Discover the ultimate flavor sensation with this Smoked Beef Cheeks recipe. Tender, juicy, and packed with smoky goodness.

This recipe costs about $15.69 to make. It makes eight servings for around $1.96 per serving.

Whether serving beef cheeks in tacos, stews, or sandwiches, I pair it with side dishes like smoked corn on the cob, honey glazed carrots, or a lovely Italian salad.

An overhead picture of the finished Smoked Beef Cheeks on a wooden cutting board.

Beef Cheeks

These smoked beef cheeks taste as rich as any other cut of beef and, cooked in a Traeger grill, make for excellent stew meat. If you’re a fan of barbacoa as a taco filling, it doesn’t get better than smoked beef cheeks!

Before we talk about how to cook beef cheeks, what are beef cheeks, exactly? You might not have heard the phrase if you’re not a dedicated carnivore. No judgment, of course, as they’re not often used in American cuisine unless you’re a fan of Tex-Mex.

Beef cheeks are the facial cheek muscles of the cow. It’s not a cast-off piece of meat. Instead, it’s a juicy but lean piece of beef that smokes phenomenally on a Traeger grill. As a result, beef cheeks are tender and savory and won’t feel unfamiliar in taste or texture.

Most people like beef cheeks to make barbacoa, a delicious taco filling. Also, smoked beef cheeks are fantastic in stews.

Ingredients and Estimated Cost

Per Serving Cost: $1.96

Recipe Cost: $15.69

  • 4-6 beef cheeks (2-3 pounds) – $13.98
  • ⅓ cup kosher salt – $0.32
  • ⅓ cup ground black pepper – $0.80
  • ⅓ cup garlic powder – $0.59

NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The recipe cost is calculated by the amounts needed for the recipe. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have. I updated the pricing for this recipe in May 2023.

All of the ingredients needed to make this recipe.

How To Make Smoked Beef Cheeks

***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card below.

Have you never smoked beef cheeks before? Maybe (if you’re new to slightly out-of-the-ordinary meats) you’ve never even heard of them or seen them in person? That’s fine because smoking beef cheeks is a simple “low ‘n’ slow” affair! 

Note that I use a wood pellet grill for most of this process. More specifically, this recipe assumes you have a Traeger smoker/grill. I highly recommend hickory or signature blend wood pellets for smoked beef cheeks.

  1. Trim any fat, silver skin, or sinew from your beef cheeks. (If you’re new to beef cheeks, they look 100% more appetizing now. I think the intense amount of extra “stuff” in a lot of packaged beef cheek tends to turn people off.)
  2. Add kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to a large bowl. Toss the beef cheeks in and season them with the seasoning blend. Then, rub it in, don’t be afraid to be generous with it!
  3. Set your smoker to 250°F and preheat it.
  4. Place your beef cheeks on the grates and cook for 4-5 hours until they reach an internal temperature of 210°F-215°F.
  5. Remove the meat from the smoker and rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Slice or pull the meat, depending on how you’ll serve it!

A picture collage showing how to make this recipe.

Smoked Beef Cheeks Recipe Variations

  • Sauce variations: While smoked beef cheeks are already flavorful, you can enhance the dish by serving it with various sauces. Consider making a tangy barbecue sauce, a spicy chipotle sauce, or a rich red wine reduction to accompany the smoked beef cheeks.
  • Citrus infusion: Add freshness to your smoked beef cheeks by incorporating citrus flavors. You can marinate the beef cheeks with a mixture of orange juice, lime juice, and zest before smoking them. This will impart a bright and zesty flavor to the meat.
  • Smoking alternatives: If you don’t have a smoker, you can still achieve a smoky flavor using alternative methods. Try using a stovetop smoker or a charcoal grill with wood chips. 

Storage Tips

SERVE: As stated, you’ll want to let the beef cheeks rest for 15 minutes before you serve them.

STORE: 3-5 days in the fridge are about the limit for most cooked beef, smoked beef cheeks included.

FREEZE: Any leftover beef cheeks will last about three months in the freezer.

REHEAT: When you’re ready for another round of beef cheeks, ensure they thaw if they come out of the freezer. After, wrap them in foil and cook them in the oven at about 200°F until they’re heated through once more.

Recipe FAQs

How long does it take to make smoked beef cheeks?

It takes about 10 minutes to prep the beef for the smoker. After that, you’ll smoke them for 4-5 hours.

How many people does this recipe serve?

With 2-3 lbs of beef cheeks, you should have enough for eight servings. But, of course, this will all depend on portion size.

What can you do with the extra fat or sinew from the beef cheeks?

I’d keep it to make tallow or add it to ground beef for flavor later. There’s a lot of waste when trimming beef cheeks, and I wouldn’t just throw it out.

Are beef cheeks tough?

They shouldn’t be. Tender, yes, but not tough! You may not have cooked them long enough if yours came out tough. Ensure they spend 4-5 hours on the Traeger or have reached an internal temperature (use a meat thermometer) of 210°F-215°F, as the recipe states.

Slices of beef cheeks on a white plate with BBQ sauce.

More Smoked Recipes

A smoked and sliced beef Chee on a wooden cutting board.
5 from 6 votes

Smoked Beef Cheeks

Recipe Cost $ $15.69
Serving Cost $ $1.96
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 25 minutes
8 people
Discover the ultimate flavor sensation with this Smoked Beef Cheeks recipe. Tender, juicy, and packed with smoky goodness.

Equipment

  • large bowl
  • Smoker grill
  • Measuring cups
  • cutting board
  • knife

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions

PREP BEEF:

  • Trim any fat, silver skin, or sinew from your beef cheeks. There is a lot of waste, so save the trimming to add to ground beef or make tallow.
  • Season generously with the beef seasoning blend. It is easiest to add the seasoning to a large bowl, toss the beef cheeks in the seasoning, and rub it in with my hands.

PREP SMOKER:

  • Set the smoker to 250°F and preheat.

SMOKE BEEF:

  • Place the beef cheeks on the grates and cook for 4-5 hours until they reach an internal temperature of 210°F.

TO FINISH:

  • Remove from the smoker and rest for 15 minutes before you slice or pull the meat.

Notes

  • Beef cheeks cook at varying rates, so probe each cheek to ensure they reach an internal temperature between 210°F to 215°F before removing them from the smoker.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.4pound | Calories: 57kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 0.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 4723mg | Potassium: 250mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg

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5 Comments

  1. Sara Welch says:

    Enjoyed this for dinner last night and it was a savory success! Hearty, bold and delicious; definitely, a new favorite recipe!

  2. This looks so god. I’ve never had beef cheeks before, so I’m interested in this one for sure!

  3. I can’t wait to try this in my smoker this summer, it will be worth the wait! Thanks for sharing!

  4. These smoked beef cheeks look so tender, juicy and fantastic. Looking forward to making them this summer.

  5. Hayley Dhanecha says:

    How amazing this recipe is, and I love that it only made with handful of ingredients!