Smoked chuck roast has to be the best-kept secret in my BBQ arsenal. If you don’t know the wonders of bathing a simple chuck roast in thin blue smoke like you might care for a prized Texas-style brisket, then you’re in for a treat my friend!
I know what you’re thinking…
Is Chuck Roast Good to Smoke?
When people ask me if chuck roast is good to smoke, I always answer with a resounding yes!
I mean, OK. My Mom made a mean pot roast recipe with the chuck roasts she’d pick up from our local grocery store. In fact, you can probably imagine the times I’ve found myself busting out the crockpot, tossing in some fresh-cut veggies, and letting it render out its delicious beefy goodness.
I’m telling you, though…
Smoked chuck roast is a whole different level of deliciousness. Before we get into how I like to cook a chuck roast like brisket, let’s talk about what this cut of meat really is.
What is a Chuck Roast Anyway?
The standard chuck roast comes from the shoulder of a cow.
This muscle gets a ton of exercise, which is great in terms of the flavor it gives you! But it also means that the chuck roast, like brisket, can be pretty tough.
All the better…. Why?
Becuase tough cuts of beef like a chuck roast or beef brisket can stand up to a nice, long, low and slow barbecue style cooking session, which is what I love to do.
As your roasts bathes in smoke, all that amazing collagen and connective tissue melts and breaks down. This means flavor folks, and trust me – I do mean flavor!
Let’s get on with my smoked chuck roast recipe. Are you ready to make some tasty beefy magic?
Grab a 3 to 4 lb. Beef Chuck Roast
The ingredients list here can either be super simple, or you can go a bit complex. In my opinion, simple is always better.
I like to start with a chuck roast that’s about 3 lbs. minimum. I mean, you want to be able to eat on this for a day or two, right?
If I can find it, I opt for Certified Angus Beef chuck roast. It’s a trusted brand, so you always know you’re getting consistent quality. If you can’t find Certified Angus Beef in your area, go with the best looking Prime or higher-end Choice grade beef chuck roast you can source from your local butcher or grocer.
Season Your Chuck Roast Liberally
When deciding how to season a chuck roast, you can choose to go simple, using a 50/50 blend of Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper.
I treat my beef roast like a brisket. So, I go with one of several of my favorite competition BBQ beef rubs. Here’s a selection you might want to consider:
- Oakridge BBQ Signature Edition Black OPS Brisket Rub
- Loot N’ Booty BBQ What’s Your Beef Rub
- Obie-Cue’s Big Bull’s Texas Brisket Seasoning
Oakridge BBQ Signature Edition Black OPS Brisket Rub
If I’m going to smoke a chuck roast or a brisket, I’m using this one. Mike Trump over at Oakridge BBQ seasonings makes small-batch rubs that are, in my opinion, the very best on the market. He sources only the finest and freshest spices, letting them age to just the right levels. His Black OPS brisket rub is hands down my favorite. The depth of flavor you get from this rub will astound you, and keep you coming back for more!
Loot N’ Booty BBQ What’s Your Beef Rub
Sterling Smith over at Loot N’ Booty is a World Champion BBQ Pitmaster and expert creator of BBQ spices rubs and seasonings. His What’s Your Beef Rub is one of the ones I see most often on the competition circuit, and for good reason. When a beef rub is responsible for earning perfect 180 scores and multiple first-place calls in brisket on the professional competition BBQ circuit — it needs to be in your collection!
Obie-Cue’s Big Bull’s Texas Brisket Seasoning
Founded in 1985, Obie-Cue’s started as a spice store, selling high-grade bulk spices direct to the public, cheap. They opened in Dallas-Forth Worth’s nicest flea market with only a few shop-made blended seasonings all created by Obie Obermark. I’m a huge fan of the entire Obie-Cue line of rubs and seasonings, and this Texas Brisket seasoning is one I know you’ll love.
Applying the Rub…
The first thing I like to do when preparing my roast is to take it out of the fridge, coast it with a bit of olive oil, and give it a nice coating of rub.
For this cook, I’ve chosen to use a rub from Gentry’s BBQ called Beef Brigade. This is a big piece of meat, and it can stand up to some bold flavors. The salt, pepper, garlic, and coffee in Beef Brigade do an excellent job here.
Get the Smoke Rollin’
While the chuck roast is resting and getting a nice flavorful pre-cook crust from the seasoning, you can go ahead and get your smoker going.
For this cook, I’m using The Pit Barrel Cooker. Let’s get those coals lit!
A special note: The Pit Barrel Cooker is a great barrel style cooker, and it comes direct from the company with very little assembly required. To light it, just get a small amount of coals going as you see in the image above, and dump them onto the rest of the coast in the coal basket. Easy.
Bathe Your Chuck Roast in Smoke!
I’m using Kingsford briquettes here (not the match light ones!) and a few chunks of oak. I like using oak for beef, as it imparts delicious flavor!
One of the things I like about a barrel style smoker is the ability to hang your protein over the coals as it cooks. All that delicious fat dripping down on those coals makes for some extra tasty goodness on that smoked chuck roast.
How Long Does a Chuck Roast Take to Smoke?
I keep my chuck roast in the smoke at about 250 for a couple of hours. Depending on the size – I’m using about a 3 lb size here – your time may differ.
I tend to cook for “color” when smoking meat. When my chuck roast gets to the color I like – normally a rich, dark, mahogany color – I go ahead and wrap it in foil. If you’re looking for the temperature to wrap, you’re probably shooting somewhere around the 165 F mark.
Braise Your Smoked Chuck Roast
I recommend you wrap your chuck roast with some sort of flavorful liquid.
This is a very important step. Though your chuck roast may have a good amount of fat, it’s likely lost some of that in the smoking process. By braising your wrapped chuck roast in a tasty liquid, you ensure that there’s more of a break down happening of those muscle fibers and connective tissues.
Can You Overcook a Chuck Roast?
Sure. I mean, you can let this process go as long as you want. But, at some point you’re going to end up with mush.
What I recommend is to braise your chuck roast until a temperature probe slides into the meat with little to no resistance. Cooking pros tend the use the phrase “Like Buttah.”
Since you’ve wrapped your chuck roast in foil, it’s not going to take on any more smoke. Your smoker at this point is acting like an oven. As such, you can actually transfer your smoked chuck roast indoors to your conventional oven set at anywhere between 250 and 300 F.
One benefit of transferring your chuck roast to the oven is that it lets you put any other meats you want to quickly grill back onto your grill or smoker. In fact, I normally throw on a few sausages at the tail end of a cook if I know we won’t be eating the big meat until later on.
Let Your Smoked Chuck Roast Rest
After your smoked chuck roast has reached the level of tenderness you want, I recommend you keep it in the foil and let it hang out for at least an hour in what I call a poor man’s Cambro – which is a professional grade warming box. They’re pricey – but very nice! (You don’t need one… just do what I do.)
Grab any dry cooler and a couple of towels. Just wrap your foiled chuck roast in a couple of towels and close it up in the cooler. It will stay at food safe temperatures for at least a couple of hours.
For my money, letting any large cut of smoked meat rest always renders the best results.
Smoked Chuck Roast: Final Thoughts
So, there you have it. I hope you find this tutorial on how to smoke a chuck roast helpful. It’s a very easy and straight forward process. In fact, the steps I’ve shared with you here are pretty much the same for any large cut of meat – be it a pork butt, a beef brisket, or the trusty smoked chuck roast!