When you need an easy yet crowd-pleasing meal for your next backyard cook-out, everyone will love this tender, juicy smoked chuck roast! This chuck roast is covered with a simple, flavorful dry rub and then cooked low and slow on the trusty smoker until it turns into one seriously succulent piece of meat. One bite will leave everyone's mouth watering for more.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Affordable cut for beef lovers: A smoked prime rib or beef brisket is a thing of beauty and perfect for special occasions. However, they’re pricey cuts, and with a brisket, you could easily be looking at an 18- to 22-hour smoke. With this smoked chuck roast, you get that beefy goodness at a fraction of the cost and time it takes to smoke a brisket.
Perfect for all skill levels: If you’re new to smoking, a chuck roast is a great place to start. Most chuck roasts are trimmed and ready for cooking, and you don’t need any advanced skills to master this dish. This is one easy smoked chuck roast recipe.
Requires little hands-on work: Hosting a backyard BBQ is a lot of work, especially if you’re taking care of appetizers, sides, dessert and drinks. But with a chuck roast, you only need a few minutes of preparation time — the smoker takes care of the heavy lifting.
Serve a small gathering or large crowd: If you’re entertaining just a few friends, one chuck roast will keep everyone full and satisfied, or you can smoke multiple roasts at a time for a larger party.
Related: For more ways to enjoy chuck roast, make sure you also check out my smoked chuck roast chili and Instant Pot chuck roast for those times outdoor cooking isn’t an option. And when fall comes, you can’t beat this apple cider pot roast.
Beef chuck roast: Pick a cut of beef with plenty of marbling with a bright red hue that’s firm to touch. We want to avoid a roast with brown spots.
Dry rub: With this flavorful cut, I like to keep the seasoning simple to allow that rich beef flavor to shine. This simple dry rub includes salt, coarse black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder and onion powder.
Step 1: We start by mixing together the dry rub seasonings in a small bowl and covering both sides of the roast with the spices (photo 1). At this point, we can smoke the chuck roast right away or cover it in plastic wrap and allow it to refrigerate overnight to dry brine.
Step 2: Now we place the beef roast directly on the grill grates of the smoker with a water pan, insert a leave-in digital thermometer, close the lid and let the meat smoke until the internal temperature of the meat hits between 160-165 degrees F (photo 2).
Step 3: At this point, the chuck roast will reach a stall in cooking. To help the chuck roast continue cooking, we remove it from the smoker, wrap it in a food-grade peach butcher paper like a present and place the wrapped meat back on the smoker with the temperature probe (photo 3).
Tip: You can find peach butcher paper on Amazon. In a pinch, you can use aluminum foil. Peach butcher paper is best because it’s more breathable and doesn’t trap the moisture, which can soften the bark.
Step 4: When the roast's internal temperature reaches 195 degrees F, we remove it from the smoker, wrap it in a towel and place it in a cooler without ice for 30-60 minutes to rest.
This step is critical. The resting period allows the juices to redistribute to the roast, so if you skip this step, you’ll end up with sad, dry meat.
After resting, we move the chuck roast to a cutting board, slice it into slices and serve with plenty of coffee-bourbon BBQ sauce for an extra delicious touch (photo 4).
Doesn’t the meat just melt in your mouth? And how about that smoky flavor? Everything about this roast is absolutely divine.
Note: I tested this recipe on a vertical pellet smoker. However, you can use any type of smoker. For more fun ideas, check out this guide to smoker recipes.
We can’t have a proper cook-out without plenty of other snacks and sides, right?
For starters, we already have the smoker fired up, so you can’t go wrong with some smoked cream cheese, salsa, jalapeño poppers or queso. If you’re tight on smoker space, this pineapple pico de gallo or whipped ricotta dip is a great summer snack.
Storing, Freezing and Reheating Leftovers
Let’s chat about how to keep those chuck roast leftovers fresh and delicious.
- Allow the chuck roast to cool completely.
- Store the meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days or the freezer for up to six months.
- To thaw the frozen meat, place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- When you’re ready to reheat it, place the chuck roast in a baking dish with a splash of water or beef stock and cover the pan with foil. Reheat the beef in a 250-degree F oven for about 10 minutes.
Dry brining makes for a more flavorful, tender, juicy meat. Essentially, the salt draws out the water to the meat’s surface. That moisture then dissolves the salt, and the two are reabsorbed back into the roast.
While dry brining works wonders, you can overdo it. You only need to dry brine a large piece of meat from overnight to up to 24 hours. If the meat dry brines for too long, it can start to disintegrate.
I especially love mesquite, but hickory and oak work nicely too. If you decide to smoke an appetizer or side dish at the same time as your roast, I recommend hickory in that case because mesquite can overpower other dishes while hickory is a great all-purpose wood.
The general rule is two hours per pound at 225 degrees F, but this is just a guideline. I’ve actually had a chuck roast stall longer than expected, so it took more than the estimated cooking time.
So many factors can affect the smoking time, and every piece of meat cooks differently. I recommend giving yourself more time than you’d think because you can always keep the roast warm in the cooler if it finishes early.
Since chuck roast is a tougher cut of meat, I recommend 225 degrees F for best results. We want a low and slow smoke to help melt all that connective tissue to transform the roast into perfectly succulent, tender meat. If you go too high, you risk drying out the meat.
Cook to the roast’s internal temperature rather than time: As mentioned, the smoking process is not an exact science, so use a leave-in meat thermometer to accurately gauge the roast’s doneness.
Start early and be flexible: Since the cook time is an estimate, I always suggest being flexible with your serving time and keeping plenty of snacks on hand in case it takes longer than expected. Once you wrap your chuck roast in a towel, the cooler should keep it warm for up to three or four hours, so it’s always best to plan a little early.
Slice against the grain: Admittedly, the bark does make it a little tricky to find the grain, but try to identify the direction of the grain and slice against that. This prevents the meat from becoming overly chewy and helps keep it moist.
Spritz before wrapping for extra juiciness: This step is optional, but if you’d like to give your meat extra moisture, you can spritz it with apple juice, apple cider or beef broth every hour before wrapping the roast.
Let the roast sit at room temperature before smoking: By allowing this large cut of meat to sit at room temperature, it takes the chill off the meat and allows for more even cooking.
You’ll love sipping a stout next to this smoked chuck roast. Stouts feature a prominent roasted malt backbone that nicely pairs with the caramelization of our bark and those smoky notes. A porter and brown ale are also good calls.
If wine is more your style, try a cabernet sauvignon. As a classic pairing with chuck roast, this big wine stands up to the rich marbling. At the same time, this wine has plenty of tannins and acidity to cut through the fat.
For the ultimate summer BBQ, you and your guests will love this smoked chuck roast. This is one recipe you’ll turn to over and over again for any occasion.
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Smoked Chuck Roast
- Wood pellets or soaked wood chips mesquite, hickory or oak recommended
- Food-grade peach butcher paper can substitute aluminum foil
- Leave-in meat thermometer
- Towel and cooler
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 4 pound chuck roast
- Favorite BBQ sauce optional, for serving
- In a small bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Rub the spice mixture on both sides of the chuck roast. Now let the chuck roast sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes or cover with plastic wrap, place it in the refrigerator and allow the meat to dry brine overnight. If dry brining, let the meat sit at room temperature as directed above before smoking.
- Heat the smoker to 225 degrees F. Place the chuck roast directly on greased grill grates with a water pan. If desired, place a drip pan underneath the chuck roast. Insert a leave-in meat thermometer in the center of the meat. If there's a bone, make sure the thermometer doesn't touch the bone. Close the lid and smoke until the chuck roast reaches 160-165 degrees F, about three and a half to four hours. At this point, you'll notice the internal temperature will begin to stall.
- Remove the chuck roast from the smoker. Place it on top of a sheet of peach butcher paper and wrap it like a present. With the folded side facing down, place the chuck roast back in the smoker and insert the leave-in meat thermometer again. Close the lid and smoke until the chuck roast reaches 195 degrees F.
- Remove the chuck roast from the smoker, leaving it in the butcher paper. Wrap the roast with a towel and place it in a cooler with no ice for one hour. After resting, slice the chuck roast against the grain. If desired, serve with your favorite BBQ sauce. Enjoy!
- The general rule of thumb is for smoking a chuck roast is two hours per pound, but smoking time isn't an exact science, so it could take more or less time. I recommend starting early because the cooler can keep it warm for up to three or four hours.
- If the stall takes too long, you can increase the temperature to 250 degrees F, but try not to go higher than that. It's still low, but that extra heat does help move the meat past the stall.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days or the freezer for up to six months.
- For extra moisture, you can spritz the chuck roast with apple juice, apple cider or beef stock every hour before wrapping.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.