One of my favorite things in this world is a perfectly cooked tough piece of beef. A tough piece of beef you say? Absolutely; when perfectly cooked it can become the most tender and juicy beef you’ve ever had. Here, we are going to smoke a chuck roast.
Cooking a tough piece of meat, like a chuck roast or brisket, requires a lot of low n’ slow and sometimes wrapping or braising. In this recipe, we are going to smoke and braise for an incredibly juicy and tender hunk o’ beef perfect for pulling/shredding for tacos or Chipotle bowls.
About Chuck Roast
A little about chuck roasts… these large pieces of meat from the shoulder are a heavily worked muscle within the cow. As such, any muscle that is heavily worked tends to be very lean.
The muscle fibers are connected by collagen, and it is the collagen that we wish to slowly melt… it is what gives the beef the tenderness and flavor. Most people think that if you have a dry and tough chuck roast it is because it was over cooked. It’s actually the opposite; If you find that your chuck roast is dry and tough, you didn’t cook it enough!
Chuck roast is one of the most forgiving pieces of beef out there that is generally immune to over seasoning and temperature swings. It is really hard to overcook a chuck roast!
Picking out a chuck roast
Generally known as the poor man’s brisket, a chuck roast will generally cost about $4-$6 per pound (2021). It’s generally the equivalent of ground beef, as this is where most ground beef comes from. It shrinks when you cook it, so it usually doesn’t make the best burgers.
When you are picking one out, you want to get a roast that is at least 3 lbs, minimum of 1.5 inches thick, and as much marbling as you can get. See below for what I consider an ideal looking roast… perfect color, great marbling, very thick.
Prepping this roast couldn’t be easier!
Setup your smoker for indirect heat and set to 225 degrees F. If you don’t have a smoker, you can use an oven and some liquid smoke.
Generally, you shouldn’t have to trim a chuck roast. All the fat on here is going to be AMAZING.
Mix the rub ingredients together in a small bowl and stir well. Liberally apply the rub all over. You will have extra and it is okay to not use it all.
Told you, couldn’t be easier.
Once your smoker is going at 225 degrees F, add seasoned roast directly to the grates. Make sure you insert a reliable digital thermometer to monitor the temperature.
Continue to cook until the internal temperature is 165-170 degrees F. This will be around the middle/end of the stall.
Remove the chuck roast from the smoker and place in a shallow pan that is oven safe. I recommend using an oven at this point because the covered chuck roast will not take on any more smoke. If putting back in the smoker, I recommend a disposable aluminum pan.
Pour in 3/4 cup of beef broth. Do not pour directly onto the meat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Increase smoker/oven temperature to 250 degrees F and place panned chuck roast inside. Continue monitoring the internal temperature of the chuck roast and continue cooking until 205 degrees.
Once the internal temperature hits 205, perform the probe test. Probing multiple locations with a sharp stick, you should feel very minimal resistance. If resistance is still felt, continue cooking covered for another 30 minutes and check again.
If tender, then place the panned and covered chuck roast on the counter and place a towel over it. Let sit for 30 min- 1 hour. It is preferred for 1 hour to allow the roast to continue to slowly cook.
Once rested, you can use bear claws or two forks to shred the beef in the liquid. Remove any large pieces of fat and throw away.
Tong it on tacos, or create your own Chipotle Bowl (it’s so easy…). Let me know what you thought in the comments!
Smoked Chuck Roast – Shredded
- Shallow aluminum pan
- 3 lb Chuck Roast (good marbling)
- 15 oz Beef Broth (low sodium preferred)
- 1½ tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1½ tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tbsp Ground Pepper
- 2 tsp Cumin
- 1½ tsp Table Salt
- ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- Setup smoker for indirect heat at 225 degrees F.
- Combine all rub ingredients and apply to chuck roast.
- Set chuck roast directly on the grates. Cook until 165-170 degrees F (~4-5 hours).
- Place chuck roast inside a shallow pan, fill with beef broth, and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Cook panned chuck roast at 250 degrees F in the oven or smoker. Cook until internal temperature is 205 degrees F (~2 hours).
- Remove from oven, place a towel over covered pan, and let rest on the counter for about 30 min- 1 hour covered.
- Shred beef in pan. Tong into tacos or make Chipotle bowls!