Smoky, moist, tender, and delicious, Smoked Pulled Beef is a worthy entree for any occasion. Smoking chuck roast delivers those flavors we all love with smoked brisket without spending the money or time to achieve it.
Chuck roasts will vary in size from 2lbs to 3lbs or more. This is relatively small compared to a brisket that will usually be in excess of 10lbs. Smoking chuck roast low and slow will result in perfectly tender and moist beef, that can easily be shredded and used in all different ways.
Try smoked shredded beef in sliders, tacos, salads, or even a delicious topping for a loaded smoked potato with melted cheese. So while the chuck roast isn't the "best cut" of beef, it has many great uses.
Smoked Pulled Beef Recipe
Beef Chuck Roast - Chuck Roast is not considered one of the best cuts of beef. It has fat and connective tissue that needs to be broken down, in order for it to be tender. This balance of fat and meat is what makes chuck a perfect option for ground beef, but when cooking it as a whole roast, low and slow is the approach. This smoke will be about 2.5 hours of smoking per pound of meat at 225 degrees F.
BBQ Spice Rub - Ingredients
The key to a good bark on the chuck roast and great BBQ flavor is going to be the rub. I like a sweet rub for a long smoke on beef. As the hot fat melts away, it creates nice crusty caramelization with the sugar in the rub for a delicious flavor.
Smoked Paprika - Adding smoked paprika accentuates the smokiness of the beef.
Brown Sugar - A bit of sweetness balances the other flavors and the savoriness of the meat perfectly.
Garlic Powder - We love garlic on anything savory so it is a perfect addition to smoked beef.
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper - Boost the flavor of the roast with salt and pepper. Even if you skip the other seasonings these are a must.
Instructions to make Smoked Pulled Beef
Step One: Cover the chuck roast with yellow mustard. This acts as the glue holding the rub onto the roast as it smokes. Don't worry too much about the beef having too much of a mustard taste, the mustard evaporates as the beef creates a flavorful bark from the rub and smoke.
Step Two: Sprinkle the rub all over the chuck roast. Rub it in well to make sure all sides are coated. If you do this on a rimmed baking sheet, it will collect any overflow and you can rub the beef around the tray to pick up all the delicious rub.
After the Chuck Roast is properly seasoned and ready, make sure you have your smoker being preheated. The goal is a smoker temperature of 225 to 250 degrees. You made need to play around with vents to make sure the proper temperature is maintained in the smoker.
Step Three: Place the chuck roast directly onto the smoker grill grate and smoke at 225°F for approximately three hours or until the internal temperature reaches about 160°F.
Step Four: Once the beef reaches 160°F, wrap it in foil with a tablespoon of whiskey, apple cider vinegar, or even apple juice.
Tightly seal the foil and place it back on the smoker. Monitor the internal temperature for the next couple of hours. Once the internal temp reaches 202°F, remove the beef roast from the smoker and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
After the beef is done resting, open the foil and start to pull the beef apart. Use two forks to easily shred the beef.
Mexican - For a Mexican flare you can use taco seasoning on the meat and swap out the bourbon for some tequila. After you shred it serve with tortillas, cilantro, shredded lettuce, chopped onions, avocado, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and salsa.
Herbs - Add your favorite dried herbs to the rub. Oregano, basil, and parsley work well.
Spices - We kept this rub simple but add in your favorites such as chipotle pepper, paprika, onion powder, and cumin.
What kind of beef roast is best for shredding?
Chuck roast is one cut of beef that tends to fly under the radar yet it can achieve so much. Chuck meat makes superb ground beef that is perfect for burgers, meatloaf, and tacos. It has connective tissue and fat that makes it perfect for a slow cook in stews and soups. Low and slow is the perfect approach when looking to cook a whole chuck roast.
Why use a smoker for pulled beef?
Many pulled beef or shredded beef recipes utilize a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or instant pot to make this dish. The problem is that you miss out on that flavorful bark. Don't get me wrong, a crockpot makes it very easy and you don't need to monitor temperature and fuel source, but you lose a ton of great bbq flavor. The key for good smoked pulled beef is allowing it to get to that 202°F internal temperature, where the fat has broken down and the beef is fork-tender and just falls apart.
How to serve Pulled Beef
You can serve pulled beef the way you serve pulled pork or pulled chicken. You can hit it with a sweet or spicy bbq sauce and off you go. I love horseradish and beef. Horseradish mayo is the best on roast beef sandwiches. It also makes the perfect sauce to serve with this pulled beef on a slider bun or in tortillas.
- 2-2.5 lb beef roast
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- Coat the chuck roast with yellow mustard. Mix the dry seasonings together in a small bowl and rub them all over the sides and edges of the roast.
- Place the seasoned prepared chuck roast into a preheated smoker. Smoke the beef at 225° for about three hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
- Place the beef into aluminum foil along with a tablespoon of bourbon. Seal the foil and place it back into the smoker to cook until the internal temperature reaches 202°F.
- Remove the chuck roast from the smoker and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. Then shred the pork with two forks and serve.