A Smoky Delicacy: Smoked Chuck Roast

June 3, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

Of all the chuck roast recipes, I would have to say that smoked chuck roast is one of my favorites. I first learned to make it from one of my pitmaster friends and I have been playing around with the recipe ever since.

Here is the version that I love the most and would like to share with you!

A Smoky Delicacy Smoked Chuck Roast

Smoked Chuck Roast Recipe


  • 3 - 5lb of beef chuck roast
  • 1 tbs. of kosher salt
  • 1 tbs. of coarse black pepper
  • 1 tbs. of garlic powder
Smoked Chuck Roast Recipe


Step 1

Pat the beef chuck roast dry with paper towels.

Combine the seasonings in a small bowl.

Take a pinch at a time and sprinkle liberally over the chuck roast until the entire cut is covered.

Place in the refrigerator uncovered for between one hour to overnight.

Step 2

Take the chuck roast out of the refrigerator 20 to 45 minutes before it is meant to be smoked.

Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F.

Step 3

Place the roast in the smoker and smoke chuck roast until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. This may take 2 to 3 hours.

Take the chuck roast out of the smoker and wrap in aluminum foil or butcher paper tightly.

Place the chuck roast back in the smoker and cook until the internal temperature reaches 205 for sliced smoked and 210 degrees F for pulled beef. This may take another 2 to 3 hours.

Take the smoked beef chuck roast out and let rest for up to 15 minutes.

roasting meat

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Choosing Chuck Roast

As you are probably already aware, chuck roast is a tougher cut of meat. It is taken from the cow's shoulder - a heavily exercised muscle. Despite the toughness of the beef chuck roast, it is actually quite flavorful. It is also sometimes referred to as a pot roast.

Now when choosing chuck roast for smoking, I would suggest looking for a good butcher who can provide you with a good cut of meat. Otherwise, you will end up with a tough and gristly cut that can be difficult to cook down.

With this cut, it isn't time to be paying attention to nutrition, calories, or fat content. Instead, look for a cut with a good amount of marbling. This fat will melt and add tenderness and flavor to your smoked chuck roast.

The other thing to consider when selecting the right cut for your smoked chuck roast recipe is the size. Now, usually I like to go smaller. One advantage of doing so is that you get to cut down on the price. The other benefit is that the smoked beef chuck roast cooks faster.

If you are cooking for a crowd, I would suggest buying two or smaller chuck roasts instead of a larger cut to ensure that you don't spend all days smoking the meat.

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Should You Dry Brine the Beef Chuck Roast?

Now, typically I do like to dry brine most meats that I smoke. And, in the case of the tough cut chuck roast, it can help to tenderize and add flavor to the meat.

When making smoked chuck roast, though, I like to let combine all the ingredients of the dry rub and let it sit on the chuck roast overnight instead of only using kosher salt. This appears to be a more effective method for improving the flavor of the meat.

chuck roast burger

So, how long should the ingredients sit on the chuck roast for?

Well, this is up to you. If you are short on time, you can actually apply the roast and immediately pop the chuck roast in the smoker. Personally, though, let it sit for at least four hours. Usually, overnight is best.

If you do want the best tasting smoked chuck roast, I would suggest taking this brining/marinating time into consideration when calculating how long the cook will take. It will be certainly worth the additional time.

Seasoning the Beef Chuck Roast

As I am sure you will have noticed, I have used a minimum number of ingredients in my dry rub for this smoked chuck roast recipe. This is common for Texas style smoked chuck roast.

The chuck roast is a pretty great tasting cut all on its own. Due to this, I don't feel the need to add too many other spices and herbs into the mix.

Of course, some people love a lot of flavor with their smoked chuck roast recipe. If this is true for you too, then you can try cayenne pepper, chili powder, and even oregano or other herbs if you like.

What I would suggest is first trying out the basic seasoning mix and seeing if you like it. Only if you feel like something is lacking should you add more ingredients to your smoked chuck roast beef rub.

Should You Bind Your Chuck Roast?

There are some people who tie their roast using twine before the smoking process. So, is this something that you should do as well?

Well, this all depends on the cut of chuck roast or pot roast that you have bought.

Some cuts have a more uniform and firmer structure to them. Due to this, they don't spread out much when laid flat. Test out whether your chuck roast falls into this category by laying it on a cutting board. If it maintains its shape and structure, then you don't need to bind it.

However, if the cut appears to be rather gelatinous, then it will benefit from being bound. The advantage of doing so is twofold. First, it will ensure that the meat will hold its shape, offering up a better presentation.

Furthermore, it will also smoke more evenly, ensuring that the entire chuck roast will be cooked through at the same time.

To begin with, tie one or two pieces of twine around the circumference of the roast. Then, wrap around four pieces of twine around the width of the roast. Leave about a 2 inch interval between each piece.

Choosing Your Wood Chips

For that perfect smoked flavor, you are going to need to choose the right wood chips for your smoked roast.

Now, the good news is that chuck roast is a pretty robust cut of meat. As such, it can hold up well to stronger flavors. This is why I would suggest either mesquite or hickory for that beautiful smoky flavor.

Just remember that these wood chips can have an incredibly strong taste. Due to this, use them with caution as adding too much to the mix can leave your smoked chuck roast recipe tasting rather bitter. Make sure to use plenty of oak wood as well.

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Selecting the Smoking Temperature

As chuck roast is such a tough cut of meat, it benefits from a low and slow cooking process. Therefore, it is best to opt for a far lower temperature on your pellet smoker - while I have found 225 degrees F to be ideal, you can even go as low as 200 degrees F.

While this means that your smoked chuck roast will take longer to cook, the added bonus is that you end up with a truly tender piece of meat.

person in black doing bbq

If you are using a charcoal grill, then make sure to place the chuck roast on the indirect heat side of the grill - well away from the hot coals.

Internal Temperature and Level of Doneness

The other thing to keep in mind is that when you smoke a chuck roast, you also have to smoke the meat for a longer period of time. This is because this cut has a lot of sinewy muscle and connective tissue.

Thus, the meat needs to cook down for a longer period of time to ensure that you get tender smoked chuck roast. Unlike when making smoked brisket or other smoked meats, the worst thing that you can do here is to take your chuck roast off the smoker too soon.

Pay attention to your instant read meat thermometer and only take out the chuck roast when the meat temp registers well above 200 degrees F.

If you want smoked chuck roast for slicing, then take it off when the internal temperature registers between 203 and 205 degrees F. For pulled beef, the meat needs to be even more tender, so the internal temperature should be around 210 degrees F.

Dealing with the Stall

At around an internal temperature of 150 to 160 degrees F, your chuck roast will hit what is known as the stall. This is unlikely to happen with smaller cuts of meat but if your roast is around 5lbs or so, then this may happen.

At this internal temperature that the meat begins to undergo a process that is known as evaporative cooling. After the roast is smoked for a while, it begins to sweat. As the water and juices evaporate, the air around the meat begins to lower.

In turn, this causes the smoking process to come to a halt or slow down. The stall can last for up to 6 hours at a time. This means that your chuck roast can take 6 hours longer to cook.

Fortunately, there is something that you can do to overcome this phenomenon. It is known as the Texas Crutch. Here, you wrap the meat. This creates a barrier, cutting down on the evaporation and forcing the temperature around the chuck roast to start rising again. As such, it begins to cook once more.

I should mention that not everyone is a fan of the Texas Crutch. This is because while it speeds up the cooking process, wrapping the meat can also mess with the bark, making it softer and not as crusty.

If this is something that you are concerned as well, then you can let the roast push past the stall on its own. In case you are planning on doing this, then make sure to start the cook about 6 or so hours earlier than you intend on having the meat ready.

How to Wrap Chuck Roast?

You have two options when it comes to wrapping material - aluminum foil or butcher paper. My personal favorite is the paper.

Now, aluminum foil does an excellent job of insulating the roast. In fact, with foil, you can overcome the stall even faster and finish cooking the meat even more quickly.

The only downside is that the aluminum foil is completely impenetrable and doesn't allow any of the moisture to escape. As such, it is trapped inside the packet, causing the bark to become rather soggy.

The paper, on the other hand, is more permeable. This does mean that it will take longer to cook the roast but at least your bark will be in better shape.

Now, when you wrap the roast, make sure to do so tightly. You should be able to clearly see the outline of the cut once you are done. If this isn't the case, undo the wrapping and try it again. If the wrapping is to loose, then you won't be able to overcome the stall as quickly as you would like.

Resting the Roast

As the roast is quite tough, resting it properly is key. Now, if you are planning on cutting and serving the meat soon after it is done resting, then you can simply place it on the cutting board and let it be.

If you aren't sure when your guests will be showing up, though, I would suggest using a faux Cambro to keep the meat in until it is time to serve it. As long as the roast is warm, it will be tender. Let it cool too much and you end up with tough meat.

beef chuck roast with veggies

With a faux Cambro, you need to fill a cooler up with several gallons of hot water, close the lid and leave it for about half an hour. Then, empty out the cooler, place rolled up towels around the cooler, keep the wrapped roast in the middle, and close the lid.

Only open it when you are planning on serving the slices or pulled beef.

If all this feels like too much work, then simply tent the roast in foil once you remove it from the smoker. This will help to maintain some heat and moisture around the beef.

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A Note About Slicing Chuck Roast

Never slice the roast unless you are planning on serving it right there. This meat dries out incredibly fast and unless you want all your hard work to go to waste, make sure to slice it up at the right time.

And, don't just cut the beef. Instead, take a close look at it before slicing into it. Make sure that you take notice of the direction of the grain and then cut against it. This helps to create a more tender result.

The other tip is to only ever cut as much as you are planning on using in that moment. It is far better to store the smoked beef for later as a solid portion than slices.

Storing the Roast for Later

If you are planning on using the leftovers in a few days time, then it is enough to simply refrigerate the dish. Place it in an airtight container and take out and reheat when needed.

In case you will not be using it any time soon, freeze the roast. First wrap it in plastic wrap tightly to prevent freezer burn. Then, put it in a Ziploc bag or airtight container.

It is a good idea to write the date on the container in marker as this dish is best consumed within a month or two. Writing down the date will ensure that you cook it before the taste and texture are affected.

Make sure to defrost the beef in the refrigerator completely before attempting to reheat it.

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Tips About Making Pulled Beef

If you want to make pulled smoked beef, then you are going to need a more tender result. Now, you already know that you have to keep the roast in until the internal temperature reaches 210 degrees F.

However, there are a few other changes that you may want to make For instance, after about three hours of smoking, take the roast out. Prepare an aluminum pan with sliced onions and about two cups of beef broth. Place the beef in the pan and then smoke until done.

When the roast reaches the stall, wrap the entire pan in foil and continue to cook until done.

Wrapping It Up

Now you know exactly how to smoke a chuck roast the right way. All that is left for you to do is to put this knowledge to good use! Go ahead - what are you waiting for?

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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