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 you are hoping to make a batch of Poor Man’s Burnt Ends. I had the opportunity to buy two 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 | Unlike its more expensive counterpart, the 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 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 smoked chuck 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 our 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.
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 desired temp so you are able to pull it off and never risk overcooking.
What is the Best Wood for Smoking Beef?
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. Print off the Wood Smoking Chart for a quick cheat sheet.
🔥 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. 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 wrap 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 outside, remove the meat at 170°F, wrap in butcher paper and put back on the grill until the internal temp is 200°F. This allows the air flow 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.
How Long to Smoke Chuck Roast
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. There are many time/temperature ranges to guide you through the process. Use these as estimates and not hard and fast rules.
How long to smoke roast at 225 degrees? Shoot for 2 hours / pound.
How long to smoke roast at 250 degrees? Shoot for 90 minutes / pound.
I usually cook it to 180-190°F for slicing and take it off because I know it will continue to cook after it is removed. The temperature will rise about 10 more degrees after it is removed from the grill.
💡 Recipe Tips
- Prep 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 the rest of the meal is prepared.
- Cook to internal temperature not time. Focus on the beef internal temp when smoking vs how much time will it take to smoke a chuck roast.
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 fall apart easily and the connective tissues will need to soften so that meat can be pulled apart and even shred 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.
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.
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 also like to do it this way as I can 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.
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.
I recommend at least thirty minutes of tenting the roast to let it rest and let all the juices resettle into the meat before slicing it. It can rest for even longer, up to ten minutes per pound of meat.
The meat is actually very, very similar.
The chuck meat comes from the shoulder / neck area vs 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.
🥔 What to Serve with Smoked Chuck Roast
There are times the side dishes are more fun to create than the main dish. These simple recipes will pull your cookout together in no time.
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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.