A Top Recipe: Smoked Bottom Round Roast

May 25, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

Especially as a poor culinary student, I made the affordable smoked bottom round roast rather often. As such, I had plenty of practice learning how to make it taste as good as possible.

Now, I can share the fruits of my labor with you. Let’s begin!

Smoked bottom round roast

Understanding a Beef Bottom Round Roast

Before we move onto making smoked bottom round roast, I would like to discuss the beef bottom round roast cut with you first. This beef roast comes from the round primal cut, from the rump and the legs. It is sometimes referred to as a rump roast as well – this is the cut of beef that is used for pot roast.

The most important thing to know about round roast beef is that it is an incredibly lean piece of meat. It is taken from an area of the cow that also gets a lot of exercise. As such, the meat can be tough.

Due to these properties, you have to be careful about preparing this smoked beef roast. Cook it at too high of a temperature or for too long and this meat can end up tough and unappetizing. You get the best results with low and slow cooking.

Beef toast on wooden chopping board

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Can You Dry Brine Beef Bottom Round Roast?

You will often find that leans cuts like the bottom round roasts respond well to a good salt dry brine. This is because this technique ensures that the smoked roast beef holds onto moisture throughout the smoking process.

This results in a juicier smoked bottom round roast.

What’s more, this also works to dry out the surface of the cut of beef so that you can get a crispy exterior. This complements the softer, pink middle well.

How to Dry Brine Bottom Round Roast?

Always use kosher salt to brine the beef bottom round roast. You can also sprinkle on coarsely ground black pepper at the same time as well or apply it later with the rest of the rub ingredients. This choice is entirely up to you.

Take a pinch of salt between your fingers and raise your hand several inches above the bottom round roast beef. Sprinkle the salt. Do this until every inch of the surface is covered. Press into the flesh, flip over, and repeat this action.

Place in the refrigerator uncovered for several hours or overnight.

Smoked Bottom Round Roast Recipe


  • 3 lbs. of bottom round roast
  • 4 tbs. of yellow mustard

Dry Rub

  • 1 tbs. of ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. of onion powder
  • 1.5 tsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. of kosher salt
Smoked Bottom Round Roast Recipe


Step 1

Mix the ingredients of the dry rub in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Take the bottom round roast out of the refrigerator up to 40 minutes prior to smoking.

Apply the mustard onto the round roast beef and then sprinkle on the rub. Press into the flesh so that it will stick.

Step 2

Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F.

Step 3

Place the bottom round roast on the smoker rack.

Close the lid and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees F. This can take a little over 90 minutes.

Take the cooked bottom round roast beef out of the smoker and place on a clean cutting board to rest for up to 15 minutes.

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Choosing Your Dry Rub

As you will have seen with this recipe I have kept the spice rub fairly simple. This is because I want the natural beefy flavor of this beef roast cut to really shine through.

Now, for ease, I prefer using dried ingredients such as garlic powder and onion powder. If you want, though, some prefer to use chopped fresh garlic instead.

Roasted Meat over a Wooden Tray

I would advise you to stick to a simple mix for your first smoked bottom round roast beef. Once you have tasted these results, you can then decide to add or omit components based on this.

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Using Mustard as a Binding Agent

Personally, I find the taste of mustard and smoked beef to be a wonderful combination. This is why Ii use it to get the spices to the stick to the beef bottom round roast.

If you aren’t a big fan of mustard, then you can use olive oil instead. To be honest, though, I don’t really like using oil here. This is because you have worked hard to create a crispier, drier exterior and the oil can compromise this.

There is also the fact that I find that oil doesn’t get the job done as well as mustard. Of course, it is all about what you prefer working with.

What Wood Chips Should You Use?

The key to smoking beef to perfection is choosing the right wood chips or pellets. This ensures that you get the smoky flavor just right.

For beef bottom round roast, mesquite or hickory work quite well. These do produce a more potent smoke but the roast beef flavor holds up well to this.

At the same time, I would be careful to not use too many wood chips of these hardwoods as it can result in a bitter taste. Make sure to top up the hopper with a lot of oak wood. You can even balance it out with a little bit of sweetness from apple or cherry.

If you are working with an electric smoker, it is a good idea to use a smoke box. This will mimic the smoky flavor that is created with a charcoal and pellet grill.

Maintaining the Smoking Temperature

As you will have seen in this recipe, I have set the temperature to 225 F degrees. I suggest you follow this guideline as well. This is because you have to be very careful about not cooking the meat at a too-high temperature.

You can take it up to 250 degrees F if you want but you should definitely not go any higher than this. The higher you go, the greater the risk of drying out the smoked roast beef.

It isn’t just about selecting a lower temperature – you also have to maintain it at the same temperature for the rest of the cook. One way to keep the temperature low is to place a water pan in the smoker.

Your other option is to get a hood thermometer. Many modern smokers already have one. In my experience, though, many of these aren’t as accurate as you would like them to be. As a result, it can be easy to get the cooking rate wrong.

It is a good idea to buy a secondary thermometer and attach this to the hood. In general, this practice comes in handy when cooking meats that need to be cooked low and slow.

Person smoking meat with food tong

Paying Attention to Internal Temperature

A 3lb roast beef can take up to 2 hours to cook. If you smoke the beef at anything higher than 250F, it may be faster than this.

Regardless, it is important to track the internal temperature of the meat every step of the way with a probe thermometer. This ensures that you can take the bottom round roast off the smoker the moment that it hits a medium rare temp.

While you can wait until the internal temp gets to the medium rare point, I would suggest taking it off the heat a little bit earlier too – around 125 degrees F.

Now, don’t worry – your beef will not be undercooked. Rather, a process known as carryover cooking will take place once the meat is no longer in the smoker. During this, the meat can go up as much as 10 degrees. Doing this cuts down on the risk of overcooking your roast beef.

Resting the Smoked Beef

With this cut of beef, you can’t afford to not rest the meat. During this period, the smoked beef is able to reabsorb all the liquid and juices that have been squeezed out during the smoking process.

Given the leanness and toughness of the beef, it is a good idea to tent the bottom round roast while it is resting. This involves loosely wrapping it in foil so that the moisture from the escaping heat is trapped, softening the meat further.

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Slicing the Roast

You will have probably noticed that sliced roast beef is often cut quite thin. This has to do with the texture of this cut.

For the best tasting and moistest result, you need to cut this smoked meat into as thin slices as possible. The finer they are, the better. You will then pile these slices on top of one another when serving them.

The other thing to do is to slice against the grain here. Look for the strands of meat running lengthwise on the cut. Once you have identified them, cut in the opposite direction to these strands.

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How to Serve and Eat Smoked Roast?

The best way to enjoy this dish is to use it in a sandwich. I would say that you should top it off with a creamy, zesty sauce, add some fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce all wrapped in a kaiser or crusty roll.

A French dip sandwich is also a popular option. Here, the filling of the sandwiches is simpler, but the entire roll is dipped into au jus.

If you are looking to get creative, then go ahead and make tacos out of this meat too. In fact, the options are endless.

Of course, after all that hard work, you may be looking for a more simple way to eat the smoked round roast. If you want to ensure that the lovely smoky flavor of the meat stands out, then you are going to want it to be the main dish.

In this case, the top side dishes could be mashed potatoes, grits, or even creamed spinach. Roasted, grilled, or smoked veggies will work well too.

When serving the bottom round roast, it is best to only slice as much as you need. Keep the rest of the of hunk intact. This is because it is far better for you to store the meat this way. It is more likely to retain its flavor, texture, and moisture.

There are also plenty of ideas to consider for leftovers. Go ahead and cube the meat and add it homemade chili. It works just as well in a beef stew, adding an interesting hint of smokiness to the dish.

You can also slice the roast beef thinly and throw it in your breakfast hash. Or, fry up some onions, peppers, top off with cheese and enjoy a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.

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Wrapping It Up

With the right ingredients, cuts, and techniques, making the perfect smoked bottom roast is a breeze! Now that you know the tricks of the trade, making your very own version is going to be easier than you could have possibly imagined.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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