At first, I was not sure how this smoked pork tacos recipe was going to turn out and if it would make the blog. But as you can see in the video, this pork shoulder looked and tasted fantastic when it came off the grill. Once the pork was cut up and placed in soft corn tortillas and topped with lettuce, homemade salsa, and freshly grated sharp cheese, it was on! Even the kids loved these tacos.
For these smoked pork tacos I wanted to try a cheap cut of meat, in this case, the five-pound seven-dollar pork shoulder pictured below, and prove that you can get great flavor and easily create delicious smoked pork tacos on a budget.
To start I brined the shoulder overnight for 12 hours. The next day when I was ready to cook I removed the shoulder from the brine, patted it dry, then covered it with the dry rub. I used the charcoal snake method to smoke the shoulder in my Weber Kettle Grill for five hours at 225 degrees. The result was delicious smoked pork tacos that are not only inexpensive to make, but also very easy to prepare and cook.
Smoked Pork Tacos Recipe
For the brine, I took the following ingredients and mixed in a large plastic bowl.
- 8 oz Apple Cider Vinegar – I used Vermont Village Ginger & Honey Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Minced Garlic Cloves
- 1 tsp Dale’s Seasoning
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Chipotle Powder
- 1 tsp of Lawry’s Seasoning
- 2 cups of Water
I then placed the pork shoulder into the smallest container it could fit it in and filled it with the mixed brine. Securely cover with a lid and place in the refrigerator overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours.
Given these tacos were dinner plans, I removed the pork shoulder from the refrigerator at noon. Place the pork shoulder on a cutting board and rub a nice layer of olive oil on the shoulder. From here it is ready to cover generously with a dry rub. For the dry rub, I made my own using a majority of Mexican flavored spices.
Dry Rub Ingredients:
- 1 tsp Ground Chipotle
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 2 tsp Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Dried Chopped Onion
The pork shoulder is now ready for the grill. My favorite method of slow cooking to smoke meat on the Weber Kettle grill is to use the snake method with charcoal. What this means is that depending on how long you need to have your charcoal burn, start that the 7 o’clock position and run two rows of charcoal slightly overlapping them to the 4 o’clock position along the outer edge of the charcoal grate. I stopped at the 4 o’clock position because I knew based on the weight of the shoulder it needed to cook for only five hours. Obviously, the longer you run it around the kettle the longer it will burn.
Run a third charcoal brisket down the middle. Lastly, take hickory chips and place them every few inches on top of the charcoal. You can use as much or as little of the wood chips as you desire based on your preference for a smokey flavor. Place a small container of water on the charcoal grate under the pork shoulder to help maintain moisture as the water vapor will condense on the meat making it a bit sticky to hold on to more smoke flavor.
Light the start of the charcoal snake and the grill will burn slowly and stay heated at 225 degrees. At the two-hour mark, I began to check the temperature of the meat. At 140 degrees you will want to wrap the shoulder in aluminum foil for the final cook to 180 degrees. Wrapping the shoulder not only speeds up the cooking time but also starts to hold in the moisture and juices of the meat. Once the shoulder reaches 180 degrees, pull it from the grill and let the shoulder rest for 4 minutes.
I sliced the shoulder up into cubes to serve on soft corn tortilla wraps with romaine lettuce, freshly grated sharp cheese, and topped with fresh homemade salsa. Between eating and serving, I placed the tortilla wraps with the pork back onto the open grill to keep warm and take in a little more of the hickory smoke.
The experiment proved successful and I decided to feature this recipe on the blog. If you are looking for a nice meal without spending a great deal of money on meat, this is definitely worth doing on the grill. The snake method truly makes it easy as you can leave the grill for a couple of hours while the pork cooks.
If you enjoyed these smoked pork tacos, be sure to try our Grilled Pork Tenderloin recipe made with a delicious marinade.