Smoked Chuck Roast: Brisket On A Budget

Cooked low and slow, this 'poor man's brisket' is beefy, tender, and juicy.
smoked chuck roast

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Smoked chuck roast is easy to cook, requires minimal ingredients, and, when done right, tastes similar to brisket.

Sometimes called the poor man’s brisket. It is affordable if you want that brisket taste but don’t want to shell out for a whole brisket.

When I smoke a chuck roast, I treat it like brisket, from seasoning to smoking, resting, and slicing. 

Smoked Chuck Roast

Chuck roasts are cut from the shoulder and are known for their beefy flavor and versatility.

Like brisket, chuck has a lot of connective tissue and intra-muscular fat, making it perfect for low and slow.

They typically range from 3-6 lbs and can be found readily in most grocery stores.

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Chuck Roast – 3-4 pounds
  • Olive oil – or binder of choice.
  • Brisket rub – Use our recipe
  • Beef tallow – or butter.

Equipment you’ll need

Why smoke a chuck roast? 

There are many reasons I like smoking chuck roast. Here are a few to consider: 

  • It’s affordable: It may not be cheaper per pound anymore as it’s becoming more popular. However, buying a chuck roast is still cheaper than buying an entire brisket
  • It’s similar to brisket – even though it’s leaner, it has the same rich beefy flavor that intensifies when smoked.
  • It’s versatile: Shred it, cube it, slice it. You can cook and prepare chuck roast in many different ways. Great shredded for sandwiches, cubed up for Poor Man’s Burnt Ends, or smoked whole and sliced like I’m doing for this recipe. 

What kind of wood is best for smoking chuck roast? 

Because chuck roast is a beefy, robust cut of meat, it pairs well with hickory, oak, and pecan.

Since we are smoking this chuck roast like a brisket, any of the woods for smoking brisket will work great.

How to make Smoked Chuck Roast

1. Fire up the smoker

Set your smoker to 250°F. For this cook, I used my Camp Chef Woodwind.

2. Trim 

Typically a chuck roast doesn’t require any trimming, unlike brisket, where you can spend 30 minutes or more trimming away all the hard fat.

raw chuck roast on a wooden chopping board
That’s another one of the reasons I like smoking chuck roast. It’s pretty much ready to go straight out of the package.

Sometimes there will be some excess fat around the edges you can trim, but for the most part, no trim work is needed. 

3. Season

Because chuck roast is a nice thick and dense piece of meat, you need to season it well.

For this recipe, I used my brisket rub. It’s a blend of Kosher salt, ground black pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder, smoked paprika, and chili powder. 

seasoning a chuck roast
Any rub suitable for beef will work with this recipe.

I use olive oil as a binder and season the meat evenly on all sides, including the edges.

seasoned, rested raw chuck roast
After seasoning, let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes to allow the meat to absorb some of the seasoning. 

4. Smoke

The one thing you do need to keep an eye on is the internal temperature. This is where the instant read thermometer comes in real handy.

Remove the chuck roast too early from the smoker and, you’ll have a tough cut of meat, take it too far and, it will fall apart. 

So you want to smoke your chuck roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 175°F.

This gives the chuck roast time to develop a nice bark and absorb all of the smoke. 

chuck roast just put in the smoker
chuck roast half way through cooking

Spritz with water after the first 3 hours, once an hour, or when the chuck roast appears dried out.

Don’t have a spritzer? Check out our Smoke Kitchen BBQ Sprayer.

spritzing a chuck roast on the smoker
chuck roast smoked till internal temp of 175F
Good looking bark.


5. Wrap

Once the chuck roast reaches an internal temperature of 175°F, it’s time to wrap.

You can wrap it in foil or butcher paper, but I prefer butcher paper. Sometimes wrapping in foil causes the meat to steam too much, which gives it a pot roast taste. 

chuck roast with butter on it ready to be wrapped
If you don’t have beef tallow, a few pats of butter will work.

Add some beef tallow to the chuck roast and then wrap tight in butcher paper.

Place it back onto the smoker to finish cooking.

You have about a 5-10 degree window (195-205°F) to get it right, so make sure you use a good internal meat thermometer and never rely on time alone. 

chuck roast wrapped in butcher paper in the smoker

Once the chuck roast reaches 195-205 °F, it’s done.

instant read thermometer poked into a wrapped chuck roast

Because every piece of meat varies, sometimes at 195°F, it feels tender enough, and other times you need to cook it a little more.

To check tenderness, probe it with your instant read thermometer. If it glides through easily without much resistance, you are good to go.

On this particular roast, it felt probe tender at 198°F, so that’s when I pulled it off the smoker. 

6. Rest

Rest the chuck roast in a cooler wrapped in a towel for an hour before slicing.

I recently found out my oven has a keep-warm feature which is super nice to rest smoked meats in.

After the chuck roast has rested properly, take a sharp slicing knife and cut 1/4″ slices across the grain. Serve with sides like creamy coleslaw or smoked baked beans for a great meal.

Looking to try more big meat recipes?

smoked chuck roast

Smoked Chuck Roast: Brisket On A Budget

Cooked low and slow, this 'poor man's brisket' is beefy, tender, and juicy.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Jordan Hanger

Ingredients

  • 4 lb chuck roast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp brisket rub
  • 2 tbsp beef tallow or butter

Instructions

  • Fire up the smoker to 250°F.
  • Coat chuck roast with olive oil as a binder and season with brisket rub. Let sit for 30 minutes to absorb the seasoning.
  • Smoke the chuck roast until an internal temperature of 175°F is reached. Spritz with water after the first 3 hours, once an hour or when chuck roast appears dried out.
  • Remove the beef from the smoker, place it on the butcher paper, top with beef tallow, and wrap it up.
  • Place wrapped chuck roast back on the smoker until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-205°F or when it is probe tender.
  • Rest butcher paper-wrapped chuck roast in a cooler wrapped in a towel or in an oven with the warming feature for an hour.
  • Remove chuck roast from butcher paper, slice ¼ inch slices across the grain, and serve.

Notes

What type of wood to use – chuck roast is a beefy robust cut of meat and is great with hickory, oak, and pecan.
Probe tender -to check tenderness, probe it with your instant read thermometer. If it glides through easily without much resistance, you are good to go.
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