking and braising the beef cheeks for another 4-5 hours at 275 degrees.

Shred Beef Cheeks – Once the meat reaches 200+ degrees, let the meat cool down a bit and shred with a fork or by gently squeezing it with your hands. Add the shredded beef back to the braising liquid.

Make Tacos – Top each warmed corn tortilla with a few ounces of barbacoa and garnish each taco with your favorite condiments.


  • Beef cheeks require a good amount of trimming. I bought 7.5 pounds of beef cheeks and after trimming the fat and other inedible stuff, I ended up with about 5 pounds of beef for smoking.
  • If beef cheeks is unavailable, use beef chuck or your favorite beef for shredded beef.
  • Oven-baked Barbacoa recipe can be found here.

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