Smoked Shredded Beef Tacos
These amazing shredded beef tacos are made with smoked chuck roast. It is a fun way to elevate a basic chuck roast and turn it into the most decadent shredded beef tacos. You need a pellet smoker, a little patience, and a chuck roast for this delightful meal.
Chuck roast is amazing for Instant Pot Mississippi Roast or Braised Tomato Chuck Roast but have you tried it for tacos??? I mean, who doesn’t love tacos? But while 30 Minute Ground Beef Tacos are amazing and worth it, using a chuck roast is such a fun way to switch up your taco game, and make Taco Tuesday even better.
Chuck roast is loaded with connective tissue, which is why it is usually used for sunday dinner roasts, and slow braised recipes. As it cooks low and slow, that connective tissue melts, self basting the roast, and leaving you with totally tender and flavorful meat. Why wouldn’t you want that for tacos?
What You Need to Make Shredded Beef Tacos
Intro to what you need with focus on it is eazy peazy and ingredients are easy to find
- 3-4 pound Chuck Roast (bone in or out, it works both ways) A 3 to 4-pound chuck roast will take around 7-8 hours to smoke on a Traeger at 250°F and will feed about 7-9 people.
- 3-4 Tablespoons Seasoning Rub. I like to make my own (recipe included), but you can use your favorite savory rub.
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil: this will help the seasoning stick to the roast.
- A Pellet Smoker: I love Traeger
- Pellets: Pecan, apple, beech, alder, and cherry all give great results on smoked chuck roast.
- Meat Thermometer: Thermapen One is my go to!
How to Make this Shredded Beef Recipe for Tacos
Making this recipe is fairly simple, with just 3 easy steps, but does take some patience, as you are taking a cheap cut of meat, and getting tender, delicious results, which takes time. here is the basics:
- The first part is preparing and seasoning the chuck roast.
- The second part is setting up and smoking the meat on the Traeger
- The final part is resting, and then pulling or shredding it and assembling it into tacos!
Step One: Prep the Roast
You want to start by bringing the roast to room temp. I like to do this by simply leaving it out on the counter for about an hour before cooking.
You also want to trim any excess fat off of it. Especially if it has a fat cap. It’s ok to leave some fat in place as this will add flavor, baste as it cooks, and give you a more tender roast, but ideally you want to trim it down to no more than about 1/4 inch of thickness.
Then if there is still a good amount of fat, score through the fat cap with a good knife with perpendicular slits, this will help the fat render out during the smoking process.
Once you have done all of this, use a brush to brush a light coating of olive oil all over the roast, and evenly distribute the seasoning mixture across it. This is key to a good flavor when shredded, as you want each part to have flavor!
Step Two: Prep The Smoker
You want to clean your smoker, fill it with pellets, and light it so it can pre-heat. I like using fruit tree pellets. Like apple or cherry. They pair well with this particular recipe, and produce a less strong flavor than a mesquite or hickory.
Set your temperature, open the lid, and ignite your smoker. Once your smoker is loaded, and ignited, watch for smoke to be coming out, then close the lid, and allow it at least 10-15 minutes to preheat.
In the meantime, make sure you’ve got the drip pan in place, a grease bucket hanging, and the grates clean so you don’t transfer flavor from past cooks onto this one. I like using a good grill brush to clean off any leftover stuck on food.
When the pellet grill comes up to temperature, and is fully preheated, place the chuck roast directly on the grates.
Step Three: Cook Your Chuck Roast
Your roast should be on the pellet grill, and ready to go. Use a meat probe or thermometer to track the progress of the cook.
Because you are using a larger piece of meat, plan on 6-9 hours for the chuck roast to cook enough to be super tender and ready to pull apart for tacos. While the meat will be done at a lower temperature, in order to get that super tender, pull apart quality, you need to cook it long enough for the connective tissue to break down. This means it really needs to get to around 200 degrees F. The best range is between 197 degrees and 203 degrees. My preferred temp is about 202-203 degrees F for the best results.
So be patient and use a thermometer to insure you get the perfect cook.
Step Four: Prep The Rest of the Ingredients
When you pull your roast off the grill, you still aren’t quite ready to serve. You need to give it at least 20-30 minutes of rest time to get that tender juicy result. So, during this time, start to gather and prep your other ingredients for the tacos. I like to heat/char my corn tortillas, mix together my salsas and guacamole, finely shred some cabbage, and chop up tomatoes, limes, etc. for topping my tacos.
Step Five: Assemble and Enjoy
Once the rest time is up, shred your chuck roast into taco meat, and enjoy. You can toss in a little salsa, or more seasoning rub for added flavor if desired. Then simply assemble your tacos with whatever fixings you like best, and enjoy!
This recipe is so perfect for Taco Tuesday, or a dinner for a crowd, and I love pairing it with:
Tips and Tricks for the BEST Taco Meat
Making this recipe is Eazy Peazy, but here are a few tips for getting the best results every time:
Bring Meat to Room Temp: because a chuck roast is a large piece of meat, you want to give it a chance to come to room temp so the internal and external temps are the same. This will help it have a more even cook, and produce better results. To achieve this, set your chuck roast on the counter for about an hour before your cook.
Evenly Distribute Rub Mixture: Because you have the plan to shred the meat at the end of the cook, you want to make sure all of the exterior has seasoning so each shredded piece has seasoning on it. The olive oil will act as a glue to hold your spice rub in place. So just evenly distribute it.
Pre-heat Smoker: Just like you would an oven, you want to preheat your smoker for at least 15 minutes. This will allow the temperature to regulate, and produce better, more even, cooking results because the grill will be hot when you put the roast in.
Use Thermometer: The only way to get the most tender and juicy chuck roast tacos is to use a meat thermometer. I used a meat probe the MEATER, to monitor during the cook and get a good idea of when it was close. And I used the Thermapen One, an instant read thermometer, to allows me to measure the doneness and temp of the various parts of the roast, so I do not overcook any of it. This means perfect results every time and is my #1 cooking tip. Get a good kitchen instant read thermometer (Thermoworks brand is the best), to insure perfect results.
Patience: These tacos are insanely delicious. And when cooked right, the meat is juicy and tender and basically melts in your mouth. Which is awesome since the chuck roast is a cheaper cut of meat. But the only way to achieve this is time and heat. So plan for 7-9 hours, possibly more (or less) depending on the roast and the smoker.
Rest Your Beef: The rest period is the hardest part because you want to dig in, but it is crucial to good results. Allow your beef roast to rest once it is removed from the heat before shredding it for tacos. The larger the roast, the longer the rest, so plan on about 30 minutes rest time to allow the juices to redistribute, and give you the best results possible.
Make Ahead and Storage
You can season your meat ahead of time, and wrap it in plastic wrap in the fridge. Just be sure to let it come to room temp before cooking.
You can also pre-cook the roast, as it can take a whole day, and sometimes it hits a stall, or takes longer than expected, it can be good to cook in advance. Simply cook as directed, shred, and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Before serving, add a little beef stock to a pot or roasting pan, and reheat with liquid so as not to dry it out.
Then make into tacos and serve.
This meat can also be frozen for up to 2 months in an air tight container. To use, just thaw completely, and reheat with a little beef stock.
Other Great Recipes:
- Grilled Fish Tacos
- Shredded Pork Mole Tacos
- Baked Chicken Tacos
- 30 Minute Ground Beef Tacos
- Tacos Al Pastor
- Mexican Rice
- Creamy Tomatillo Buttermilk Ranch
Smoked Shredded Beef Tacos
- 3 pound Chuck Roast trimmed
- 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- Corn Tortillas
- Salsa or Pico de Gallo
- Sour Cream
- Prep Chuck Roast: Bring your roast up to room temperature by allowing it to sit on the counter for an hour before cooking it, trim fat if there is an excess, most will render during cook, but if it more than 1/4 inch thick, trim it to help it cook faster.
- Season Chuck Roast: In a small bowl mix together spice rub ingredients, then using a brush, brush olive oil over the surface of the chuck roast, and evenly coat with the spice rub.
- Prepare Pellet Smoker: Set your smoker temp to 250 degrees F. And turn it on. Leave lid open when igniting. Once smoke is coming out of the smoker, close the lid, and allow to preheat for a minimum of 15 minutes.
- Cook Chuck Roast: Place chuck roast directly on the grates, and insert a probe or thermometer into the thickest part so you can monitor the cook progress. Depending on the size of the chuck roast, it will take about 7-9 hours to fully cook. This time will vary based on outdoor temperature, consistency of heat with your smoker, humidity, the fat content of the chuck you purchased, as well as whether or not is is bone-in or boneless. So keep an eye on it, and use a thermometer. Cook until it reaches an internal temperature between 197 degrees F and 203 degrees F. If you pull it off sooner it will not be nearly as tender.
- Rest the Roast: Once your chuck roast reaches temp, double check it with an instant read thermometer, like the Thermapen One, and then remove from the grill. Let it rest in a foil pan, tented with foil for 20-30 minutes to allow juices to redistribute, and the meat to become fully tender.
- Prepare Other Ingredients: While your roast rests, it is time to prep the other ingredients for your tacos. Char your tortillas, mix up your crema, guac, salsa, etc, and any of the other toppings you want for your chuck roast tacos.
- Shred the Chuck: Once you have rested the meat, it is time to shred. If you bought a bone in roast, remove the bone and use forks, or shredding claws to shred the meat. It should be tender and easy to shred.
- Assemble Tacos: Assemble with some of the shredded chuck roast, and whatever toppings you like best. Enjoy!
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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