Beef Cheek Tacos

I have been thinking about making tongue tacos lately. I know, many might think of this being gross, however if you have never ordered ‘lengua’ from your local tacqueria, well you are missing out. The great thing about using other cuts of beef are that they are not only tender, but the beef flavor escalates into something extraordinary, and to me that is pretty awesome. So this past weekend when I was shopping for both Asian and Mexican ingredients, and devouring some great tacos from El Rey in Milwaukee, I decided to browse around and try to find tongue. They had pork tongue, but not beef, but with that said, I saw this great package of beef cheeks. I was all in.

How to make Beef Cheek Tacos

I was not going to let my family know what I was making, and as far as they knew, it was just beef. If I mentioned beef cheeks, I knew that they would probably hesitate, and back out from trying it. So the night before, I decided to brine it, as I would have if making beef tongue. Trust me on this one, find and make beef cheeks.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the Brine:

  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 lime, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 orange, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 whole guajillo chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 whole dried chipotle chili
  • 1 whole puya chili
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 lbs of beef cheeks, fat trimmed

Ingredients for the tacos:

  • 2 cups of water or beef stock
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1 whole lime, cut into quarters
  • warmed flour tortillas

Make your brine by adding everything but the beef cheeks to a stock pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring along the way, ensuring you dissolve the salt and sugar. Once dissolved, remove from the heat, and let it cool.

Beef Cheek Tacos

Add the beef cheeks to a large sealable bag and pour in the cooled brine. Seal and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The following day, pour out the brine, and add the beef cheeks to a large saute pan or dutch oven. Add about 2 cups of water or beef stock, bring to medium heat, cover, and cook for about 3 hours. Reduce the heat to a medium-low once it comes to a boil.

Beef Cheek Tacos

After 3 hours, remove the beef cheeks onto a plate, and let them cool. Once cooled, slice and then chop the beef cheeks.

When you are about ready to serve, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add in the oil. Add as much beef cheeks as you want, and cook until those beef cheeks get a nice sear on them. You want to get that great crispiness on it.

How to make beef cheek tacos

When you are ready to serve, add the beef cheeks to a warm and toasted tortilla, top with fresh cilantro, minced shallot, a bit of avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. Repeat.

My son, who is now getting into onions, and one that was lingering around when I was making these tacos, tried one (I was surprised as he was not a fan of avocado, but was convinced by my sell) and devoured it.  These beef cheek tacos are probably now my favorite, and I do not kid you when I say that. The texture was spot on, and the beefiness escalated from that of skirt or flank steak, plus a heck of a lot cheaper.  Give these a shot if you are looking from some really great beef tacos. Hope you enjoy!

Beef Cheek Tacos
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for the Brine:
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 lime, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 orange, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 whole guajillo chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 whole dried chipotle chili
  • 1 whole puya chili
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1½ tbsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 lbs of beef cheeks, fat trimmed
  • Ingredients for the tacos:
  • cups of water or beef stock
  • Brined Beef Cheeks
  • tbsp canola oil
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • shallot, minced
  • /2 avocado, diced
  • whole lime, cut into quarters
  • warmed flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. Make your brine by adding everything but the beef cheeks to a stock pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring along the ways, ensuring you dissolve the salt and sugar. Once dissolved, remove from the heat, and let it cool.
  2. Add the beef cheeks to a large sealable bag and pour in the cooled brine. Seal and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. The following day, pour out the brine, and add the beef cheeks to a large saute pan or dutch oven. Add about 2 cups of water or beef stock, bring to medium heat, cover, and cook for about 3 hours. Reduce the heat to a medium-low once it comes to a boil.
  4. After 3 hours, remove the beef cheeks onto a plate, and let them cool. Once cooled, slice and then chop the cheeks.
  5. When you are about ready to serve, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add in the oil. Add as much beef cheeks as you want, and cook until those beef cheeks get a nice sear on them. You want to get that great crispiness on it.
  6. When you are ready to serve, add the beef cheeks to a warm and toasted tortilla, top with fresh cilantro, minced shallot, a bit of avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. Repeat.

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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

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