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Rumba Beef Cheek Tacos Recipe
Sonia Mendez Garcia Head-shot

Original Blog & Recipe by
Sonia Mendez Garcia

My name is Sonia Mendez Garcia. Born and raised in California, but I have lived in Texas and since 1986, I call central New York my home. My parents Ramiro and Blanca were born in Monterrey, Mexico and raised a family of five girls and three boys. The kitchen was always a focal point in our house. With Rumba Meats, I can prepare all of my favorite recipes that my Mom prepared with such love and attention for our family.

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Beef Cheek Tacos

Barbacoa De Cachete

Barbacoa de cachete, beef cheek meat perfectly steamed. Some of the best beef tacos you will experience! This is the last recipe in series of four, I collaborated with Rumba Meats.  And again, it takes me back to my family roots. It especially takes me back to the foods cooked for special days, or for that quiet Sunday brunch after church or trip to “la pulga”(flea market). I know there are many variations of “barbacoa” recipes online. And I also know, that I could not share a recipe for barbacoa unless I got my hands on some real deal beef cheek! Lol! For me, this is one of a few, true barbacoa recipes. It’s simple, with not much prep involved and I am thrilled to share it with you today. Cooking methods vary as well. Many recipes call for a slow cooker with a few spices added that is cooked all night long at a low temperature. Works great! The steaming method is the way my parents cooked the beef cheek. And thanks to my sister-in-law Janet for reminding me of this cooking method my parents used.  It makes sense to me. The beef is not sitting in a pool of liquid and fat all night, but compact and clean, steamed and ready to eat as soon as it’s done! Sure makes for easy clean up too. Thank you Rumba Meats for the wonderful trips down memory lane of cooking with la familia.

Directions

Barbacoa De Cachete Preparation

I really cannot say enough about the quality food product that Rumba Meats produces. (www.rumbameats.com) This has been such a wonderful, yet bittersweet food blogging experience working with Rumba Meats. Many, many special family food memories, one more special than the next. The beef cheek comes is these vacuum sealed packages with about 2 1/2 pounds of beef cheek. It’s perfect for smaller families and the pricing is very affordable!  

 

Directions

1. Trim away some of the excess fat from the beef cheek. Slice into 2 equal portions. Season to taste with salt. Wrap each portion tightly in a double layer of foil paper. The beef cheek will reduce quite a bit, so if you  you need more than 4 servings, it’s best to add another 2 pounds.

2. Fill the bottom of the  medium steamer pot with water and heat to high. Place beef cheek packets into steamer pot and cover. When it comes to a rapid steam/boil, reduce to medium heat. Continue cooking for 3 hours, adding 1 1/2 cups of hot water every hour. I keep a pot of water on low heat while I cook so it’s very hot.

3. Remove beef cheek packets from steamer , place in bowl and let cool slightly. Carefully open the packets and drain the liquid/fat rendered during cooking into a bowl. Reserve this liquid if you are preparing the Taqueria-Style Chile de Arbol Salsa . Find link at the end of this post for recipe. Transfer barbacoa to serving dish with lid.  Serve with warn tortillas(I prefer corn), pico de gallo salsa, chile de arbol salsa and salsa verde. Warm barbacoa slightly before serving. Yields 4-6 servings.

Barbacoa De Cachete 2

Don’t forget to save all the broth and fat rendered from the barbacoa, beef cheek, for the taqueria-style salsa de chile de arbol. tasty!

Barbacoa De Cachete 3

Aaaaaaahhhhh…..The “tester taco”!! Absolutely delicious with that fresh pico de gallo. Even the store bought tortilla passed the test, lol!!

 

Salsa Verde with Chile de Arbol. This was and still is a family favorite salsa recipe. For every occasion, my Mom would prepare a variation of this Salsa Verde with Chile de Arbol. And with no garlic! Just the way she preferred, but I do add it now and then.

 

Barbacoa De Cachete 4

Barbacoa De Cachete 5

Ingredients

  • Rumba® Beef Cheekmeat (2 1/2 pounds)
  • Salt to taste
  • Foil Paper
  • Steamer pot
  • 7-8 tomatillos, washed
  • 4 serranos or jalapenos
  • handful of chile de arbol, stems removed (about 10 chiles)
  • 1/4 white onion
  • Corn tortillas, as needed

Recipe Notes

Don’t forget to save the broth and fat rendered from the barbacoa for taqueria-style salsa de chile de arbol. Tasty!

Instructions

  1. Trim off excess fat from beef cheekmeat. Slice in 2 equal portions. Season with salt. Wrap each portion tightly in a double layer of aluminum foil. Fill the bottom of a medium steamer pot with water and heat over high heat. Place beef cheek packets into steamer pot and cover. When water comes to a rapid boil, reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking for 3 hours, adding 1½ cups hot water every hour. (I keep a pot of water on low heat while I cook so water is very hot.) After the 3-hour cook time cheekmeat should be tender and reach an internal temperature of 160ºF.
  2. Remove beef cheek packets from steamer, place in a large bowl and cool slightly. Carefully open the packets and drain off the liquid/fat rendered during cooking into a bowl for use in another recipe. Shred meat with 2 forks and transfer barbacoa to a serving dish with a lid. Keep warm.
  3. While cheekmeat is cooking: Combine tomatillos, chiles and onion in a pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, making sure the tomatillos do not tear open. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked ingredients to the blender and pulse to blend until smooth. Season with salt to taste.
  4. (Variation: For a smoky spicy red version of this salsa, add 4 chile guajillo instead of the chile verde and double the amount of chile de arbol as well.)
  5. Serve beef with salsa verde and warm tortillas. Add choice of topping such as fresh chile habanero, onions, cilantro, avocado, salsa and lime, if desired