This Smoked Chuck Roast recipe is going to blow you away! Invite guests (or not! 😁) as this one is going to go down as a huge fan favorite! With just a few simple steps and a delicious dry rub, you’ll be the star of the cookout!
Most of us don’t think about a smoked chuck roast recipe unless we are hoping to make a batch of Poor Man’s Burnt Ends. I had the opportunity to buy two of these poor man’s briskets this past weekend at a farm and was excited to try it out. My family said they never expected it to be so tender and juicy…it definitely exceeded our expectations.
🍽️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Feeds a Crowd | It feeds around 12 people sliced or it can feed up to 18 when serving it up as pulled beef sandwiches with a cheese sauce, slaw, or sauce layered on buns. Since this is hands-off, entertaining using this as the main dish is easy for the next BBQ.
Inexpensive | A smoked beef chuck roast is very similar in taste and texture to its more expensive counterpart, the smoked brisket. A good chuck roast is relatively inexpensive as far as cuts of meat are concerned, and much more affordable when you are feeding a crowd.
Tastes Delicious | This smoked beef roast with or without a lot of seasoning inevitably ends up tender and scrumptious. This is one of the best cuts of roast to smoke as all of the collagen breaks down leaving you with juicy, tender meat that is easy to slice without worrying about the direction of the grain.
15 Minutes to Prepare | We have a simple rub that you can make or use a store-bought version so it’s easy. You can make this amazing meal in under 15 minutes of prep time.
The Grill Does Most of the Work | Our roast recipe is so easy to make! After the simple prep, put it on the grill and allow it to smoke away – all hands-off.
What is a Chuck Roast?
This primal cut of meat comes right from the shoulder area of the beef and, as you can imagine, isn’t the most tender cut as it has done most of the work moving the cow across the ranch.
The connective tissues that run through the roast are packed with little fatty beds called silver skin that you can trim if desired.
Don’t let that fool you. It’s tender and packed with beefy flavor. The key to tender, juicy slices of beef is to cook this one low and slow, whether it is inside in your oven or out on your pellet smoker.
Why is it Called a Pot Roast?
Those Sunday pot roasts are simple names for the METHOD of cooking, not the actual cut of beef. Pot roasts are braised, seared, and cooked low and slow in the oven or slow cooker. The common cuts of meat used for a pot roast are chuck, rib, sirloin, and rump roasts.
Seasonings & Spices for the Rub | I like to use a blend of sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, and black pepper. It’s delicious! Best of all, you probably have all of them in your pantry already.
Beef Chuck Roast | Stick with a chuck roast to get the best results. I used grass-fed organic beef from a local farm, but use what you can find. Look for consistent marbling of fat throughout the meat and a deep red coloring without any brown. The brown spots signify that air has gotten to it or it has been cut days ago.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
These are the items you will need to have on hand to smoke a chuck roast.
Smoker or Grill. You will need to use indirect heat to smoke this and you can accomplish that with your grill or the smoker you have. We use our 15-year-old Big Green Egg but your Traeger, Camp Chef, Masterbuilt or PitBoss will all work here.
Aluminum Foil. This is needed to tent the roast after it is finished, and may also be used during the smoking process depending on your desired end result.
Butcher Twine. Use kitchen twine to wrap the roast so that it doesn’t fall apart in the smoking process.
Wood Chips. We used hickory, but it can handle any type of smoking wood chip so use your favorite. Our selection of best wood for smoking brisket and our free smoking wood chart can be of help if you’re looking for more options.
Foil Pan. Use the foil pan to catch the drippings so that you don’t fill your smoker with acrid smoke.
Meat Thermometer. An internal meat thermometer probe is non-negotiable for anyone who wants to smoke meat consistently. When you use an internal thermometer, you know the second the meat has reached the desired internal temp so you are able to pull it off and never risk overcooking.
What is the Best Wood for Smoking Chuck Roast?
We love using hickory or mesquite on roasts, ribs, and even burgers. This all comes down to personal taste though. If you want a big infusion of smoke taste in each bite, grab the hickory.
Looking for a milder smoke flavor? Reach for all the fruit woods such as apple, cherry or peach. Oak and pecan will sit in the middle range of smoke intensity.
🔥 Smoking a Chuck Roast Instructions
Step One | Start with a five-pound chuck roast. Remove the wrapping, rinse it with cold water, and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the roast on a large platter or cutting board so that you don’t make a mess.
Step Two | Wrap butcher’s twine around the circumference and across the top. I wrapped it across the top three times. This keeps the roast intact while it slowly cooks. Definitely pull it tight, because the beef roast will shrink slightly as it cooks.
Step Three | Mix together all the ingredients for the rub in a bowl and stir it up. That’s it. Make a bit extra to save for later if you are grilling again soon. This is such an easy rub recipe, that you’ll want to make extra to use on other meals.
Step Four | Cover the top and bottom of the chuck roast with the rub.
Step Five | Set the smoker (any smoker works whether it’s a pellet smoker or Kamado version) to 225 degrees on indirect heat. Add wood chips to the grill for the smoke flavor. I used hickory this time, but you can use whichever kind you like.
Note: You can use a regular gas grill or charcoal grill with a smoker box too. Simply turn off the center burners and add wood chips to the metal smoking box.
Step Six | Place a foil pan beneath the grating to catch drippings. Otherwise, the smoker will fill with acrid smoke as the drippings hit the coals.
Step Seven | Check the roast after four hours and remove it after five hours, or when the internal temperature reaches 160-170°F. That should be a nice medium level of doneness. If your roast gets closer to 190-200°F, it will be considered well done with a darker, firmer bark or outside crust.
Step Eight | Tent the roast for at least 30 minutes after removing it from the grill to allow it to continue cooking. It will keep the juices inside the roast. That means gently place foil over the roast but DOES NOT mean wrapping up the roast tight to create a steam packet.
Optional | If you are looking for a nice bark (or bark candy as it is often called) on the outside, remove the meat at 170°F, wrap it in butcher paper, and put it back on the grill until the internal temp is 200°F. This allows the airflow to circulate around the meat and keep the bark crispy. Don’t use aluminum foil as it will create a steam packet that will result in pot roast that comes from a crockpot.
Note: For the most accurate measurements of temperature, use a wireless meat thermometer. Here is an article on the best wireless meat thermometers on the market. Also, it’s very important to maintain a steady temperature in the smoker. The meat thermometer will help you monitor the roast so there’s no need to open the lid until it’s time.
How Long to Smoke Chuck Roast At 225?
Chuck roast smoked at 225 degrees F will need approximately 2 hours per pound.
The biggest tip to making the most succulent, melt-in-your-mouth roast is to focus on the beef’s internal temperature so it doesn’t overcook. For slicing, the ideal internal temp is 180-190°F. To make smoked pulled beef, remove when it reaches 200°F.
How Long to Smoke Chuck Roast At 250?
At 250°F chuck roast will need about 90 minutes per pound. Use this only as a rough guideline. Always smoke based on the internal temperature of the meat not time. Remove from the smoked when your chuck roast reaches 180-190°F for slicing, or 200°F for making pulled beef.
🌡️Internal Temperature For Smoked Chuck Roast
I usually cook it to 180-190°F for slicing and take it off because I know it will continue to cook after it’s taken off the smoker. The temperature will rise about 10 more degrees during resting.
To make smoked pulled beef, remove it from the smoker when the internal temperature of your chuck roast reaches 200°F.
💡 Recipe Tips
Make the rub ahead of time.
Prep the chuck roast to the point of wrapping it with the kitchen twine and placing on a platter in the refrigerator. When your smoker is ready, your meat will be ready.
Don’t slice it until you are ready to serve as it will dry out quickly and you will lose a lot of juices. Once you pull it out of the smoker, you can wrap it in foil, then wrap it in a towel and place it in a cooler to rest while you prepare the other dishes.
Cook to internal temperature not time. Focus on the beef’s internal temp when smoking vs. how much time will it take to smoke a chuck roast.
You don’t need to braise the chuck roast. Some recipes will finish off the roast in a braising liquid such as beef broth, wine, or beer to ensure the meat is moist and tender.
We never tried it but our chuck roast always comes out great as we smoke it based on internal temperature. This is ultimately the best way to ensure your meat is cooked to perfection!
🌶️Additions And Substitutions
The easiest way to change the flavor of smoked chuck roast is to go for a different dry rub. Ours is a simple Texas-style rub made with kosher salt, black pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, garlic salt, onion powder, paprika, and chili powder.
You can simplify it even more and use a simple SPG mix: salt, pepper, and garlic powder. It will still taste amazing!
If you’re feeling adventurous, try this homemade Java dry rub for a mild and interesting coffee flavor.
This dry rub for ribs goes well with most grilled meats and we keep coming back to this flavorful spice blend! We also love Mexican flavors and regularly use the Yucatan dry rub as it flawlessly complements smoked and grilled meat.
Another option is to slather a thin coat of yellow mustard on your chuck roast before applying the rub. This will help the seasonings better stick to the surface of the meat and catch more smoke while it cooks.
It’s also interesting to note the mustard flavor goes away in the finished product. All I can guarantee is it will be amazing!
Smoked Pulled Beef
If you plan on making pulled roast beef sandwiches, continue to cook the meat until the internal temperature reaches 200°F. You’ll want the meat to be fall-apart tender.
The connective tissues will need to soften so that meat can be pulled apart and even shredded like Pulled Chicken or Pulled Pork.
The best way to do this is to wrap the roast in butcher paper during the last hour and place it back on the smoker. This is the best way I have found for the finish cook and prepping the meat for pulling. Don’t allow it to go over the 200°F mark because it is easy for it to be overcooked and dry.
The key is: Plan ahead for the rise in temperature. You can take it off at 180°F and let it sit for the extra 30-60 minutes but know it will still continue to rise and it may become hotter than you want.
Depending on how large the roast is and how many people you have been serving, there might be leftovers. If this is the case, make sure to divide them up into air tight containers or plastic zipper bags.
How long does smoked chuck roast last in the fridge?
According to the USDA, all cooked beef stays safe to eat for 3-4 days if properly refrigerated. Of course, this also applies to smoked chuck roast.
Can you freeze leftover smoked chuck roast?
You can freeze this after cooking with no problem! I love to freeze my extra meat for my lunches or to make a busy weeknight meal go easier. Slice up the roast and wrap portioned amounts in Press-n-Seal.
Place wrapped-up meat into a freezer-safe gallon Ziploc bag. If you don’t use a freezer-safe version, it won’t keep properly. Don’t skip this step. I like to do it this way as it lets me open up the Ziploc bag and grab a portion-controlled, pre-wrapped Press n Seal package of meat to defrost while the rest can remain in the freezer-safe bag.
🥔 What to Serve with Smoked Chuck Roast
There’s an overabundance of BBQ sides that go well with smoked chuck roast! There are times when the side dishes are more fun to create than the main dish.
These simple recipes will pull your cookout together in no time.
To start, a no-fail choice is pairing your smoked beef with a potato side. Grilled baby potatoes with garlic, smoked potato salad, grilled sweet potatoes in foil, smoked sweet potatoes, and grilled potato skins, are all fantastic options!
Make it a healthier, lighter meal with a salad like this grilled peach and arugula salad.
Grilling veggies is even faster, and a better option if you have a large crowd to feed. Grilled corn on the cob in foil is just as delicious as its smoked counterpart. Go for grilled parsnips or grilled broccolini are great if you’re looking to keep the carbs down.
🐄More Smoked Beef Recipes
Smoked beef is delicious in all forms and each has a unique taste and texture. This is precisely why you won’t regret trying out as many as you can!
There’s nothing like a smoked prime rib for a centerpiece on your holiday table! The best part is that you’ll have plenty of time to prep sides and take care of other details for your celebration while this smokes.
Another gorgeous cut is the smoked Santa Maria tri tip which may be tough to find but oh so delicious and ready in about one hour.
With smoked beef tenderloin you’re in for a treat! The higher price tag is completely justified by this incredibly tender beef cut.
While it’s not the end of the world if you skip this step, it is a game-changer if you do use. If you skip adding the twine, the meat isn’t going to stay together properly and may even end up dried out. For best results, add the twine and thank yourself later. The twine can be found at your local grocery store with the kitchen items, it is not a specialty item that needs to be ordered.
Use a meat thermometer to check the temperatures. I cook it to 180-190°F for slicing and take it off knowing it will continue to cook after it is removed. The temperature usually rises about 10 more degrees after I take it off the grill. If you want the meat to be pull-apart tender, let it smoke a little longer, until it reaches an internal temperature of 200°F.
I recommend at least 30 minutes of resting for the roast tented in aluminum foil. This will allow all the juices to resettle into the meat before slicing it. It can rest for even longer, up to ten minutes per pound of meat.
Smoked chuck roast is actually very, very similar in both taste and texture to smoked brisket.
The chuck meat comes from the shoulder/neck area while the brisket comes from the breast and lower chest area.
The main difference in the end result is the cost because the chuck roast is significantly cheaper.
This is an optional step but doing so will give your smoked chuck roast a crispy bark. Once the meat reaches an internal temperature of 170°F remove it from the smoker and wrap it in butcher paper. Place it back in the smoker and allow it to cook until the internal temperature is 200°F. Avoid aluminum foil as it will steam the meat, giving it a pot roast flavor. This method is similar to the Texas Crutch, which is often used when smoking brisket.
Once the internal temperature of the chuck roast reaches 195-200°F, it will be fall-apart tender and perfect for making pulled beef.
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Smoked Chuck Roast
- 1½ tbsp Kosher Salt
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
- ¼ tsp Garlic Salt
- ¼ tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 5 lb Chuck Roast
- Measure out and combine all spices for rub and stir well. This can be stored in sealed container until ready to use.
Setting up Smoker
- Set temperature at 225°F on grill for indirect heat. Add in smoking chips. I used hickory.
- Put a disposable pan in between grill grate and coals to catch drippings
- Wrap chuck roast with butcher's twine 4-5 times
- Spread the rub all over on both sides
Smoking Chuck Roast
- Lay on grill grate to smoke for about five hours, depending on the size of the roast.
- Check the roast after four hours and remove it after five hours, or when the internal temperature reaches 170°F. That should be a nice medium. If your roast gets closer to 190-200°F, it will be considered well done and a darker, firmer bark or outside crust.
- Tent the roast for at least 30 minutes after removing it from the grill to allow it to continue cooking and the juices to stay inside the roast.
- Slice up right before serving to keep the juices in the roast or the slices will dry out. Don't worry which way you cut it as the collagen should be all broken down and allow you to slice through like butter. Don't slice this all up or it will dry out. Slice as much as you need and then move on.