Cinco de Mayo (5 May) is right around the corner. And what a better way to celebrate than to make some beef cheeks (barbacoa). Here is a recipe that is pretty easy to make, but it takes some time. Enjoy these. Cheers!

(Adapted from: The original recipe can be found at by aargersi. The photo is from Sarah Shatz)

The marinade turns into a thick, rich almost mole-like sauce … delicious!
Serves 6-8

Pickled Onions:
1 Red Onion
1 T Salt
2 T Sugar
1 Beet, cut into ¼
1 bunch Cilantro
⅓ c Water
⅔ c Cider Vinegar

Slice the onions very thinly and put them in a microwaveable container. Add the beet, cilantro, salt and sugar. Cover everything with the water/vinegar mix. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, and microwave for another minute. Cool, then refrigerate overnight. The beet will turn it a really pretty hot pink color.

Barbacoa Beef Cheeks:
2½ lbs Beef Cheeks
4 lg Garlic cloves
1 T unsweetened Cocoa powder
1 T Peanut Butter
1 Ancho Chili
1 t instant Espresso
2 T Olive Oil (plus 2 more for cooking)
1 T Honey
2 t Cumin
1 t smoked Sweet Paprika
1 bunch fresh Cilantro
1 t Salt
1 c Beef Stock
3 Limes
1 Avocado
Corn Tortillas
fresh Cilantro

Clean and trim the cheeks. Put them in a container that you can marinate them in.
Remove the stem and seeds from the ancho, cut it up into chunks and rehydrate in a little water (You can stick it in a ramekin and microwave for 30 seconds)

Peel and chop the garlic. Put everything from the garlic to the salt in the food processor (including the water from the chili) and blend into a paste. Toss the paste with the cheeks and marinate for several hours or better yet over night.

When it is time to cook, heat the oven to 275ºF, and heat 2 T olive oil in a Dutch oven. Brown the cheeks on both sides. Use the stock to rinse the rest of the marinade into the Dutch oven, then squeeze the juice of 3 limes in.

Bake at 275ºF for 3½ hours – turn the cheeks over once or twice while they cook and if the liquid dries up add a bit more stock.

When the cheeks are fall-apart tender, take the pan out of the oven. Using 2 forks, pull the meat apart in the pan so that it mixes in with all of that fatty juicy goodness.

To serve – heat 2 tortillas. Fill with barbacoa (beef cheeks), a slice of avocado, some of pickled onions and fresh cilantro. Serve and enjoy!!! Join us on Facebook in the group Here’sWhat’s Cookin!