Smoked Beef Cheeks: A Delicious Journey into the Heart of BBQ

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Christian Kimmons

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Immerse yourself in the world of smoked beef cheeks, a lesser-known yet truly delightful cut of meat. A delectable cornerstone of BBQ culture, it’s a dish that truly embodies the spirit of ‘low and slow’. With a proper smoking method, beef cheeks, rich in collagen content, offer a distinctively tender, sticky texture that’s undeniably addictive.

As a passionate food enthusiast, I am consistently mesmerized by the transformation of this tough, muscley cut into a flavorful, tender meat flesh. The flavor profile of smoked beef cheeks is a carnival of flavors — a savory symphony that’s not just rich in flavor, but also full of depth and complexity.

The best part of this dish, however, is the art of smoking itself. It’s not merely about cooking; it’s a culinary ritual. While the charcoal grill and smoker combo is my recommended cooking equipment for its intense smoky flavor and convenience, electric or pellet smokers can also yield satisfactory results.

Smoked Beef Cheeks Recipe

Yield: 4

Smoked Beef Cheeks Recipe

smoked beef cheeks

Let’s dive into the recipe that takes you on a journey from raw, red meat to a tantalizingly tender beef cheek.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Addition Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes


  • 2 beef cheeks
  • BBQ beef rub (a mixture of black pepper, kosher salt, brown sugar)


First, prepare the beef cheeks by removing any silver skin or any nasty layer of rubber-like fat. Rub the beef cheeks generously with your BBQ beef rub, then place them in your smoker. Use a foil packet for the first few hours to retain moisture and ensure the success of this smoke. Once your beef cheeks hit an internal temperature of around 165°F, wrap them tightly in aluminum foil with a splash of beef broth and continue cooking until they reach an optimal temperature of 200°F. The slow heat for long periods will break down the collagen and create that signature stickiness, transforming the tough beef cheek meat into a succulent feast.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 600(kcal)Total Fat: 40gCarbohydrates: 0gProtein: 50g

Serving Suggestions

Smoked beef cheeks are wonderfully versatile. They make for excellent BBQ tacos or can be served on a burger patty bun for sandwiches. The leftovers (if there are any!) can even be tossed into a hearty stew the next day.

Useful Tips for Smoking Beef Cheeks to Perfection

  1. Optimal Temperature: Maintaining a consistent low temperature is key to achieving succulent and tender beef cheeks. Aim for a smoking temperature of around 275°F to ensure that the collagen breaks down gradually, resulting in that signature stickiness.
  2. Tenderizing the Meat: Beef cheeks are a tough, muscley cut, but when smoked low and slow, they transform into a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy. Be patient, and let the magic happen slowly over time.
  3. Choosing the Right Beef Cheek Meat: Look for well-marbled beef cheeks with minimal silver skin for the best results. The marbling contributes to the rich flavor and juiciness of the final dish.
  4. The Foil Packet Technique: To avoid a nasty layer of rubbery meat, consider steaming the beef cheeks in a foil packet during the latter part of the smoking process. This step ensures they stay moist and tender.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Smoking Beef Cheeks

  1. Rushing the Process: Smoking beef cheeks requires patience. Avoid cooking at high temperatures to speed up the process, as it may result in tough and dry meat.
  2. Skipping the Rub: The BBQ rub is essential for enhancing the flavors of the beef cheeks. Don’t skip this step, and consider using a flavorful blend of spices to elevate the taste.
  3. Neglecting the Internal Temperature: Invest in a reliable meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the beef cheeks. Properly cooked beef cheeks should reach an internal temperature of 200°F for the best tenderness.


Smoking beef cheeks is an adventure, one that leaves you with a delicious cut of meat that is tender, flavorful, and satisfying. It may require some patience, but the result is worth every minute. With the taste, the tenderness, and the joyful journey of cooking, smoked beef cheeks could easily become your new BBQ favorite.

Remember: respect the process, enjoy the journey, and most importantly, savor each bite. Welcome to the tantalizing world of smoked beef cheeks.


How long does it take to smoke beef cheeks?

Smoking beef cheeks typically takes around 5 hours at a temperature of 275°F. However, cooking time may vary based on the size and thickness of the cheeks.

What other cuts of meat can be smoked similarly to beef cheeks?

 While beef cheeks are a fantastic choice, other cuts like oxtail and chuck, as well as lamb shanks, can also be smoked to yield tender and flavorful results.

Can I use the leftover smoked beef cheeks for other dishes?

 Absolutely! The leftover smoked beef cheeks can be used in various dishes like tacos, salads, or even added to soups and stews for an extra boost of flavor.

Can I smoke beef cheeks on an electric or pellet smoker?

Yes, you can. Electric or pellet smokers offer convenience and consistent temperature control, making them ideal for smoking beef cheeks to perfection.

What’s the best way to store smoked beef cheeks?

To store smoked beef cheeks, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days or freeze for later use.

Is it necessary to remove the silver skin from beef cheeks before smoking?

Yes, removing the silver skin is crucial as it can be tough and chewy when smoked. Trim off any excess fat and silver skin to ensure a tender final product.

Can I use the same beef rub ingredients for other smoked meats like brisket?

Absolutely! The beef rub ingredients used in this recipe work well for other smoked meats like brisket, ribs, and even pork shoulder. Feel free to experiment and adjust the flavors to your liking.

Are beef cheeks good for smoking?

Yes, beef cheeks are excellent for smoking. Their high collagen content and marbling make them ideal for low and slow cooking, resulting in tender and flavorful meat

What do beef cheeks taste like?

Beef cheeks have a rich, beefy flavor with a depth of taste that comes from their slow cooking process. When smoked, they develop a delectable smoky and savory profile.

What are beef cheeks called at the grocery store?

At the grocery store, beef cheeks may be labeled as “beef cheek meat” or simply “cheeks.” Sometimes, they can also be found under the section of specialty cuts or with other organ meats.

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