Most of the time when you think of smoked beef, your mind goes to brisket but if you have not tried a smoked chuck roast then you are missing out. Completely tender and moist and pulls like a pork butt when you cook it long enough.
I normally see these in the store at 2-3 lb sections so if you want a big one in the 8-10 lb range you usually have to let the butcher know so he can cut it for you special.
Cooking the larger, thicker pieces keeps them from drying out and helps you to end up with a really nice finished product that is so tender and juicy you'll have a hard time believing it's beef.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12-20 hours (depends on weight and thickness)
Remove chuck roast from packaging and rinse under cold water
Apply some yellow mustard to the top of the chuck roast. This is only to help the rub to stick and it does not taste like mustard when it's finished cooking.
Be sure to rub it onto all sides including the bottom of the roast.
Sprinkle my rub onto the roast and massage it in all over making sure to get it into all of the folds and crevices of meat.
Get the Smoker Ready
Set up your smoker for cooking at about 235°F. This will be a long cooking session so if you are using a charcoal smoker, you may want to set it up using the minion method.
A gas or electric smoker will work fine as well as long as you keep the heat right and continue to provide smoking chips or chunks so that the smoke keeps flowing for about 6 – 8 hours. I use a small smoke generator called the amazen pellet smoker in my small electric, gas and charcoal smokers when I don't have the time to be right there every minute adding more chips.
The Amazen smoker is a contraption that looks like a maze. It is filled with pellets and simply sits on your smoker grate. When lit, it provides smoke for 6-8 hours or longer depending on which size and model you are using.
This is the 5 x 8 model and smokes for up to 11 hours unassisted.
There is also one that is tube shaped and takes up a smaller amount of space. This particular one is 12 inches long and when filled with pellets and lit, will smoke for up to 4 hours without assistance.
Just a really nice option if you are looking for something that will eliminate the need to constantly add chips to your small electric, gas or charcoal smoker.
Smoke the Chuck Roast
Place the chuck roast directly on the smoker grate.
Use the water pan if you have one in your smoker.
Let it smoke cook for about 1.5 to 2 hours per lb or until it reaches 195°F in the center.
While weight is what we use to estimate the time, thickness is a big factor. My chuck roast, while only 8 lbs, was more than 6 inches thick and took nearly 20 hours to reach 195°F in the center of the thickest part.
Even though it takes longer to cook, the thicker pieces of meat tend to dry out a lot less in my experience than pieces that are less thick.
You can wrap the meat in foil once it reaches about 160 °F to help speed things up a little bit and to power it through that stall period where it seems to get stuck.
Rest the Chuck Roast
For an even better finished product, wrap the roast in foil once it's finished (if you haven't done so already). Wrap a thick towel around it and place it into an empty ice chest like the ones you put ice and drinks into when you're going to the lake.
Fill in any remaining space with more towels, blankets, etc. and leave it for at least an hour. It will stay hot for up to 4 hours so this is a great method to use if you need to prepare the meat then travel with it to another location.
This is called the resting period and allows the juices which have been forced to the edge of the meat to flow back to where they came from toward the center.
Pull and/or Chop the Chuck Roast
Once the resting period is over, open the foil that the meat is being held in and let it cool for a few minutes. I highly recommend a good set of silicon gloves that are heat resistant so you don't burn your fingers. That meat gets HOT and stays HOT for a very long time.
Pull the meat apart into chunks then further pull the chunks apart into pieces that are the size that you want them to be. Take a little extra time to remove any large clumps of fat and gelatinous substances that you run across.
Another common way to handle smoked chuck roast is to use a cleaver or sharp knife to chop the long bundles of tender beef strands into much shorter pieces.
Put the finished, ready to eat product into a foil pan or other container.
When you are done pulling and chopping, sprinkle a good bit of my rub over the top and then mix it in for some of the best beef you've ever tasted.
Will I experience a time when the temperature just stops rising for several hours like on other large pieces of meat?
Most likely you will and it usually happens between 150-160°F . This is called a stall and it happens to the best of us.
To speed things up, wrap the roast in foil or place it in a foil pan and cover with foil once it reaches about 160 °F in the thickest part.
This will almost always either prevent the stall or at least make it a lot less severe.
So is it “bad” to transfer the chuck roast to the oven once it reaches about 160°F?
Of course not.
If you decide to wrap the chuck roast in foil once it reaches 160 °F, it no longer matters where the heat is coming from. The meat is wrapped so smoke is not getting in. The oven is a completely acceptable heat source for the meat.
If you do decide to finish in the oven, place it in a foil or other oven proof pan and cover with foil to prevent the meat juices and rendered fat from leaking into the oven.
Can I crank the heat up to get this thing done faster?
You certainly can but you have to remember that rubs such as mine, with sugar in them, will burn. Also, great things happen to these large cuts of meat when it's cooked slowly so, don't rush the goodness.
If you are dead set on racing through the process, just do so with care and, while it will probably end up ok, I can't promise it will turn out as good as when it's cooked nice and slow.
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Smoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.
It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.