October 25, 2021
By Darron McDougal
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Confession: I’m not at all the “trendy” type. I often study what everyone else is doing and then try to think and do it differently. That goes for nearly everything except street tacos. These tasty gems are part of a major trend across the food world right now. Trendy or not, I can’t say no to street tacos, and I don’t know anyone else who can, either.
Aside from occasional restaurant meals, my wife and I exclusively prepare meat from the wild game I harvest. We’re aware of the commercial meat industry’s dirty little secrets, and that’s why we choose to nourish our bodies with wild protein — we know where it comes from, how it was handled, and by whom. Obviously, eating burgers or roasts with corn and potatoes can grow tiresome, so we’ve ventured into different ethnic dishes. When we tasted our first legit street tacos at a restaurant, we knew that we had to learn how to turn these puppies out in our own kitchen.
As much as I enjoy the convenience of sitting down to a quartet of street tacos at an authentic Mexican restaurant, I’ve found far greater fulfillment in preparing street tacos at home using wild game. It’s a lot easier than you probably think, plus you don’t have to pay a bill and lay down a generous tip after filling your belly. Might I add that they also taste just as good, if not better?
If you’re tired of traditional venison dishes, why don’t you take a swing at wild game street tacos? If you have venison, wild pork, or wild turkey in your freezer, fire up your smoker or pellet grill and let’s get cooking!
How to Make Wild Game Street Tacos
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 3 1/2 hours
- 3 pounds wild game roast or wild turkey breast
- Salt (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon coffee grounds (optional)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
Author’s note: For convenience, you can replace salt and all seasonings with a commercially sold taco seasoning and dry rub it onto the meat.
- Raw onions (diced)
- Avocados (diced)
- Salsa verde
- Queso blanco
- Corn tortillas
- Set pellet grill or smoker to 180-200°F.
- Thaw roast and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Shake salt over the entire roast and then rub it in. I use quite a lot — I don’t measure — since it will spread throughout the entire roast once shredded and mixed in step 7. However, you can always add more after shredding, so don’t get too carried away now.
- In a small bowl, combine cumin, chili powder, coffee grounds, garlic powder, and onion powder. Rub seasoning mixture onto roast until liberally coated.
- Place roast on the smoker for 3 hours, flipping after 1 1/2 hours.
- After 3 hours, adjust the grill or smoker to 325-350°F and let roast continue cooking for half an hour.
- Wrap roast in butcher paper or aluminum foil, catching all juices, as it continues cooking.
- Once the roast’s internal temperature reaches 202°F, remove it from the smoker, and place it in a small cooler to rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Pour the juices into a bowl and set aside.
- Place the roast onto a tray or cutting board. Shred it apart and then place the shredded meat into a kettle. Pour the juices from the bowl over the meat in the kettle. For venison or wild turkey, put 1/3 of a butter stick and 1/3 cup of water into the kettle. Wild pork usually has more juices, so you might not need the butter and water. Let meat simmer on medium heat for a few minutes in the water, juices, and butter. Mix thoroughly.
- Check saltiness, adding more salt to preferred taste.
- Place a skillet on the stovetop at medium heat and spray with oil. Once hot, cook corn tortillas for 30 seconds per side. Since you can only do one or two at a time, set them in a bowl covered with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.
- Serve shredded meat on warm tortillas with diced raw onions, diced avocados, salsa verde, cilantro, and queso blanco. Cut a lime in half and squeeze fresh lime juice over your tacos. Enjoy!