Traeger Beef Cheeks with Red Wine Sauce – Recipe and Cooking Guide

Hey Smokers, and welcome to my post where we will run through my Traeger Beef Cheeks recipe and cooking guide. As you may or may not know, this site is all about cooking on my Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Smoker and seeing where we can take things. And today, I am going to have a play with a recipe we use on our slow cooker a lot – beef cheeks and red wine sauce.

Traeger Beef Cheeks with Red Wine Sauce - header

Now, this is a recipe we do a lot – especially in winter when we can simply dump all of the ingredients into the slow cooker in the mornings and come home to the resulting melted beef in a sea of tomatoey goodness.

And part of the reason we like the slow cooker method – apart from how good it is – is that there is no prep. We just drop it all in and let it run.

So today, I want to see if I can do two things:

  1. Get the same results on a smoker, and
  2. Determine whether the tastes that I am hoping the smoker will add make it worth the extra work

Let’s get started!

Traeger Beef Cheeks: What You’ll Need

Ok, so below is what I used to cook me some beef cheeks with red wine sauce on the smoker:



  • 2-3 beef cheeks (about 1-1.5 kg total)
  • Salt and pepper, to brine

Note: as I am adding the red wine sauce to it, I am not using a rub. I have seen quite a few good ones however so I will of course try that another time.

Traeger Beef Cheeks with Red Wine Sauce - beef cheeks on board

Red Wine Sauce

As mentioned briefly above, I do not do anything with this sauce apart from ‘chucking’ it all into the pot with the beef. These ingredients include:

  • 1 Cup red wine
  • 1 – 2 Cups of Passata
  • 1-2 Cups of Beef Stock
  • A shake of chili powder and smoked paprika
  • 1 large tablespoon of crushed garlic (you know, jar garlic)
  • Dried mixed herbs if I remember (annnd I forgot this time haha)


  • Pellet smoker (I used mesquite pellets)
  • Aluminum tray
  • Aluminum foil
  • Meat thermometer

Check out my: Traeger Beef Short Ribs – Recipe and Cooking Guide

The Cooking Process

This is what I did and when:

1. Prepare the Beef Cheeks

  • Trim any excess fat or silver skin (membrane) from the beef cheeks as this will help the rub allow the smoke to penetrate the meat.
  • Season generously with salt and pepper and leave for as long as you can – I left mine in the fridge overnight.

Note: you can of course add anything else you like such as a rub or herbs as you see fit. And if you are not able to leave the meat with the salt and pepper overnight, then maybe add some olive oil or Worcestershire sauce first as well.

2. Preheat the Pellet Smoker

  • Preheat your pellet smoker to 275°F (135°C) or whatever temperature you want to smoke it on i.e. lower for longer or a little higher for a particularly large cheek

For larger pieces, you might want to add a pan with some water under the grill to maintain moisture as well!

3. Smoke the Beef Cheeks

  • Place the beef cheeks directly on the grill grates of the smoker. Close the lid and smoke for about 2 to 3 hours. Or if you are working to temp, look for an internal temperature of around 160°F (71°C).

I took mine off at around 2.5 hours with a temp of 82°C with a nice bark formed on the top as well – something you definitely don’t get with the slow cooker.

4. Sauce it up

Ok, so this is where my personal recipe comes in:

  • Grab and aluminum tray and add all of the sauce ingredients above then give it all a quick swirl with a spoon.
  • Remove the beef cheeks from the smoker and place them in the sauce mixture.
  • Wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil and them return them to the smoker.
  • Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 200-205°F (93-96°C), which could take another 2 to 3 hours.

It took around 3 hours to reach the internal temp.

5. Rest the Meat

  • Once done, remove the beef cheeks from the smoker and let them rest, still wrapped, for at least 30 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it even more tender.

6. Serve

  • Unwrap the beef cheeks and shred into the sauce. Serve hot with your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes, coleslaw or roasted vegetables.
Traeger Beef Cheeks with Red Wine Sauce - finished beef cheeks

My Results

Cook this, cook this NOW. The extra flavor that the meat put into the sauce as a result of the smoking process blew my mind. The sauce doesn’t thicken as much in this method as it does in the slow cooker but I think that may be due to the slightly higher temps that they work at (low temp in a slow cooker is usually around 160°C/320°F so that could be the cause there).

For me, whilst it is obviously a little more work than just jamming it all into the slow cooker in terms of meat prep (I never used to bother removing fat caps or membranes etc.) and having to wrap etc. – not to mention the whole pellet smoker thing – it is so worth it in terms of the extra layer of flavor that the smoking guves a beef cheek.

So, ay the end of the day, it was something I really enjoyed learning about and something I highly recommend you try. Now of course I will have to try it without the sauce now as well!


  • Keep the smoker’s lid closed as much as possible to maintain a consistent temperature.
  • Beef cheeks are rich in connective tissue, which breaks down during the long, slow cooking process, so don’t panic if the cook takes a little longer than the times mentioned above.


So there you have it, my recipe and cooking guide for some Traeger Beef Cheeks with a Red Wine Sauce. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below. I would also love to hear of your own experiences, preferences or suggestions here as well.

Are there any other products you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.

Until next time

Have fun and get smoking!


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