Barbacoa Meat

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Traditionally a Sunday morning treat, but barbacoa is great any morning. Barbacoa can be for the more adventurous, but a real treat none-the-less. I do not recommend substituting the cheek meat with roast, it won’t taste right. Barbacoa has a certain gelatinous slide and tack that is the hallmark of the genre. Serve on tortillas with hot sauce and chopped cilantro.


  • 3 pounds beef cheek meat
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups water, or more as needed
  • ½ yellow onion, halved and thickly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped


Coat beef cheek meat with olive oil. Rub salt, cumin, and pepper into meat. Wrap meat in aluminum foil and refrigerate, 4 hours to overnight.

Pour water into a slow cooker.

Arrange onion and garlic around beef cheek meat in the aluminum foil. Wrap foil tightly around meat and vegetables. Add a second sheet of aluminum foil around meat mixture, sealing tightly; place in the slow cooker.

Cook on Low, adding more water if it has evaporated, until meat is very tender, 7 to 8 hours. Remove foil packet from slow cooker and shred meat using 2 forks.

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cook time: 7 hrs
Total time: 11 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 12 – Yield: 12 servings



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