The thought of smoking an entire beef brisket can be intimidating, expensive, and potentially wasteful for novice barbecuers and those with small households. Chuck roast is the little brother of the brisket, a cheaper, entry-level cut of meat that offers a very similar eating experience in a more manageable size.
I’ve smoked a lot of beef chuck roasts over the years as a Texas chef and caterer, and this instructional video will show you how to achieve exceptionally juicy meat and excellent smoke flavor in your own backyard.
Here is what we will cover in this step-by-step guide so that you can master smoked chuck roast with ease.
To get the best cook, you must first determine how long to smoke chuck roast per pound and what temperature to keep in your smoker.
Picking the Right Beef Roast to Smoke
When it comes to smoking beef roasts, there are many options, with each cut excelling at different things. When smoking roast beef for Sunday dinner or weekday sandwiches, eye of round is a great option. Smoking a standing rib roast is the best option for a holiday extravaganza. If you’re looking to feed a group of friends authentic smoky barbecue, it’s worth the time to smoke a whole brisket.
We’ve divided the meat into four categories, primarily based on how the cuts are smoked and served, to help people choose the right roast. By considering the various cuts in this manner, chefs should find it simple to select the ideal roast for the appropriate situation.
There are a few considerations when selecting a beef roast, regardless of cut Always present fresh meat that is slightly slick without appearing wet and has a deep reddish hue. The more marbling, the more flavor. Avoid pieces that have a lot of brown on them or that smell bad.
All beef is rated as Prime, Choice, or Select when it comes to grades. Most of the meat in supermarkets and butcher shops is rated as Choice. We advise selecting premium cuts of beef that are rated Prime or Choice and fit your budget and occasion when smoking beef roasts. Alternatively put, avoid preparing prime rib for your children’s lunches.
Smoked Roast Beef Cuts
Because they are typically served the same way roast beef is served, sliced relatively thinly and used as a main course or on sandwiches, we refer to this group of roasts as the roast beef cuts. The group consists of roasts from the eye of round, top round, bottom round, and rump.
These cuts, which come from the hindquarters, are among the most affordable and relatively lean. They frequently come in the 2 to 5 pound size at supermarkets and butcher shops. To keep them juicy and tender, they are best smoked low and slowly. Since these cuts lack fat and connective tissue, they are more prone to drying out if overcooked.
Roasts typically take 30 to 35 minutes per pound at 225°F (107°C) for smoking.
These cuts can be seasoned in a million different ways. We enjoy smoking them with classic roast beef flavors, or more barbecue-forward flavors if it’s being served at a party.
Check out our favorite roast beef recipe for more information on traditional flavors and cooking methods for tender oven-roasted roast beef.
A versatile cut from the shoulder and upper arm region is the chuck roast. In particular, when braised as a pot roast, this cut excels at slow cooking, allowing the meat to fall apart into fork-tender pieces.
Chuck roasting is a quick and easy way to smoke beef that has a flavor and texture similar to brisket without having to spend 12 to 18 hours smoking a full-size brisket.
Chuck roasts, a well-marbled cut of beef, are excellent at soaking up the flavor of the smoke and the lengthy cooking times that allow the fat and connective tissue to break down, producing tender, juicy meat with intensely flavorful flavors.
Long, thin slices of beef can be served, much like smoked brisket, when the longer cook times are combined with enough time to rest afterward.
Using an aluminum foil pan and some liquid, smoked chuck roasts can also be braised in the smoker to produce shredded beef that will be used for barbecue sandwiches, tacos, burritos, and other dishes.
Chuck roasts are typically smoked for 2 hours per pound or 1 hour total at 225°F (107°C). 5 hours per pound at 250℉ (121℃). Some recipes call for a minimum of an hour of resting time for smoked chuck roasts, which should be wrapped in pink butcher paper or aluminum foil.
For chuck roasts being served in thin slices, the ideal internal temperature ranges from 195°F (91°C) to 200°F (93°C). Before the meat easily pulls apart, the internal temperature of chuck roasts that will be pulled or shredded should be closer to 205°F (96°C).
The granddaddy of smoked beef is a whole brisket. The point and the flat of a brisket, a primitive cut from the chest region, are frequently separated from one another.
Similar to smoked pork ribs or whole hog in certain regions of the Southeast, smoked brisket is practically a religion in some parts of the country, particularly Texas.
Smoking a whole brisket is not for the faint of heart, often referred to as a packer’s cut, whole briskets generally range between 12 to 14 lbs and take 12 to 18 hours to smoke, with most recipes calling for wrapping the brisket in butcher paper halfway through the smoke to help it get through the stall. The stall is where the liquid in the roast starts to cool the brisket through evaporation, making it look like the cooking process has stalled. (Amazing Ribs)
Most recipes for smoked brisket call for smoking it until the internal temperature reaches 203°F (95°C), which is the magic temperature, before removing it from the smoker and letting it rest for at least an hour. Many seasoned pitmasters let their brisket rest in an insulated cooler for hours while still covered in butcher paper before slicing.
To prepare a smaller piece of brisket differently, try our Sous Vide Brisket recipe.
Few things are as impressive when it comes to wow factor as carving thick slices of smoked prime rib for your guests at the dinner table. The term “prime” here refers to a substantial piece of beef from the primal rib rather than the beef’s grade.
The cut is almost always divided into smaller cuts that are frequently referred to as prime rib, rib roast, standing rib roast, or ribeye roast because the entire cut, including the ribs, can weigh up to 30 lbs.
Prime rib, one of the priciest cuts of beef, is highly sought after by eateries and caterers due to its distinctive flavor and texture.
A well-seasoned crisp crust helps create a contrast in flavor and texture to the well-marbled interior because it is frequently prepared and served in large thick slices, elevating the dish’s overall flavor.
A ribeye roast should be smoked for 35 to 40 minutes per pound at 225°F (107°C), with an additional 30 minutes for resting.
One of those large cuts where diners’ preferences may range from bloody rare to medium-well, making it difficult to satisfy everyone’s tastes with a single piece of meat.
Take the roast out of the smoker when the internal temperature is between 132°F (55°C) and 137°F (58°C) for a medium-rare roast. The middle of the roast should be served to diners who prefer rare to medium rare beef, and the ends should be saved for those who prefer their beef more well-done.
How to Smoke Beef Roasts
There are many reasons to enjoy smoking a beef roast, including the way it takes on the flavors of the smoke, the way it makes your neighbors envious as the smell of barbecue permeates the neighborhood, and the way it brings out the flavors in the beef.
The recipe for our favorite smoked beef, which can be found below, can be used with almost any roast. If you want to serve thinly sliced beef that keeps its shape, we’ve found that smoking an eye of round, rump roast, or sirloin tip is the way to go. These roasts are a great option if you intend to use the leftovers for sandwiches.
Choose roasts that are longer than they are wide when selecting these cuts. As a result, every slice, when cut against the grain, will contain a combination of the crisp, flavorful crust and the tender, juicy middle.
Preparing the Roast & Smoker
The roast beef cuts typically have very little external fat and are lean. Trimming only consists of removing any excess silver skin or the occasional loose bit. Trussing the beef is an optional step that can help produce a more uniform shape.
Up to a day before serving, the roasts can be spiced. Some people prefer to dry brine them, but we haven’t found that it affects the flavor or texture of the meat once the smoking process is complete.
To help the dry rub stick to the roast and add a little more umami flavor, we do rub Worcestershire sauce on the outside of the roasts.
Temperature control is essential for keeping a roast tender and moist. If a grill is being used or if the smoker being used doesn’t have a water pan, it can be useful to add a water pan to add moisture and to help regulate the temperature.
Use indirect heat to cook the meat if the roast is being smoked on a gas or charcoal grill to avoid drying it out or turning the outside into briquettes.
We advise leaving any fat on the exterior of the roast so that it can bast itself and rest for 20 to 30 minutes while being covered in foil before slicing.
Seasoning a Beef Roast
To create rich, traditional roast beef flavors, this smoked roast beef recipe uses a straightforward dry rub that contains smoked paprika, garlic, and onion powders as well as kosher salt and black pepper.
For more herb-forward flavors, you can also season smoked beef with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and thyme.
We use a mixture of ancho chili, chipotle, cumin, and garlic powder in the dry rub when we’re serving it as barbecue, sliced thin, or in sandwiches. We also serve it with some Ancho Chili and Honey Barbecue Sauce on the side.
The type of wood matters because beef absorbs flavors from the smoke exceptionally well. We typically use wood chunks or chips with stronger, heartier flavors, such as hickory, oak, and mesquite, to help the roast develop its beefy flavor.
How to Tell When the Roast is Done
Smoked beef roasts differ slightly from those that are slow-roasted in the oven or cooked sous vide.
Depending on the size of the roast and the desired degree of doneness, our testing has revealed that smoking a beef roast takes between 30 and 35 minutes per pound and that it should be removed from the smoker when the internal temperature reaches between 137°F (58°C) and 142°F (61°C).
Because smoked roasts take longer to cook through and have less carryover cooking than oven-roasted roasts, we remove them from the smoker at a slightly higher temperature than roasts cooked in the oven.
To get an accurate reading of the smoking temperature when smoking meat, we advise using a digital thermometer with a probe inserted into the center of the roast and placing an oven thermometer next to it.
The roast beef will still be delicious if you smoke it between 250°F (121°C) and 275°F (135°C), but it won’t be as tender as one cooked at a lower temperature.
For the roast beef cut category and the smoked prime rib category, use the temperature chart below. For suggested temperatures for chuck roast and brisket, see those sections.
|Very red, bloody, and cold
|Below 125℉ (52℃)
|Cold red center & soft to the touch
|125℉ (52℃) to 134℉ (56℃)
|Warm red center, firmer with a bit of spring
|135℉ (57℃) to 144℉ (62℃)
|Pink all the way through & firm to the touch
|145℉ (63℃) to 155℉ (68℃)
|Gray and brown all the way through, very firm
|156℉ (69℃) to 165℉ (74℃)
|Way Over Done
|Dark and crusty inside and out
|166℉ (74℃) plus
Tips for Smoking Beef
Here are some suggestions for smoking a roast that has flavors that stand out and a texture that is so juicy and tender you can cut it with a fork.
Before applying the spice rub, rub a little Worcestershire sauce on the exterior. The beef’s natural umami flavors are enhanced by the Worcestershire, which also aids in the rub’s adhesion to the meat.
Unless there are loose pieces or they have an irregular shape, roasts do not need to be trussed.
There is no need to flip the roasts; they can be placed directly on the grill grate, fat side up.
Avoid high temperatures and don’t smoke the roast for too long to prevent the beef from drying out.
Regarding bark, or the crunchy crust that forms when large cuts of meat are smoked, more fat and longer smoke times help smoked chuck roasts and briskets produce the thick, crunchy bark candy that barbecue connoisseurs adore.
Even when generously seasoned, roast beef and rib roast cuts will develop a nice crust on the outside, but it won’t be as thick as the ones on a chuck roast or brisket. These cuts stand out when cut into slices because some of the slices contain both the tender inside and the seasoned outside.
The ideal smoking setup should monitor both the internal temperature of the product being smoked as well as the temperature of the smoking chamber. Use an oven thermometer to monitor the temperature for smoking and an instant-read thermometer for the meat for a straightforward setup. We employ this digital thermometer, which has an additional probe that can be inserted into the beef.
Read our Comprehensive Guide to Smoking Food for more information on how to prepare food this way. Visit The Best Meats to Smoke for more suggestions on what to smoke.
What to Serve with a Smoked Roast
Here are some of our preferred side dishes to pair with a smoked roast. Spend the time necessary to prepare a silky smooth gravy or some au jus if it is being served as roast beef.
Making au jus is as easy as combining 2 cups of beef stock or beef broth with some sauteed onions, garlic, and a small amount of the roast’s seasoning. To intensify the flavors, simmer the au jus for 20 to 30 minutes over low heat.
When the roast is served as the main course for a nice dinner, serve it with some homemade creamed corn, some crispy, herb-infused roasted fingerling potatoes, or some creamy mac and cheese.
Sliced very thinly and served as part of a meat and cheese platter, smoked beef is a wonderful party food. It can also be served on its own.
We frequently smoke a roast on the weekend so that we can enjoy moist, delectable French dip sandwiches all week. Simply cut the roast into thin slices whenever you want a sandwich and reheat it in the oven while toasting the bun. Serve it with a small serving of au jus on the side.
Sliced smoked roasts can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week in an airtight container and eaten whenever hunger strikes.
Depending on the size of the leftovers, we advise reheating the roast in a covered baking dish at 300°F (149°C) for 10 to 15 minutes. It will take less time to cut thin slices than a large chunk. We don’t advise reheating it in the microwave unless you enjoy chewing on rubber toys.
For three to six months, roasts can be frozen, then defrosted in the refrigerator before being warmed in the oven.
No matter how you plan to serve it, cut the roast against the grain and season the beef with a little salt just before serving. The salt enhances the taste of the finished dish by bringing out the natural flavors of the tender meat.
- 3 lb beef roast, top round, bottom round, sirloin tip, or eye of round
- ▢ 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ▢ 1 tsp garlic powder
- ▢ 1/2 tsp onion powder
- ▢ 1 1/2 tsp salt
- ▢ 1 tsp pepper
- ▢ Worcestershire sauce to rub down
- Combine the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic, and onion powders to create the dry rub. 1 teaspoon each of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
- Give the roast a good Worcestershire sauce rubdown before using the spice rub. The Worcestershire sauce enhances the flavor and assists the rub in sticking to the roast. 3 lb beef roast, Worcestershire sauce to rub down.
- Smoke the beef roast for 30 to 35 minutes per pound at 225°F (107°C). When the roast’s internal temperature reaches 137°F (58°C) to 142°F (61°C), it is ready to be removed from the oven.
- Before slicing thinly, let the roast rest for 20 to 30 minutes under foil. Before serving, sprinkle some salt on the slices to enhance the flavor of the beef.
Based on the ingredients and preparation that are available, the nutrition information shown is an estimate.
Easier Than Brisket? Smoked Chuck Roast Recipe
How long does it take to smoke a beef roast?
Smoke the beef roast for 30 to 35 minutes per pound at 225°F (107°C). When the roast’s internal temperature reaches 137°F (58°C) to 142°F (61°C), it is ready to be removed from the oven. Before slicing thinly, let the roast rest for 20 to 30 minutes under foil.
Do you wrap beef roast when smoking?
Place chuck roast in smoker and smoke for 4 to 6 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 165°F to 170°F. Return to smoker and tightly wrap in two layers of foil or peach paper until internal temperature reaches 200°F to 205°F (45–1 hour).
What is the best way to smoke a beef round roast?
Put the roast in the smoker and cover the lid by placing it on a flat rack elevated above a baking sheet. Smoke the roast until its internal temperature reaches 120°F for rare, 125°F for medium-rare, or 130°F for medium. Plan to smoke the bottom round roast for 35 minutes per pound if you want it rare.
Should I marinate a roast before smoking?
A great way to guarantee that the meat you cook is tender and flavorful is to marinate it first. Keep in mind: Don’t marinate your meat in an acidic solution for more than 24 hours.