Barbacoa de cachete, beef cheek meat perfectly steamed. Some of the best beef tacos you will experience! This is the last sponsored 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! 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.
- 2 1/2 pounds Rumba® Meats beef cheek meat
- Salt to taste
- Foil paper
- Steamer pot
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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!
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.
Tips~ For an extra spicy and smoky version of this salsa, do not add any chile verde, onion or cilantro. This is all tomatillos with about 20 chile de arbol blended.
7-8 tomatillos, washed
4 serranos or jalapeños
handful of chile de arbol, stems removed(about 10 chiles)
1/4 white onion
Salt to taste
Transfer tomatillos, chiles and onion to a pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 7-10 minutes, making sure the tomatillos do not tear open. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked ingredients to the blender. Season with salt to taste and pulse to blend until smooth.
Variations: For a smoky red spicy version of this salsa, add 4 chile guajillo instead of the chile verde before cooking. Add double the amount of chile de arbol as well. You could also add in some chopped cilantro and diced onion on top before serving.
They say that a taco is only as good as the salsa running down your arm!! Ha! Ha! Ha! So true!
When I purchase Roma or plum tomatoes for my pico de gallo, I look for the really firm ones. Some are still even partially green. They are just perfect for fresh, chunky salsa recipes. Type in pico de gallo into search bar to find full recipe.
For tacos, in our house, it was strictly corn tortillas. If you are lucky enough to live in a city where the markets prepare corn tortillas on site, those are perfect for this recipe!
Must haves, fresh chile habandero garnish, onions, cilantro, avocado, salsa and lime!
These taqueria-style tacos are easy to prepare at home. I learned this from my sister-in-law, Norma, who used to own a taco business. Homemade corn tortillas work best for this preparation. Brush the tortillas with some of the rendered fat from cooking the beef. Cook on preheated comal(griddle). When soft and ready to turn, brush some spicy salsa on tortillas. Flip and cook for just a few seconds more. Most times, I brush both sides with salsa. Really, really tasty!
I dream about these tortas!!! Fresh bolillo-style bread, refried beans, beef barbacoa, salsa verde, queso fresco, cilantro, avocado, tomato, onion and fresh chiles.
Toasted Chile de Arbol Salsa. Click onto picture above to see full recipe on site.
Taqueria-Style Salsa. Click onto picture above to see full recipe on site.
Hi! Love following you on IG! Maybe I missed something, but what is the meat seasoned with? And is it seasoned before its wrapped? Thank you in advance.
Hi Tania! I am sorry about that. I listed just salt, but did not add it to the directions. I fixed it. It’s just salt to taste. Thanks for following along!
My husbands father was from Monterrey. I am looking forward to your recipe, I have only made barbacoa in a crock pot but was looking to see if there was a better way to cook the meat without it boiling in fat. Thanks
Hi Noreen! That is a great question! My parents actually had a small Mexican restaurant and they use to use their big steamer pot to cook the barbacoa. I have tried this on a smaller scale at home. I wrap the beef cheek barbacoa, that I previously trimmed the fat from, in foil. Then I cook it in my large steamer pot. It’s takes a while but as it cooks all the fat runs down into the water. I do make sure to trim it really well though.
I have always made in a crockpot but this method is sure worth a try! I love barbacoa on Sunday mornings before church. Our church cooks use this method for our annual fiesta. Thank you for sharing!
When my mom prepared cachete at home, it was in the crockpot as well. I do love the pressure cooker though because it’s so fast. But sometimes to be more traditional, I steam it.