A comforting scent for me, is walking into my mother-in-law’s house and her chuck roast is well into its third hour of braising. The onion, garlic, and pepper draw me into the kitchen, and keeps me there. She has moved around the country several times, but even if she isn’t cooking that roast, the faded scent still lingers as if it was just prepared yesterday. And regardless of which state, or the time of year it is, that smell triggers memories of good times around the dinner table.
I wanted to recreate that scenario, but to copy her system of cooking, just seemed like I was stealing. Plus my forte is the outdoor grill, and smoker. My new goal was to make this recipe mine, by putting a new twist on it. After several tries, I think I managed to find how to make smoked chuck roast.
What is a Chuck Roast?
If you don't know exactly what a chuck is, then look more at the picture below to create an idea from what part of the cow it comes.
The chuck is taken from the upper forefront area of the cow, which is section 1 part of the image down below.
There are three chuck types; the bone chuck steaks, boneless chuck steak and chuck roasts. An average sized chuck roast is probably about 2-3 pounds.
This cut usually looks like a thick steak. It appears a bit more porous than an average steak, and it is often a cheaper cut of meat. This lends to some great experiment time with your smoker. More often than not, a chuck roast is braised or broiled in the oven or crockpot but that doesn’t mean that you can’t easily learn how to smoke it.
How to Choose the Best Cut for Smoking
When you decide to smoke this steak cut, the first thing of course is to get the meat. When we first started trying different recipes, we used the smaller standard sized chuck roasts. This turned out great. The out of pocket cost was great, and it helped us establish a better relationship with our neighbors, who as it turns out, love smoked chuck roasts as much as we do.
As we narrowed down our selection, and started getting a bit more ambitious, we approached our butcher. We told him we wanted something larger than the 3 pounder they were offering in the meat case. We told him that we were getting ready to smoke it and we wanted to feed a lot of people. He came out after a few minutes and presented us with a 7 pound piece of meat to smoke. He opened our eyes to a new name as well, he told us that some people refer to the larger cut as the 7 bone roast.
Along with a standard roast, the 7 bone roast is a little tougher than the more expensive cuts of meat. It’s called the 7 bone roast, because the shoulder bone that it is connected to, is shaped like a ‘7’. However, whichever piece you decide on, either one will taste amazing when smoked properly.
How to Smoke a Chuck Roast
Before you begin with the smoking process, first you have to actually prepare it for smoking.
How to Prepare Chuck Roast for Smoking
You can smoke your chuck roast on the smoker of your choice. We have an electronic smoker and an off-set smoker. We are going to use the off-set model today to smoke our meat. The off-set model keeps the direct heat away from the intended cooking target. This will help you monitor the fire, and regulate as much as you can while avoiding potential mishaps from any flare-ups that might occur.
Required Ingredients and Supplies
After you have considered all the things related to smoking, now it is time to organize your required ingredients and supplies.
Required Ingredients & Supplies
- 3 Pound Chuck Roast
- 1/2 Cup of Kosher Salt (Separated From All Other Ingredients)
- A large pot filled with enough water to submerge your meat
- Cutting Board
- Pan to Hold the Finished Cooked Product
- Hickory Wood (1 ½ Pieces per Hour. We are planning a 4-5 hour cook, so 10 pieces is plenty)
- 2 Tbsp. Coarse Black Pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Paprika
- 2 Tsp. Kosher Salt
- 2 Tsp. Onion Powder
- 1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
- Quick Tip: When smoking anything, the wood you want to use should be seasoned. This means that it has been harvested and set aside to dry out. Smoking any meat or vegetable with fresh moist wood will usually result in an off taste.
After you have collected all the ingredients, now you have to actually prepare the meat for smoking.
First, submerge it in the pot of water and give it a quick rub down.
After you have washed it, pull it out, dry it off completely and apply the 1/2 cup of kosher salt, and set it aside on a plate in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
The salt application will bring out the juices, and it will help to break down the connective tissues, making this tough piece of meat a bit tenderer.
After 45 minutes have passed, rinse off the salt in a pot of water and dry it again.
If you are wondering about trimming your meat, then don't worry as the chuck roast doesn’t require mush additional trimming aside from what the butcher has already done. The fat is evenly dispersed, and will only require a flip during the cooking process to adequately ensure the flavor profile is right.
Now, mix up all the rub ingredients, and apply evenly on the roast. Set this aside on a plate, in the refrigerator again for at least 1 hour.
Preparing Your Smoker and Fire
After 1 hour at the refrigerator, you are getting ready to start smoking.
Start preparing your smoker by starting the fire. It is recommended to start the fire with charcoal. Once the coals have started to turn gray, then add a couple of pieces of wood.
We are suggesting hickory because it is a strong wood to smoke with, and will complement the flavor of the roast nicely. A stronger wood such as mesquite burns fast and hot, and light fruit woods won’t have as much of a flavor impact on this cut of beef. Pecan or post oak are also good woods to use for this recipe.
The recommended temperature is going to be 225°F - 250°F. Once your smoker temperature is there, and your cooking space is adequately filled with smoke, deliver your roast cut to begin smoking.
Ideally you have a thermometer located on the smoker that is close to the cooking surface. This lets you know exactly what temperature your meat is cooking consistently at.
You also want the meat as far away from the fire box as possible to avoid any damage that a flare up could cause. Watch and regulate the temperature in the fire pit with the damper and the chimney cover.
Smoking Your Chuck Roast
After the temperature in your smoker has reached the recommended level, place your chuck roast.
Let it smoke for about 2 hours and you have to be careful to constantly check the smoker temperature to stay at the desired level.
After 2 hours of smoking, flip it over so that the bottom side gets good smoke coverage.
Note: Watch the temperature frequently and avoid opening the cooking surface area as much as possible.
After 2 more hours, check the temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer. Stick it towards the middle of the meat. The recommended internal temperature of 160°F is perfect goal.
Once you arrive at this, your roast is ready to pull off. Remove it from the smoker and wrap in aluminum foil, or place in a covered pan to rest.
We suggest letting the meat rest for a minimum of 30 minutes. This allows the juices in the meat to stop circulating. If you cut into your smoked roast without letting the meat rest the juices will spill out like water through a broken dam. Within minutes your whole roast will dry out.
If you’ve left your meat in the pan, take a fork and start to break it up. With all the fat melted away, and the connective tissue broken down, this meat will just break apart. It will look very much like pulled pork. The juices that are left will keep the roast moist. Unlike other smoked meats, like brisket that has a flat and a point, all the meat from this cut of beef will be similar in taste and texture.
Serving the Cooked Roast
You can decide to eat your perfectly smoked roast with a fork and grilled vegetables, but, I suggest breaking it down and making sandwiches with the meat.
You may not see the distinctive smoke ring around your finished product, but be assured that the smoky flavor has infused its goodness throughout the entire cut of meat. The flavor from the rub and the meats juices should be enough to compliment the sandwich.
If you have a favorite barbecue sauce then apply a little to accentuate the meat. Some people might say if you’re using sauce then you are trying to hide a flavor you don’t like, but you should eat this the way you want.
Build your sandwich with sliced onion rolls. Serve the sandwiches with onion rings, Cole slaw and an Italian vinaigrette potato salad. A room temperature sangria, a slightly chilled porter, or a cold glass of sweet tea will go nicely with this recipe.
Then sit out on the back porch while your friends talk about the delicious meal you prepared. A small slice apple crumb pie and a scoop of ice cream will finish the night completely.
If you followed the steps carefully, smoking this cut of beef can be really fun, relaxing and enjoying a good time with your loved ones.
I hope you enjoyed this article and actually learned how to properly make smoked chuck roast.
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Thank You and Enjoy!