South Texas barbacoa | Homesick Texan

South Texas barbacoa

Servings 4
Author Lisa Fain


  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 pounds beef cheeks, chuck roast, or point end of the brisket
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Flour tortillas, for serving,
  • Pico de gallo, for serving
  • Salsa verde, for serving


  1. If using an oven, preheat to 350°F.
  2. Stir together the salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic, and cayenne. Generously season the meat and then if using an oven, wrap tightly in banana leaves or foil. Place the wrapped meat on a sheet pan and bake for 5 hours.
  3. If using a slow cooker, don’t wrap the meat and instead just place it dry, with no liquid, in the slow cooker and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours.

  4. After the meat has cooked, allow it to rest and cool for 30 minutes before either unwrapping or removing from the slow cooker. Once it’s cooled, strain and remove some of the fat to your preference.
  5. Squirt the meat with lime juice then taste and adjust seasonings. I usually add a generous sprinkle of more smoked paprika, for instance.

  6. Shred the meat and then serve with warm tortillas, pico de gallo, and salsa verde.

Recipe Notes

You can find beef cheeks at most Mexican markets and in Texas, also at HEB. Banana leaves can often be found at these stores, too, though sometimes they may be in the freezer section.