Beef cheeks are the hidden gem of all the beef cuts. With a bit of preparation and time, they could easily become your new favorite cut to smoke. Their flavor is up there with brisket and beef ribs.
The key to this recipe is the careful trimming of the beef cheeks to get to the well-marbled meat within. Start with untrimmed beef cheeks, straight out the wrapping. There is some fairly well-marbled meat, but it is hiding under all that excess fat, silver skin, and membrane.
This recipe uses a water tray with some liquid to help create moist, well-flavored meat. Surprisingly, sweet rub profiles work very well with beef cheeks but feel free to use your favorite beef rub.
Smoked Beef Cheeks Recipe
- 4 beef cheeks
- 1 tablespoon sweet beef rub
- 1 can stout beer (porter beer or ginger beer)
- 2 tablespoons honey or to taste
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or to taste
- 1 chunk cherry wood
- Using a sharp knife, remove all the fat and silver skin from the beef cheeks. It only takes a few minutes to tidy them up so they look and taste better.
- Preheat your smoker to 275 to 325 degrees F (135 to 163 degrees C). Add a water pan below where the beef cheeks will cook. Add the cherry wood chunk.
- Once the beef cheeks have been trimmed, apply an even coating of rub.
- Smoke the beef cheeks until they reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees F (77 degrees C).
- Combine the beer, honey, and brown sugar. Place the beef cheeks in a tray then cover them with liquid by ½ inch (1cm).
- Continue to cook the beef cheeks until they reach an internal temperature of 200 to 210 degrees F (93 to 99 degrees C), flipping them every hour. Use a skewer at this point to check the tenderness. When it reaches a tenderness you are happy with (normally with a probe entering and leaving with no resistance), remove the beef cheeks and let rest for 15 minutes.
- To serve slice or shred the beef cheeks. The liquid in the tray can be used as a jus or thickened as a sauce or gravy.