Chuck roast. Pulled Beef. It’s gotta be one of the unsung heroes of the barbecue world. Often overlooked and forgotten about. More than likely, you aren’t going to find it on the menu at a barbecue joint with its better known cuts like brisket, pulled pork and ribs. I can almost picture Rodney Dangerfield doing a bit about it. “No respect, not respect at all, I tell ya.” But I’m just as guilty about it as the next guy. I had to go back and look to see when the last time I smoked one was…January 31, 2011!! Wow…that was awhile back.
You maybe more familiar with this cut cooked and prepared as a pot roast, more than likely in a crock pot with carrots and onions and potatoes, often with a gravy. When smoked low and slow over a fire, however, this is one amazing cut of beef. It is fall apart goodness with that sublime smokey taste. Mmm…I can taste it right now as I write about it.
What is a chuck roast and where does it come from? The chuck roast (some times called chuck pot roast, or pot roast) comes from the shoulder of a cow. It does contain lots of marbling and fat, but that’s what makes is so great. When cooked low and slow, it is very similar to the cut from a pig called pork butt used to make pulled pork. So similar in fact, that when smoked, it is often used to make pulled beef sandwiches.
That’s not what we were shooting for, however. While pulled beef sandwiches are good, we were aiming for something else. It’s no secret that Mrs. G
likes loves tacos. I mean LOVES them! So I decided to take a turn back to our South Texas roots and make some pulled beef tacos. Happy Wife, Happy Life. Plus…I kinda like tacos, too. ;)
- chuck roast
- canola oil
- Fajita seasoning or Mexican seasoning (I used Bolner’s Fiesta brand of fajita seasoning)
- Pico de Gallo
- cheese (we used Queso Fresco, but whatever cheese you prefer)
- tortillas, corn or flour
- Set up your smoker for 250F. Choose your woodchips. Since beef can handle heavier smoke, I opted for a mix of mesquite and hickory.
- While your smoker is coming up to temperature, rub your meat with canola oil and liberally apply your spices.
- Place meat on smoker.
- When meat reaches 165F, wrap your chuck roast in Heavy Duty Aluminum foil. Use two or three sheets so you get a good seal and don’t lose any precious juices. (My two chuck roasts weighed about 4 lbs and took about 6 hours to reach 165)
- When the chuck reaches about 205-210, remove it from the grill. (Mine hit 210 at the 8.5 hour mark, and no, it was not dried out)
- Allow meat to rest 30 minutes before shredding. If your meat is done early, you can always employ the FTC trick. This stands for Foil, Towels, Cooler. Your meat is already foiled, so line a small cooler with towels (you might want to use old towels so your wife won’t get mad, but make sure they are clean), place your meat on the towels, cover with more towels and close the lid. Using this trick, you can hold the chuck (or a brisket or pork butt) for up to 4 hours safely and it will still be piping hot. I held mine for 2.5 hours Saturday night and it was still too hot to handle even wearing nitrile gloves.
- After shredding meat (and discarding any fat), sprinkle some more seasoning on the beef, pile on tortillas and top with Pico de Gallo, top with cheese and enjoy.
Look how tender and juicy that beef is. Literally fell apart when I lightly pushed down on it with my hand. Makes your mouth water doesn’t it?
We served up the beef on some warmed up corn tortillas, pico de gallo, queso fresco and some lime to sprinkle on top. We also made some chips and queso and a batch of boracho beans.
Just writing about it is making me hungry again.
That’s about 8 lbs (pre-cooked) of shredded beef!! That’ll make a lot of tacos. And a lot of leftovers. Why did I do 8 lbs, you may ask? Well, if you are already firing up the grill and investing over 8 hours into smoking a chuck, why not do 2? It doesn’t take any extra time or charcoal or effort. I’ll be pulling out the Foodsaver this evening and dividing it out into smaller portions and freezing them for down the road when I get a craving and don’t have the time to smoke one. What should I do with those leftovers? Maybe toss some in an omelette? Or some stir fry? Maybe eggrolls? Definitely see some nachos in my future. Hmm…enchiladas?
Next time you are in the mood for some pulled pork, stop for a second, and consider doing pulled beef instead. Who knows….you may just like it better.