Note: This dry brining process simply seasons the inside of the meat and because it works so well, I recommend it highly. I don't like things overly salty and this creates a very well balanced, perfectly seasoned piece of meat throughout. I still use my rubs on the outside and it balances very well with the seasoning that is inside.
Place the chuck roasts on a cookie sheet or a couple of plates and sprinkle kosher salt onto the top sides. There's no specific top or bottom so whichever side is facing up will be deemed the top side.
When you dry brine, you don't want to completely cover the meat with salt but you don't want to be scared to use it either. Be generous but not too generous.
You can see the salt coverage by looking at the picture below. Most professional chefs recommend ½ teaspoon per lb of meat if you want to measure it.
Once the salt is added, set the plates uncovered into the fridge for about 2 hours.
After only about 20 minutes or so, the salt will be completely melted and the slurry that has formed on the top will begin to be drawn into the meat.
After a 2 hour dry brining process on the “top” side, we'll remove the meat from the fridge, flip it over and add the same generous portion of salt to the new side.
The 2nd side of this dry brining process can go anywhere from 4 hours to overnight. Mine was overnight so I went ahead and just placed them in a bowl with a lid. You could also just use the same plates you used for side 1.
It is usually important to use something on the meat to help the rub to stick better. The list of things that you can use is long and exhaustive but some of my favorites are olive oil and yellow mustard.
These two are exactly what we are going to use.
The olive oil works best with the Texas style rub and the mustard works great with the original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub).
Brush oil onto the top and sides of one of the chuck roasts then do the same with yellow mustard onto the other one. It is now set in stone which one will be the sweet and spicy and which one will be savory only.
Sprinkle a healthy dose of my Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) onto the oiled chuck roast making sure to get the rub on the top as well as the sides of the roast.
Apply the Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) to the mustard coated chuck roast. Once again be sure to apply it to the top and the sides.
Let the meat sit until it begins to get a “wet” look meaning the rub is absorbing some of the juices from the meat and then flip them over to apply rub to the bottom side.
Apply the Texas style rub and Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) to the correct chuck roasts to finish the seasoning process.
They are now ready for the smoker and should be left sitting while you go get the smoker ready.
See how the rubs absorbed the juices from the meat while I was getting the smoker ready?
Setup your smoker for cooking at about 225-240°F using indirect heat and pecan wood for smoke if available. Any other smoking wood will work just fine.
If your smoker has a water pan, fill it up.
Once your smoker is up to temperature, the smoking process can begin.
Place the chuck roasts on a Bradley rack, cooling rack or a Weber grill pan if you wish to make it easier to transport the meat to and from the smoker.
You can also just set the chuck roasts right on the smoker grate.
Let them smoke cook for 4 hours or until they reach about 160°F. This time will vary depending on how thick the roasts are and how cold they are when they first go into the smoker. If you have the “Smoke” thermometer by Thermoworks, you can just set an alarm to let you know once that temperature is acquired.
At 160°F, the smoked chuck roasts need to be wrapped, preferably in 30-inch kraft paper. You can also purchase 18-inch kraft paper as well for smaller items.
So what's the big deal about wrapping in paper vs. wrapping with foil or just placing it in a foil pan?
When you wrap briskets, chuck roasts, etc. in foil, the meat ends up very moist but you can tell it's been braised. This is because of all the steaming action that happens inside the foil.. it just can't breathe.
With the paper, it is able to breathe while still holding in some of the moisture to keep it from drying out. It even lets a little smoke through and the paper does a great job of soaking up any extra grease.
With paper, the bark remains firm instead of soft and mushy like it does with foil.
Many famous barbecue restaurants use paper during the last few hours of cooking briskets and for holding them.. they do this because it works very well.
So there you have it, try using brown kraft paper if you haven't and It think you'll love the results you get.
Once you get the chuck roasts wrapped in paper, poke the thermometer probe through the paper into the meat so you'll know exactly when the meat is finished.
Continue to cook the chuck roasts wrapped in the smoker until they reach about 200°F.
At this point, it is best if you can hold them in a empty ice chest or let the heat in the smoker decrease to about 150-170°F and hold them there for a couple of hours. This resting period is almost magical and does wonders for large cuts like brisket, pork butt and even chuck roasts.
Note: you can also set your oven to 170°F and let the smoked chuck roasts rest in there, still wrapped in paper and on a sheet pan of course.
See how the paper soaked up a lot of the juice. In turn it sort of self bastes during the resting period.. these babies were juicy!
After the resting period, remove them from the paper and slice the chuck roast across the grain with a very sharp knife or you can pull/chop the meat for pulled beef sandwiches.
Mine was literally fall-apart tender which is what I wanted and the flavor was absolutely incredible.. I was literally salivating while I took the pictures.
Be sure to let me know whether you liked the Texas style or the original sweet and spicy best. I think I preferred the original over the Texas style on these but it's a very close call.