Recipes / Pork Cheek Barbacoa

Pork Cheek Barbacoa

Pork Cheek

Mar 23, 21

Pork Cheek Barbacoa

Pork Cheek Barbacoa

Cook Time: 3-4 HRS
Print Recipe
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A twist on the LeRoy and Lewis classic dish. Barbacoa is traditionally made with beed cheeks, and today I try pork cheeks and it turned out to be fan-taste-tic!


For the Pork Cheeks:

  • Pork cheeks
  • 16 mesh black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Pork fat (for confit)

For the Tacos:

  • Tortillas (or beef fat tortillas)
  • Dice white onion
  • Creamy avocado sauce
  • Queso fresco
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Hot sauce


Start by trimming off any membranes or excess fat from the pork cheeks. Season the cheeks with a mixture of 2 parts 16 mesh black pepper to 1 part kosher salt, ensuring a heavy coating on all sides of the cheeks.

Fire up your smoker to a temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius).

Smoke the Pork Cheeks:

Place the seasoned pork cheeks on the smoker grates and let them cook for the next 3 hours. This will create a nice bark on the surface of the cheeks, adding flavor and texture.

Confit the Pork Cheeks:

After the pork cheeks have developed a nice bark, remove them from the smoker and transfer them to a shallow pan. Submerge the pork cheeks in pork fat, ensuring they are fully covered.

Slow Cook Overnight:

Cover the pan with foil and transfer it to the oven set at 170 degrees Fahrenheit (77 degrees Celsius). Let the pork cheeks cook slowly in the pork fat overnight, allowing them to become tender and succulent.

Cool and Shred:

The next day, remove the pork cheeks from the oven. Let them cool slightly and then shred the cheeks with your fingers to create pulled pork cheek barbacoa.

Assemble the Tacos:

Heat some tortillas (or go watch my “How to make Beef Fat Tortillas” video) Fill each tortilla with a generous portion of the shredded pork cheek barbacoa.

Top the tacos with sliced onions, a drizzle of creamy avocado sauce, crumbled queso fresco, and fresh cilantro leaves. Spice it up with a little hot sauce if desired.

Note: Feel free to adjust the toppings and add any additional ingredients you prefer to customize the tacos to your taste. Enjoy these mouthwatering pork cheek barbacoa tacos as a delicious and satisfying meal!

Brad author info

Hi, I'm Brad

"My goal is to provide recipes meant for the backyard, but using skills I've learned with my years cooking professionally. Go cook something outside!"

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