Ever since the first time I made the mango salsa featured in this recipe I knew it was destined for great things. I tried it originally in a prawn taco, and then as a side... but it wasn't until a few weeks ago at a cook up that it got paired with smoked beef cheeks to make my favorite taco to date!

The Beef:

These were 3 beef cheeks, with little trimming need, and weighing about 450g each. Basically I just took the silver skin off, left some of the fat on, and seasoned them up with an awesome little mixture of Lane's BBQ Australia Ancho Espresso and Honey Sriracha rubs.

The Smoke:

I preheated my Kamado Joe Big Joe to around 250f temp, and loaded in some charcoal along with some Black Wattle wood chunks from Natural Smoke BBQ Woods. Black wattle is an acacia with a good density, solid grain and great flavor that is strong but not overpowering and really nice for Beef.

The Boat:

After about 4 hours of smoke on these cheeks, they hit 165f internal temp and then I boated them in some beef stock to keep them juicy and speed up the cooking process. They went into a foil tray with a foil cover with what was approx 2 cups of beef stock. Once they hit around 210f internal and probed like butter, it was around 2 hours, later so they came out and were wrapped in foil to rest until just before serving.

The Salsa:

Ingredients are as follows;

- 2 ripe mango's

- 1 red capsicum

- 1 green chili

- 1 red onion

- 1 lime

- bunch of coriander

- pinch of salt

Finely dice the red onion and capsicum, then the mango, remove the membrane and seeds from the chili and do the same. I find it really easy to just 'hedgehog' the mango and to use a knife to just cut the chunks straight off the skin, but some folks will peel it and then dice. Juice the lime and add it to the mango, onion, chili and capsicum, combine. Finely chop the coriander until you have about 1/4 of a cup, then add to the mixture. Keep adding more coriander if needed and salt to taste. Give it a good 10 minutes and up to a few hours in the fridge for the flavor to develop.

The Pull: 

So about 10 minutes before serving, while your tortillas heat up, take the beef cheeks out of their foil and using gloved hands, simply pull them apart into desired sized pieces. At this point I added around 100ml of Lane's Kinda Sweet BBQ sauce, but any BBQ sauce will do, just to get it nice and sticky.

The Taco:

I like to use soft flour tortillas. You will need:

- around 1 dozen soft tacos

- small amount of grated Parmesan

- your mango salsa

- your around 1kg of beef cheeks

I like to get a pre-heated taco, layer the beef on first, sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan, and then top with the mango salsa...

Savory flavors from the beef cheeks, combined with the sweetness of the mango salsa will blow your mind... I like to add some Parmesan in there as it adds an umami element, and a creaminess, and something sharp and undeniable, but you can use whatever you like!

Tom Damin - Smoky Pastures BBQ Team

Beef Cheeks (boat)The Salsa