Tunisian-Inspired Wagyu Beef Cheek Taco Recipe

Tunisian-Inspired Wagyu Beef Cheek Taco Recipe

By Andrea Alden

With great beef comes great possibilities. That’s how that saying goes isn’t it? Well, we do have some great beef, graciously provided by The Meatery. You need to try this Tunisian-Inspired Wagyu Beef Cheek Taco Recipe that will blow your mind and transport you with its North African inspired flavors. These wagyu beef cheeks are smoked and then braised with Tunisian spices for a fragrant feast that will delight the senses. Served atop warm tortillas and splashed with spicy sauces, these tacos are well worth the wait. Fill those tortillas with meat and sauce or add some zesty veggie salad on top, either way, you are going to love these Tunisian-inspired flavors.




  • 2 Wagyu Beef Cheeks 
  • 2 tbsp. (28 g) ras el hanout seasoning
  • 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1½ cups (355 ml) beef stock
  • 2 tbsp. harissa paste
  • Corn or flour tortillas

Tunisian Salad:

  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup (170 g) sheep’s milk feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup. (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. (5 g) sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Set up your Charcoal Kettle Grill by pouring a thin wall of unlit, premium chunk charcoal around the outside wall of the grill, half to three-quarters of the way around the BBQ. Place a number of wood chunks throughout. Light one-quarter of a load of charcoal using a chimney starter. Pour the lit charcoal next to one end of the unlit charcoal so that it will slowly ignite the unlit charcoal. Set the vents to preheat the barbecue to a temperature of 275°F (135°C). If you are using a gas barbecue, remove a set of cooking grids and light two of the burners, set to low, to create an indirect grilling area. When the barbecue is up to temperature and you are ready to cook, carefully place a filled smoker box or tray over one of the lit burners on the sear plates. 

Trim the wagyu beef cheeks as needed, if you have an excellent butcher, they will have taken care of the fat and connective tissues for you. Season the cheeks with ras el hanout on all sides.

Place the beef cheeks away from the fire and smoke them using indirect heat for about 2 hours. Pecan is nice and mild, or you can go more traditional Tunisian and use olive wood, however, what you have on hand will do nicely as well. While they’re smoking, roughly chop the onion and crush the garlic. Take some of the roughly chopped onion and slice it into smaller pieces. Set that aside for the salad.

In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Dice the tomato, cucumber, and green pepper. Pull about 1/3 of the green pepper and set aside. Combine the rest of the vegetables, including the onion set aside from earlier, then toss with the crumbled feta and dressing. Store in the fridge until needed. 

When the beef cheeks are nearly done smoking, fill the bottom of a cast iron frying pan with the chopped onion and the green pepper you set aside. Place the beef cheeks into the pan, nestled in with the onions and pepper, then pour over the beef stock. Cover with foil or a lid and place the beef cheeks back onto the barbecue over the coals this time. You may need to add more charcoal or push it into a pile carefully, to keep the temperature steady. Continue cooking for at least 2 hours or until the wagyu reaches an internal temperature of 205°F (96°C). 
Remove the beef cheeks from the barbecue and allow them to rest for at least 20 minutes. While they rest, warm the tortillas and pour the liquid and vegetables from cooking into a blender. Add the harissa paste. Starting slowly, blend the sauce until smooth. 

Shred the wagyu cheeks and serve them on tortillas with a drizzle of sauce and some of the salad on top or to the side. Don’t forget extra sauce for dipping too. If you want a little extra something, try adding some couscous flavored with saffron on the side.



  • 3 tsp SALT
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp. mace
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. cayenne
  • 2 tsp cardamom – toast
  • ½ tsp. anise seed – toast
  • ½ tsp, cloves - toast



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