Learn how to smoke pulled beef and make chuck roast tacos that are tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor for a meal you'll remember.
Note: The Gateway drum smoker is used in this recipe, but we carry and recommend the Cotton Gin Harvester premium drum smoker. These instructions should work for either smoker with minimal adjustments.
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Firing the Drum Smoker
To cook the chuck roasts, I'm using Chef's Select 100% hardwood charcoal briquettes. I filled the basket about 1/3 of the way (I'm guessing 8–10 pounds), and it was plenty to accommodate the time and temperature for this cook. My target temperature was 275 degrees F for the first phase of the cook, then 350 degrees for the second part.
Steps for Firing the Gateway
The Gateway drum smoker holds a steady temperature if you keep the lid shut. If you open the lid for more than a few minutes, the temperature can spike 50 degrees or even more. When this happens it will take a while for it to drop again, so it's a lot easier to work your way up than to lower the temperature.
Lighting the fire starters
Waiting for the charcoal to light
Diffuser plate in place
Reasons to Consider a Drum Smoker:
Preparing the Meat
When shopping for meat, keep in mind that the best ones have marbling throughout the roast. I found some nice chuck roasts from Sam's Club and the ones I picked out were an average of about 2 pounds each.
Simply unwrap the meat and season the entire surface with your favorite beef seasoning. I used Lane's Brisket Rub.
Packs of two chuck roasts from Sam's Club
Gateway coming up to temperature
One of my favorite beef rubs
Seasoning the meat
Smoking the Chuck Roasts
To make pulled beef from the chuck roasts, we're going to smoke them for a while, then finish them in a covered pan with beef broth to tenderize them the rest of the way.
Once the smoker is ready, set the meat on the grate and cook them at 275 degrees until they develop a nice color and reach at least 160 degrees. I moved these to a pan after a couple of hours in the smoke, then cooked them another 4 hours.
Roasts in the smoker
Closing the smoker
Ready to wrap
A hand-held instant read thermometer is essential for cooking outdoors. We carry a full line of high quality thermometers from Thermoworks.
Braising the Chuck Roasts
Transfer the roasts to a pan and add a quart of beef broth, chopped onion (1 small onion), and chopped garlic (3 cloves). Cover the pan with foil, set the meat back in the smoker, and adjust the vents to raise the temperature to 350 degrees.
Broth and chopped garlic
Back on smoker
My sweet little drum smoker
The smoker has two vents for bottom intake and a stack in the lid
Pulling the Beef
Once the beef is probe tender, it should be ready to pull (200 degrees internal temperature or higher).
Bears Paws make it easy to pull beef roasts. If you have a set of Bear Paws, I would recommend pulling it while it's still just a little bit "tight" in some parts to avoid drying out the meat. You can test it in the pan if you don't poke a hole into the pan.
Mix the pulled beef with the juices and transfer it to a bowl for serving.
Getting close to ready
By the time it was ready to pull, I had already pulled some of it to see if it was tender.
Beautiful, tender, and juicy pulled beef
Pulling the beef with Bear Paws
The pulled beef was very juicy and tender!
Great for pulling beef, moving hot roasts, and more.
Making the Tacos
This is where it gets really personal. There are dozens of awesome ways to build beef tacos, so feel free to use whatever you like. Our family enjoys eating them with chopped lettuce and onion, diced tomato, shredded cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.
Tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor
Time to eat!
Tacos are fun because you can design them to fit your tastes.
What do you think?
Reasons to Consider a Drum Smoker:
Chuck Roast Tacos
- Drum Smoker
- Bear Paws
- Disposable Full Size Pan
- Aluminum Foil
- Chuck roasts 2-pound
- Lane's Brisket Rub
- 32 ounces beef broth
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1.5 teaspoons garlic chopped
- Fire the smoker at 275 degrees.
- Season the roasts with Lane's Brisket Rub.
- Cook the roasts for 2 hours in the smoke.
- Move the roasts to a full size pan with the broth, onion, and garlic.
- Cover the pan and set it in the smoker.
- Adjust the smoker to 350 degrees and cook the meat until it's ready to pull (additional 4 hours or more).
- Mix the meat with the juices and build the taco of your dreams.
About the author: Lavern Gingerich is a writer and the digital marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply.