can you smoke a roast beef

Place unwrapped roast in the smoker. Cook for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature at the thickest portion of the beef reaches 180-190°F. Remove smoked beef roast from the smoker and wrap in a layer of aluminum foil. Allow the meat to rest for about 30 minutes before slicing.

For barbecue beginners and those with small households, the idea of smoking an entire beef brisket can be daunting, expensive, and potentially wasteful. Clever pitmasters reach for brisket’s little brother—the chuck roast, for an inexpensive, entry-level cut of meat, which delivers a very similar eating experience in a smaller package.

As a Texas chef and caterer, I’ve smoked many beef chuck roasts through the years and this step-by-step tutorial will reveal the secrets to ultra juicy meat and excellent smoke flavor that anyone can replicate in their own backyard.

This step-by-step tutorial will help you easily master smoked chuck roast, and here is what we will cover.

The first thing you’ll need to know is how long to smoke chuck roast per pound, as well as what temperature to maintain in your smoker for the perfect cook.

Smoked Roast Beef Cuts

We refer to this group of roasts as the roast beef cuts because they are usually served the same way roast beef is served, sliced relatively thin, and used as a main course or on sandwiches. The group includes eye of round, top round, bottom round, and rump roasts.

Taken from the hindquarters, these cuts are relatively lean and among the most economical. They are often available at grocery stores and butcher shops in the 2 to 5-pound range. They are best smoked low and slow to keep them tender and juicy. The lack of fat and connective tissue means these cuts are easy to dry out if overcooked.

The roasts generally take 30 to 35 minutes per pound using a smoking temperature of 225℉ (107℃).

These cuts can be seasoned in a million different ways. We love to smoke them using traditional roast beef flavors, or if it’s being served at a party, we use more barbecue forward flavors.

For more on traditional flavors, check out our favorite Roast Beef recipe, which has lots of information on classic flavors and techniques for tender oven-roasted roast beef.

Chuck roasts are a versatile cut from the shoulder and upper arm area. It’s a cut that excels at slow cooking, allowing the meat to break down into fork-tender pieces, especially when it’s braised as a pot roast.

Smoking a chuck roast is a simple way to smoke beef that is similar in flavor and texture to brisket without having to go through the process of smoking a full-size brisket for 12 to 18 hours.

can you smoke a roast beef

A well-marbled cut, beef chuck roasts excel at absorbing the flavor from the smoke and long cook times that allow the fat and connective tissue to break down, creating tender, juicy meat with deep rich flavors.

The longer cook times, when paired with enough time to rest at the end, allow the beef to be served in long thin slices the same way a smoked brisket is sliced against the grain.

Smoked chuck roasts can also be braised in the smoker using an aluminum foil pan and some liquid for shredded beef that will be used for barbecue sandwiches, tacos, burritos, and more.

Chuck roasts are usually smoked at 225℉ (107℃) for 2 hours per pound or 1.5 hours per pound at 250℉ (121℃). Smoked chuck roasts should be rested for at least 30 minutes, with some recipes calling for a minimum of an hour, wrapped in pink butcher paper or aluminum foil.

The target internal temperature for chuck roasts being served in thin slices is 195℉ (91℃) to 200℉ (93℃). For chuck roasts that will be pulled or shredded, the internal temperature should be closer to 205℉ (96℃) before the meat easily pulls apart.

The granddaddy of smoked beef is a whole brisket. A brisket is a primal cut that comes from the chest area and is often divided into two sections, called the point and the flat.

In some parts of the country, namely Texas, smoked brisket borders on a religion, similar to smoked pork ribs or whole hog in parts of the Southeast.

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)

The majority of smoked brisket recipes recommend smoking it until the internal temperature reaches between 195℉ (91℃) and 205℉ (96℃), with 203℉ (95℃) being the magic number, before taking the brisket out of the smoker and allowing it to rest for at least an hour. Many experienced pitmasters rest their brisket still wrapped in butcher paper in an insulated cooler for hours before slicing.

Try our Sous Vide Brisket recipe for a different take on cooking a smaller piece of brisket.

When it comes to the wow factor, there are very few things as impressive as carving thick slices of smoked prime rib for your guests at the dinner table. In this case, the term prime refers to a large piece of beef coming from the primal rib and not from the grade of the beef.

Since the whole cut, including ribs, can weigh up to 30 lbs, it is almost always broken down into smaller cuts that are often labeled as prime rib, rib roast, standing rib roast, or ribeye roast.

Among the most expensive cuts of beef, prime rib has a unique combination of flavor and texture, making it highly sought after by restaurants and caters.

Since it is often prepared and served in large thick slices, a well-seasoned crisp crust helps create a contrast in flavor and texture to the well-marbled interior, elevating the dish’s overall flavor.

The recommended time and temperature for smoking a ribeye roast at 225℉ (107℃) is 35 to 40 minutes per pound plus 30 minutes of resting.

This is one of those large cuts where diners’ preferences are likely to range from bloody rare to medium-well, which can be challenging to do with a single piece of meat.

For a medium-rare roast, take it out of the smoker when the internal temperature is between 132℉ (55℃) and 137℉ (58℃). A good tip is to target the middle of the roast to diners who prefer rare to medium rare and save the ends for the people who prefer their beef more well-done.

How to Tell When a Smoked Beef Roast is Done

There are some differences between smoked beef roasts and those that are slow-roasted in the oven or cooked sous vide.

In our testing, we’ve found that smoking a beef roast takes between 30 to 35 minutes per pound and that they should be taken out of the smoker when the internal temp reaches between 137℉ (58℃) and 142°F (61℃), depending on the size of the roast and the desired level of doneness.

We take smoked roasts off at a slightly higher temperature than those cooked in the oven because the lower temperature in the smoker means it takes longer to cook through the roast, and it will have less carryover cooking than one roasted in the oven.

When it comes to smoking meat, we recommend using a digital thermometer with a probe inserted into the middle of the roast and setting an oven thermometer next to it to have an accurate reading of the smoking temperature.

can you smoke a roast beef

If you don’t have all day, you can smoke a roast between 250℉ (121℃) and 275℉ (135℃) and still have delicious roast beef; it just won’t be quite as tender as one cooked at a lower temperature.

The following temperature chart works for the roast beef cuts and smoked prime rib group. Refer to the chuck roast and brisket sections for temperature recommendations for those cuts.

Doneness Description Temperature Range
Very Rare Very red, bloody, and cold Below 125℉ (52℃)
Rare Cold red center & soft to the touch 125℉ (52℃) to 134℉ (56℃)
Medium Rare Warm red center, firmer with a bit of spring 135℉ (57℃) to 144℉ (62℃)
Medium Pink all the way through & firm to the touch 145℉ (63℃) to 155℉ (68℃)
Well Done 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

Where To Buy A Chuck Roast

Fortunately, chuck roast is one of the easiest cuts of beef to find. Since it is essentially the same cut as pot roast you can find it at basic grocery stores and certainly your favorite butcher shop or big box stores like Costco and Sam’s Club carry chuck roast.

Like any cut of beef, the grades go in this ascending order – Select, Choice, Prime

can you smoke a roast beef

Choice is the lowest grade but what most of us will be purchasing at our local grocery store. Select or Prime can be found in specialty grocers and Costco. Higher grades of meat are associated with better flavor and tenderness, but with chuck roast, a choice grade cut is perfectly suitable for smoking.

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Place unwrapped roast in the smoker. Cook for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature at the thickest portion of the beef reaches 180-190°F. Remove smoked beef roast from the smoker and wrap in a layer of aluminum foil. Allow the meat to rest for about 30 minutes before slicing.

FAQ

Is it good to smoke a beef roast?

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.

How long does it take to smoke beef in a smoker?

Season beef cuts generously; refrigerate 12 hours. Preheat smoker to 225°F for 30 minutes. Smoke 6 to 8 hours.

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