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 (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled 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.
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 TS120P 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.
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.