Pulled pork is one of the best foods that I cook now and then, and it has the same concept as the best smoked and shredded beef tacos you will ever have at home.
Cooking at home is perhaps the best way to ensure that you have all the things you need and the ingredients you like.
It is so fun to do, and tacos are one of the easiest ones to do.
I mean, it does take some practice to perfect the recipe that you prefer, but you will get the hang of it sooner than you think.
Once you know the basics, you will be able to make different recipes.
You need to do some specific things for the beef to cook all the way through without drying it out. I say that is the biggest challenge that I have faced so far.
Not to worry you as we have listed down the major reasons why that keeps happening so you will know what to do when you encounter the same problem. So make sure to read to the end.
Here, we also have the best recipe that you can make at home to create the best tacos yourself.
You can enjoy making this recipe with the kids or with your friends when you have them over.
Smoked And Shredded Beef Tacos Recipe
- 3-pound chuck roast
- 1/2 cup of beef broth
- 2 tablespoons of paprika
- 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of black pepper
- Half tablespoon of cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
- Corn tortillas
- Fresh tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and other toppings that you want.
Step 1: Mix The Dry Rub
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl aside from the chuck roast, olive oil, and beef broth.
This will be your dry rub or main seasoning for the chuck roast before you begin to smoke the beef.
Step 2: Prepare And Season The Chuck Roast
Start by leaving the chuck roast in the refrigerator overnight to defrost it properly.
Once it is ready, bring it to the sink and rinse off any blood or liquid protein from the chuck roast.
Pat the meat dry with paper towels and then rub the chuck roast with olive oil.
Make sure to get it all over the chuck roast as this will be the adhesive agent for the dry rub when you apply it.
Apply the dry rub on the chuck roast and ensure that you get all sides of the roast.
Be generous with the rub as the cooking time will take quite a long time, so it might get removed.
Step 3: Prepare The Smoker
Load up your pellet or wood smoker with fuel and then start the fire.
Ensure that you have enough fuel as the smoking time will take longer, especially if you have a large chuck roast.
Get your meat probe ready as well to measure the internal temperature of the meat.
Set the temperature of the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and then close the lid for 15 minutes.
Step 4: Smoke The Chuck Roast
Once the smoker reaches the desired temperature, place the chuck roast directly in the smoker.
Close the lid and then let the chuck roast smoke in there with the meat probe inserted.
Insert the meat probe into the thickest part of the chuck roast and allow it to cook.
Once the meat probe reads 170 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the chuck roast from the smoker.
Place the chuck roast in an aluminum pan and then pour the broth on the pan.
Cover the chuck roast with aluminum foil and tightly lock it by folding it into the aluminum pan.
While doing this, set the smoker’s temperature to 250 degrees and then wait for it to reach that temperature.
This will be the final cooking temperature to cook the meat all the way through.
Step 5: Final Cooking
Place the aluminum pan in the smoker once it reaches the desired temperature.
Insert the meat probe into the thickest part of the chuck roast and then let it cook further.
Once the meat probe reads 205 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the chuck roast from the smoker.
The chuck roast is done, but it is not quite ready to be shredded just yet, so be patient with it.
Step 6: Resting And Serving
Once the chuck roast has the right internal temperature, place it in a cooler and then let it rest for an hour.
This will help the chuck roast cook further and become even more tender.
Now that the chuck roast has rested, bring out your fork or meat claws and then start pulling the meat.
Shred the pulled meat and then place it in the corn tortillas along with the other fillings.
I prefer shredding the meat by serving so that you can eat the shredded meat right away before it cools down.
That way, you will not eat greasy shredded meat that is tough and dry.
What Cut Of Beef Is Best For Shredding?
You would want something that has enough collagen so that the meat does not end up too dry. Collagen is part of the meat that melts or rather softens when you cook it on mild heat.
Since the meat is cooked by smoking or at slow and low temperatures, the collagen melts easily.
I prefer chuck roast when it comes to shredded beef as it has the best marbling.
It resembles the pork shoulder or pork butt as along with the chuck roast, they come from the same area of the cow. The difference is that the pork shoulder is leaner than the chuck roast.
Chuck roast has more fats and marbling, making it easier to cook without drying it out.
I am not saying that chuck roast does not dry up, but there are more instances where pork shoulder does.
If you cannot find chuck roast from the market, you can opt to get more available cuts such as brisket, flank steaks, and even skirt steaks as they are great for beef shredding.
At What Temperature Does Beef Shred
While the whole point of cooking beef is to cook it through, there are times when the cooked meat does not get as tender as you would want to shred the meat as easily as possible.
The usual internal temperature needed to consider the meat cooked is 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
That is good enough if you just want to have a slice of tender meat for dinner.
However, if you want the cut to be tender enough to be shredded, you need to surpass the 200-degree mark.
That is usually around 205 degrees Fahrenheit which is quite tough to attain.
That is why in the recipe above, I usually remove the meat at this temperature to make sure that it is tender enough. Some cuts might be tougher so always keep a meat probe on hand.
How Do You Shred Tough Beef?
Always look for the grain pattern.
This is one of the many reminders I have for myself when cooking this recipe, especially when it comes to tough cuts of hard to shred meat.
The meat should always have a pattern on the grain, which means certain paths where the muscle does not connect. Look for the grain and start shredding the meat.
I prefer using a fork and gloves as they give me more control.
Just hold the whole meat with one hand and then start shredding it with the fork by going along the meat’s grain.
You can use meat claws as they are also easy to manage.
I just got used to using a fork for this process, but anything will do as long as you follow the meat’s grain when shredding.
Why Is My Shredded Beef Dry?
The main reason why the shredded beef is dry is that you have not cooked it enough.
Collagen takes a long time to melt, so using a smoker can take even more time to cook it.
If you use slow and low temperature, just like how we did with the recipe above, the main challenge is that the meat will turn out dry as the fats inside the meat have not melted yet.
A large chunk roast would usually take around 1.5 hours to cook for each pound when you use 225 degrees Fahrenheit as the cooking temperature.
That is why you need time to finish this recipe.
Make sure that you always have a meat probe ready to measure the internal temperature.
Overcooking can also dry up the shredded beef, so make sure that you hit the right temperature.
Use brine as well to keep the outer part of the meat moist. This, in turn, will seep into the meat and make it moister hence the use of beef broth with the recipe.
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