Pulled Beef Tacos


Pulled beef Tacos with Home-made Pico de Gallo
Pulled beef Tacos with Home-made Pico de Gallo

     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.

Two Boneless Beef Chuck Pot Roasts
Two Boneless Beef Chuck Roasts

      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.

On To The Egg at 250F With Hickory and Mesquite For Smoke
On To The Egg at 250F With Hickory and Mesquite For Smoke

     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
Two and half hours in
Two and half hours in


  1. Set up your smoker for 250F. Choose your woodchips. Since beef can handle heavier smoke, I opted for a mix of mesquite and hickory.
  2. While your smoker is coming up to temperature, rub your meat with canola oil and liberally apply your spices.
  3. Place meat on smoker.
  4. 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)
  5. 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)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
The slightest pressure and it literally apart.
The slightest pressure and it literally apart.

     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?

Pulled beef tacos, home-made pico de gallo and a side of chips and queso.
Pulled beef tacos, home-made pico de gallo and a side of chips and queso.

     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.

Mmmm...I can still taste it.
Mmmm…I can still taste it.

Just writing about it is making me hungry again.

All shredded
All shredded up

     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.


21 thoughts on “Pulled Beef Tacos

  1. I shouldn’t be drooling over this at 10am! Oh my gosh, it looks amazing. How can I be wanting tacos this early? I gotta go buy me a chuck roast. 🙂

    1. I wish I would have brought some for lunch today. Try it. You may like it more than…gasp…pulled pork, and I know how you feel about pulled pork in your neck of the woods. 😉

  2. You, my friend, have made a gringo’s version of barbacoa. And it looks divine! I haven’t smoked a chuck roast in a few years, but I think I’ll be getting rid of some pecan wood this weekend. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. jason can I use rump roast insted or chuck for the tacos, our local store has choice rump for 2.99 #. The chuck is 5.00 to 5.50 around here. Thanks

    1. Sorry for the delay, Joe. Didn’t check the site yesterday. I will preface this by saying that I have never used a rump roast. That being said, I looked around the internet and it looks like people sub chuck and rump for pot roasts all the time and it works out. Both benefit my a long, moist cooking environment (wrapped in foil part), so I think it will work. Rump is a bit leaner than chuck, however, so there won’t be as much fat. You might want to have a can of beef broth on hand just in case. If it turns out dry, simmer the beef broth, maybe flavor it a bit with cumin, mexican spices or fajita spices and add some to the meat. Should work, but I’m not a 100% sure.

      1. Thanks for getting back to me Jason. I’ll give it a go this weekend. This is the first time going right to the source, it’s great. Thanks agsin, I post now and then on the fourm under Ellis

  4. Hi Jason, it was great, made it saturday I even made the Pico de Gallo to go with. I going to try the 1770 House Meatloaf tonight. I have made the meatloaf that Onlikearock posted back in june from the fourm. That was at 260 degrees for about 4 hr. to a internal of 160. ? Have you done the 1770, lower & slower to pick up a little more of the smoke. Thanks

    1. No. I find that the ground beef from the meatloaf will absorb the smoke like a sponge. Really easy to oversmoke it, IMHO. I don’t see how it would really benefit from a low and slow.

  5. I tried this Saturday, I had two chuck roast, low and slow for 6 hours, wrapped in aluminum foil for a couple of hours hit the final temperature and then wrapped in a beach towel and into a cooler. Neighbors came over and after a few one to many adult beverages it was to late or I was to tired to pull. Into the refrigerator and I think here in lies my problem. I should have pulled the beef than refrigerated. I struggled Sunday night bringing one of the roast back up to the moist tenderness that I had when I brought them off the grill. The beef tasted good, had a good smoke but did not pull easily. I still have one more roast in the frig any ideas how I can save the last one?

    1. Not real sure. I’ve always pulled them before refrigerating. I’m kinda leaning towards warming it up in a crockpot or wrapped in foil in an oven set on low.

      1. Excellent feedback, low and slow on the crockpot. It will be in my vessel tomorrow. At this point I will probably add some sauce and call it a day. Good sauce can hide any of our sins.

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