Barbacoa beef cheeks

Barbacoa beef cheeks

Breddos Tacos
Kris kirkham

This was one of breddos Tacos’ first classic slow-cooker dishes. Cook it overnight and then use the spoon test to see whether the cheeks are done – basically, if you can cut through the cheeks with a teaspoon, then you’re in business.


Quantity Ingredient
3 ancho chillies, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon espresso coffee granules
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3kg beef or ox cheek
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 x 440ml can of stout or porter
200ml water
18 Corn tortillas
5 tablespoons Pico de gallo
125ml sour cream
handful coriander, chopped
2 limes, quartered


  1. Blend together the ancho chillies (including their soaking water), garlic, coffee, olive oil, cayenne, cumin, paprika, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover the beef cheeks with this paste and leave overnight or up to 24 hours, refrigerated.
  2. An hour before you’re ready to cook, take the cheeks out of the fridge to come up to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 140°C or switch your slow cooker onto low.
  3. In the meantime, heat the rapeseed oil in a frying pan and when very hot, sear the cheeks (leave the marinade in the bowl) in the hot oil until browned all over and caramelized, about 3 or 4 minutes. Put the cheeks into an ovenproof dish, with the marinade from the bowl, the stout and water, and put into the oven, covered, for 4 hours or until the cheeks are melt-apart tender. If you’re using a slow cooker, put everything into the slow cooker dish and cook on low for 12 hours.
  4. When the cheeks are done, take them out of the oven or slow cooker and let them rest for 30 minutes, then pull apart with two forks.
  5. To serve, warm up you tortillas in a dry frying pan. Fill them with the meat, pico de gallo and sour cream, and garnish with coriander and limes.
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