Authentic Beef Cheek Barbacoa


Homemade Barbacoa tacos are a must in our house. Then I started to get tired of paying $15 a week just for my husband and I to get tacos. So I asked my friend who makes and sells. If she would tell me a few tips. She was more than willing to give me tips and told me I could share. So here is the authentic beef cheek barbacoa recipe her grandmother taught her years ago. 2.5lbs will feed 3-4 people easily.  Also there is a great recipe for pozole in this link.

Authentic Beef Cheek Barbacoa, click here to repin this recipe.

What you need

3 lbs of beef cheek meat
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
1/2 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of Mexican oregano
2 tsp of fresh minced garlic
2 tsp of smoked paprika
4 tsp of chili powder (less for less spice) 
1 bay leave
2 limes (two squeezed) 
2 cup of beef broth
1/2 cup of cilantro


How to make 

First thing to do is to wash off with water your beef cheek and cut off any visible fat.

Next, cube your beef cheek into pieces. 

Put the beef in your pressure cooker with your cumin, oregano, garlic, bay leaf, and lime juice you squeezed out. 

Now stir it up well and then add in your beef broth. 

Turn in to manual mode and set the cook time for 36 minutes. 

Once the timer goes off you will let the pressure naturally release. 

While the pressure is naturally releasing I cut my cilantro, make myself some pico and warm my corn tortillas.  

Once all the pressure is released I open my lid and use a slotted spoon and shredded it with two forks

Plus I discard any solid fat or any remaining ooey bits like vein or gristle.

 You can garnish with diced onion, cilantro and salsa, with perhaps another squeeze of lime juice on top.


  1. I’ve used this recipe several times! We leave out the bay leaf. Perfection! Served on flour tortilla with onion, avacodo, and some sort of salsa. Omg! So easy. And so much cheaper than going to a restaurant or meat market.

  2. I made this and everyone loved it! My question though is could I leave the cheek meat whole and cook it longer, shredding it after it was cooked?

  3. I have been making my own barbacoa for years in my slow cooker. We just bought the 8qt instapot. My question is; do in need to cut the meat into cubes, or can I cook it whole as I always have? Thanks.

    • We have been making barbacoa for years. When we cant get our hands on cheek meat, we slow cook tongue and a small beef roast in a crockpot for about 8 hrs overnight.

      • Living in Houston I thought I could find the beef cheek meet (cachete de res) at any of the many small Hispanic meat markets around our part of town. But no luck. Surprisingly, just as Recipe Artist suggested above, I found it at Walmart of all places.

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