Smoked Beef Top Round – Smoky, Beefy, Delicious!

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To make a large smoked beef top round in the 5-7 lb range like the one I recommend below, you'll probably have to speak to the butcher and get them to cut one for you. Most of the pieces in the meat department of your local grocer will be much smaller than this.

Season it up with my Texas style rub  and smoke it until it reaches a perfect medium rare for delicious and smoky goodness that won't quit!

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Dry brine: 8-10 hours
  • Cook Time: 4-5 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225-250°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 130°F
  • Recommended Wood: Oak
What You’ll Need
Season/Dry Brine the Beef Top Round

6.5 lb top round ready to be brined/seasoned.


To dry brine is to add salt to the outside of a piece of meat. The salt draws out some of the natural meat juices which then mix with the salt and are drawn back into the meat.

There's a lot of science involved but the main thing is that it works very well on large chunks of beef like this top round.

My process is to coat the meat with my Texas style rub first.

Then, because my Texas style rub has the right amount of salt to season but not enough to actually dry brine the beef perfectly, we add a little more coarse grained kosher salt all over.

Place the top round into a large lidded container or a jumbo zip top bag and put it in the fridge during the brining process.


Let the meat dry brine in the fridge overnight for best results. Remove the meat from the fridge and it is ready for the smoker.


Because the meat is so big, the extra salt does not need to be rinsed off.

Smoke the Top Round

Set up your smoker for cooking at 225-250°F using indirect heat.

If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up with hot water or other liquid of your choice.

Once the smoker is ready, place the meat directly on the smoker grate or you can use a Weber grill pan or Bradley rack to hold it in the smoker and to easily move it back to the kitchen when it's finished cooking.

Keep the smoke going for at least 2 hours if you are using a smoker that uses charcoal, gas or electric for fuel.

I recommend oak for this smoked top round but any smoking wood will work fine.

The cooking process should take about 4-5 hours to reach medium rare (130°F)  but may vary depending on your smoker, how often you open the smoker, the weather, meat thickness and even how cold the meat is when you place it into the smoker.

Here is the meat 4 hours in on my Meadow Creek barbecue smoker:


Be sure to use a digital probe meat thermometer that stays in the meat the entire time it is cooking. I use the Smoke by Thermoworks these days for accurate temperatures.

This allows you to keep the lid closed and still know when the meat needs to be removed from the smoker.

If you want to use an instant read such as the Thermapen or the Thermopop, that will work well also.

When the meat reaches 130°F it has reached medium rare and is the best temperature in my opinion for eating this cut of beef.

Serving the Top Round

Bring the top round into the kitchen and set it on a cutting board, tent some foil over it for about 10-15 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before slicing.


Slice the meat across the grain and serve immediately.


Serve like steaks with mashed potatoes, corn and green beans or you can slice it into thin strips for fajitas, tacos or even toppings for a salad.

4.3 from 19 votes

Smoked Beef Top Round

Smoked beef top round, like most beef, does extremely well in the smoker. It can be cut up like steaks or into strips for use on tacos, salads, fajitas, etc.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 -8



  • Coat beef with Jeff's Texas style rub
  • Add more coarse kosher salt to the meat to help with the dry brining process. See picture in web version of recipe to estimate proper coverage.
  • Place top round into lidded container and place into fridge overnight.
  • When the brining process is complete, remove the top round from the fridge and set aside.
  • Set up smoker for cooking at about 225-250°F with indirect heat.
  • Place the meat on the smoker grate and let it cook for 4-5 hours or until it reaches medium rare (130°F)
  • Use oak smoke for best results but any smoking wood will work fine.
  • Add smoke for at least 2 hours.
  • When the meat is finished cooking, let it rest for about 10 minutes then slice into steaks or strips.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hey Jeff! I’m dry brining right now. Have two of them.. A 4.6 lb and a 3.5 lb roast. I’ll throw them on the Traeger tomorrow for a dinner party for 12 people. I was thinking I would need to sear this on a cast iron skillet first, no? I also really want to try this wrapping in foil and popping in a cooler to keep it hot. Will that overcook the meat? Thank you so much! I’ll make sure to pop back on here with a rating after tomorrow!

    1. You can certainly sear them before you smoke them if you want to, I prefer to sear them at the end. Remove them from the smoker about 20 degrees shy of being done and sear them then. You can then wrap them and place them in a cooler for a good rest and they won’t overcook during the rest. If they go into the cooler at medium rare, that’s how they should come out, nice and juicy. Definitely let me know how it goes!

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe… 5lbs on my rectec bullseye cooked quick at 225… might try low. Awesome for a mushroom swiss steak sandwich on pretzel bun!!! So juicy and delicious! I foiled and put in a small cooler 2 hrs until dinner and all of the juicy stayed in. Also a grill mat really helps keep it from drying out. THANKS

  3. 5 stars
    Made this today after dry brining overnight. Cooked it at 240 degrees in my Rec Tec until an internal temp of 136, roughly 4 hours. I pulled it off then, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, then wrapped that in a towel, then put it into a cooler for 2 hours to rest. When I took it out I checked the temp and it was still 134 degrees. My family loved it! I will definitely make this recipe again! Thanks, Jeff!

  4. 5 stars
    Made this last night on my Traeger Pellet Smoker. Brined my meat over night with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Didn’t add anything else, just popped it in the smoker at 180 for an hour (I am trying to figure out how to get more smoke flavor in my meats, and someone suggested this) then bumped it up to 225 for 2 hours. I only had a 3 pound roast. I took mine to 140, and it was perfect! Thanks for all the tips!

    1. 5 stars
      you only need to drop the Traeger down to 215 to get strong smoke… this wont affect your cook times too much and will prevent the need to bump up the temp to finish the cook!!!

  5. 5 stars
    Dumb question: When the recipe says to add smoke for 2 hours, that means 2 or 4-5 hours of the total medium rare cooking time, NOT an additional 2 hours, right?

    1. You are correct. This time is given for those who do not have wood or pellet smokers. It just means they can add wood chips/chunks for only 2 hours if they like. Longer is fine and more closely simulates a real wood smoker providing there is plenty of airflow into and out of the smoker.

  6. Hey Jeff what would cooking time be if the roast size was 25 to 30 lbs I’m looking to feed up to 50 people . Would you cut the roast into smaller pieces for lower cooking time

    1. I have not cooked a top round of that size as most of them are cut into much smaller roasts of 4 to 7 lbs each. If I had one that size, I would definitely cut it up into at least 4 or 5 roasts so they would cook faster, be easier to slice, each piece would have more seasoning, etc.

      That much cold meat in the smoker is going to increase the cook time a little but probably not more than an hour or so at the most. Remember that time is just an estimate, the roasts are done when they reach your desired done temperature in the thickest part of the meat. I suggest medium rare or about 130 to 135°F maximum.

      Cook time is based on minimum thickness. My roast was 6.5 lbs and the minimum thickness was the distance from top to bottom which was an average of about 4 inches. I would expect any top round roast of this equivalent size to take about 4 to 5 hours to reach medium rare if you maintain 225-250°F in your smoker.

  7. Smoked Beef Top Round -Outstanding.
    I got the butcher at the Farm Fresh to cut a 5 lb roast size hunk of the top round. I followed the instructions and the meat was absolutely perfect. 137 degrees after 4 1/2 hours gave us a juicy medium rare beef. Sliced thin, we’ll have great sandwiches for a couple days. Thanks!