Smoked barbacoa tacos is a great way to change up taco night. I wanted to get a really good flavor.
So instead of using my Traeger pellet grill, I opted for some real wood on my Weber Kettle using charcoal and wood chunks.
It’s got that real wood smokiness along with a barbacoa rub that is insanely good and a great way to spend a day if you’re into barbecue.
If you’re into smoked meat but don’t have a “stick-burner” but still want to get the feel for something a little more manual that an “easy-bake” pellet grill, I highly recommend trying this method on a traditional charcoal grill.
I’m using a Weber kettle with a Slow n’ Sear to hold my charcoal. What I like about this add-on for my Weber kettle, is that is holds more charcoal in a smaller area, plus there is a water insert that helps with humidity.
For the wood, I like to use a method that I learned from Harry Soo, where you bury your woodchunks into the coal. This allows the wood to smolder, rather than just ignite.
Smoldering wood gives your the smokey flavor that you want. If wood is on fire, the smoke that comes from it is dirty and will give you an undesirable smokey flavor.
It’s just my opinion, but I’ll take advice from a BBQ pit-master like Harry Soo any day!
To start the coal going, I used the snake method where you start with a few coals already smoldering, then place them next to unlit fuel. In this case its more charcoal and buried wood chunks.
I also recommend using a charcoal meant for long smokes. Kingsfords original blue or long burn is tried and true in my opinion.
When smoking on a Weber kettle, the key to getting your smoking temps set, is working your bottom and top vents. The bottom vent will be anywhere from the 2nd to third hole, while the top will be about a 1/3 to 1/4 open. One rule of thumb I’ve learned is about a pencil width on the top. You’ll be adjusting these throughout the smoke to maintain ambient temperature.
Why use ambient temperature instead of the thermometer on the top of your Weber kettle? Well, you’re going to want the vent on the top of the kettle on the opposite side of the heat source in order for the smoke to be force to run over your meat and not get stagnant.
This forces the thermometer over your heatsource making it about 200F above what the temperature by your meat will be.
I also can’t recommend enough the importance of a thermometer. You’ll want something like a Weber iGrill or any multi-probe that has a wireless feature (anything with an app is a plus). This will make monitoring the temps a lot easier and free up a little time so you’re not babysitting your grill all day. Just half the day!
When smoking, you don’t really want to see a heaping amount of smoke to come out of the vents at all times. A good flavored smoke is whispy, almost transparent with a blue tint to it.
However, I’ve seen arguments for white smoke smoking on a Weber kettle or Smokey Mountain. As long as the smoke wispy and not billowing, you should be fine in my opinion.
For the barbacoa, I’m using a dry rub on a chuck roast, then adding a little rotel, dried guajillo, onion and garlic blended when I wrap in tin foil at 165F. Pull at about 200-210 when it probes like butter.
Is this a traditional barbacoa? Probably not, but it comes out amazing. it falls aparts, has loads of smokey and spicy flavors to it, and makes it perfect for tacos!
You can even save some leftovers to make with fries.
Want to try barbacoa a different way? Try this recipe!