Smoked Beef Cheeks: Best Recipes for Juiciest Results

We've picked the most helpful info on how to choose, season and cook smoked beef cheeks
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Last updatedLast updated: May 05, 2021
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Many people enjoy a good cut of beef. Some prefer it smoked, while others prefer a good old-fashioned grill. One of the most popular cuts of beef must be beef cheeks. Beef cheeks are a prevalent cut because it responds well to moist and slow extended cooking methods.

Cooking beef cheek meat produces a robust, tender result when cooked in curries, stews and braises. Another famous dish is the immensely popular Texas-style beef recipe which involves smoked beef cheeks, often served on toasted buns as sandwiches.

Today we’ll be sharing a few of these popular recipes with the best ways to prepare them! We’ll also look at the nutritional value these cuts add to your plate.

Know the beef cheek meet

Smoked Beef Cheeks: Best Recipes for Juiciest ResultsEssentially beef cheek stems from the facial muscle of the cow. During its life, cows are continuously exercising their cheek muscles by chewing food. This consistent chewing leads to the meat being tough. As a result, correct cooking is required to soften the connective tissue, commonly referred to as collagen.

How it’s cooked

Beef cheeks are best cooked slowly by smoking for an average of 5 hours or braising for 4 to 6 hours. Cooking the meat for such a long period will break down the tough connective meat tissue, rendering the meat tender and juicy.

Using a smoker like the Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Smoker is the perfect way to perfect your beef cheeks. With 751 square inches to cook on, you’ll have ample space to make the biggest portion of beef cheeks! The reverse flow smoker feature guides smoke and heat through the main chamber, delivering an even and robust result.

Another grill great for smoking your beef cheeks is the ZGrills-7002E. The simple to read digital control pad makes grilling as easy as using your stove oven. A precise temperature control feature ensures consistent results every time!

Typical spices used

If you’re smoking or grilling your beef cheeks, the classic brisket rub is a popular spice combination.

Classic Brisket Rub

  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Coarsely cracked black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Mix well and rub all over beef cut
  • Leave in the fridge overnight. The salt will start penetrating the meat enabling the proteins to retain moisture.

Beef cheek meat nutrition facts

Smoked Beef Cheeks: Best Recipes for Juiciest ResultsThe good news is beef cheek meat is healthy and good for you. The reason is quite simple. The muscles are strong from years of continuous chewing by the cow. The muscles are toned with a huge amount of blood flow to the tissue. This results in a huge amount of hearty flavor in the meat.

Serving a beef cheek meat portion with your choice of steamed vegetables will provide you with a meal that’s not only delicious but healthy as well!

On average a 100g portion of beef cheeks has the following nutritional value:

  • Protein: 25 g
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Calories: 145
  • Energy: 490 KJ
  • Cholesterol:50 mg
  • Sodium:55 mg
  • Potassium: 329 mg

Temperatures for cooking beef cheek meat

Aside from monitoring your oven or smoker temperature, it’s a good idea to invest in a quality internal thermometer to ensure your meat is cooked till it’s tender. External temperatures are listed as follows:

  • Smoking: Anywhere between 250 – 300 for an average of 5 hours
  • Grilling: Anywhere between 205 – 210 for an average of 3 hours in liquid
  • Braising: Anywhere between 350 for an average of 5 hours

Beef cheek meat smoking recipes

Two of the most common ways of preparing beef cheeks is the traditional slow-cooked way or smoking it the Texas-style way. Let’s have a look at these two beef cheek meat recipes.

Recipe 1: Smoked Beef Cheek Tacos

Smoked Beef Cheeks: Best Recipes for Juiciest Results


  • Oak pellets
  • 3 lbs. beef cheeks, fat trimmed off
  • BBQ rub
  • 1 garlic head
  • 1 cilantro bunch
  • 1 onion cut in quarters
  • 18 oz beef stock
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 20 corn tortillas


  • Rest beef cheeks seasoned with BBQ rub for 15 min
  • While cheeks are resting, preheat smoker to 275˚ F
  • Put beef cheeks on the grate for 2 and a half hours
  • Measure the internal temperature of the meat – it should remain at least 160˚ F
  • While the cheeks are smoking, mix the braising liquid with garlic and onion quarters
  • After the time has passed, put the mixed liquid in the steam pan (preferably half-sized)
  • Add water (around 1 in of the pan should be submerged)
  • Put the cheeks in the pan
  • At the 275˚ F temperature, leave the pan in the smoker for 4-5 hours
  • Flip the meat from time to time
  • Once the meat is cooked, put it in tortillas
  • Sprinkle chopped onions, add cilantro
  • Optionally, you can add cotija cheese and fresh lime
  • Enjoy the taste

Recipe 2: Texas-style smoked beef cheeks


  • 7 lb. beef cheeks
  • Dijon mustard
  • Brisket rub


  • Preheat your smoker to 275°.
  • Trim excess fat, connective tissue and silver skin from the surface of your beef cut.
  • Rub the beef cheeks with a thin layer of Dijon mustard.
  • Season generously with the brisket rub.
  • Place the cheeks on the smoker surface and smoke open until you can shred them with a fork, usually 5 hours or until the internal temperature is between 205 – 210 .
  • Rest the beef 20 minutes before chopping or shredding.
  • You can use the beef to make sandwiches. Just add mustard, pickles and lettuce.

Final thoughts

Preparation is key to ensuring your smoked beef cheeks taste as juicy, tender and robust as you expect them to. A quality smoker, internal thermometer and the perfect recipe is the best place to start! Whether you prefer smoking, braising or grilling your fresh cut of beef cheeks, if you prepare it correctly, you’ll have a tasty, full-bodied portion of smoked beef cheeks on your plate!

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