Smoked Pulled Beef Chuck Roast

March 1, 2018

Smoked Pulled Beef Chuck Roast is like best Sunday pot roast you’ve ever had with an extra kiss of smoked flavor you never knew you wanted. Tender, melt in your mouth, full of beefy flavor.

Smoked Chuck Roast

 

How to Smoke a Chuck Roast for Pulled Beef

Chuck roasts are well marbled pieces of beef with some really tight connective tissue. By smoking a chuck roast low and slow, you allow that fat to slowly render and the low heat to break down and soften that connective tissue that can make chuck roasts chewy.

I season my chuck roasts liberally with equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder to add flavor without masking or covering up the beef. From there, the chuck roast hits the smoker at 225 degrees F. I use oak wood for this recipe, because I feel like oak can really stand up and support that rich beef flavor. While the chuck roast smokes during this first step, I like to spritz with beef stock every hour to keep things moist.

Next step is to increase the heat on the smoker to 250 degrees F. Add the smoked chuck roast to a pan of beef stock and onions and return to the smoker to keep on cooking! You’re shooting for an internal temperature of 165 degrees F before you cover the whole pan tightly with foil and let that chuck roast finish cooking.

Pulled Beef

Internal Temperature for Smoked Chuck Roast

My recommended internal temperature is at least 200 degrees F. At that temperature, the connective tissues in the chuck will have broken down and gelatinized so they just melt in your mouth. Since we also covered the roast and braised in liquid, the roast will be incredibly juicy and tender as well.

If you don’t already own one, I really recommending getting a high quality instant read thermometer. I’ve used Thermoworks products for years and love their quality. They start out at around $29 for the small hand held Thermopop.

Quick tip for shredding: use your mixer with the dough hook attachment on a slow speed to pull your meat. Works like a charm!

Smoked Beef Chuck Roast Video

Smoked Chuck Roast Recipe

smoked beef chuck roast

Smoked Chuck Roast (for pulled beef)

Smoked Pulled Beef Chuck Roast is like best Sunday pot roast you've ever had with an extra kiss of smoked flavor you never knew you wanted. Tender, melt in your mouth, full of beefy flavor.
4.83 from 29 votes
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 9 hrs
Total Time : 10 hrs 10 mins
Servings : 6 people

Ingredients
 

  • 1 chuck roast (3-4 pounds)
  • 1 yellow or white onion (sliced)
  • 3 cups beef stock (divided use)

Simple Beef Rub

  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder

Instructions

  • When ready to cook, start your smoker going at 225 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Combine all of the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl and rub liberally onto your beef roast, using your hands to press the rub into every surface of the meat. (Optional, rub your meat the night before smoking and refrigerate)
  • Put the roast directly on your grill grate, fat-side up, and cook for 3 hours, spraying with 1 cup of the beef stock every hour (reserve the other 2 cups of stock).
  • After 3 hours it is time to turn up the heat! Place the sliced onions in the bottom of a large disposable aluminum foil pan and pour the remaining 2 cups of stock in the bottom of the pan. Transfer the roast into the pan on top of the onions and set the pan in the grill.
  • Increase your grill temperature to 250 degrees F, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (about 3 more hours). If you're watching a thermometer, you'll notice the temperature will stay between 155 and 165 degrees for quite a while. This is called the stall period and is totally normal.
  • Once your roast hits 165, cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and continue cooking until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers at least 200 degrees, up to 202 degrees F (this step can take another 3 hours). Every roast will be done at a slightly different temperature, so look for your probe to slide into the meat like it is sliding into softened butter.
  • Remove the pan from the smoker and let rest for a few minutes. Separate the roast from the cooking liquid. Shred the roast and separate the fat from the cooking liquid. Moisten the roast with the remaining cooking liquid, or make it into au jus for dipping, or turn it into gravy. 

Notes

If you are cooking a smaller 3-4 pound chuck roast, follow the same steps, but plan slightly less time per step (usually only about a half hour less). The whole roast will cook in closer to 7-8 hours. Also, reduce the onion and broth amounts by half.
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102 thoughts on “Smoked Pulled Beef Chuck Roast

  1. I do pulled pork all the time, I love the idea of pulled beef. Two comments though, first, I always try to let my rub sit on the meat overnight. I’ve rubbed just before smoking and I don’t feel like I get the same amount of flavor as I do from an overnight with the rub. Second, there is a lot of confusion around how long meat will benefit from smoke. The smoke RING stops growing at about 140 degrees but meat will still gain smoke flavor for as long as it’s exposed to the smoke. 250 degrees is a perfectly acceptable smoking temperature so I’d continue the smoke until you are ready to foil it.

    1. Hey John! Great advice on letting the rub sit overnight. I’ve done both as well and you’re right, the flavor really is a little more present when it sits for a while. Also, you are right about the smoke ring vs. flavor. The roast doesn’t get covered for several hours after it gets transferred to the pan, so it will definitely be taking on more Smoke flavor during that time. I’m just not worried about the smoke ring anymore, and he roast benefits flavor-wise from spending that extra time in the braising pan uncovered.

    2. Avoid seasoning over night if you have salt in your rub it will dry out the mea, .you can get similar results by injecting instead and it takes less time.

      1. What makes meat moist is not water but fat. Plus, dry brining (leaving salt on overnight) does the opposite of drying it out. Yes, moisture will come out, but the meat will absorb the salt which weakens the protein (makes it more tender) and the flavor will penetrate the meat. I sometimes will “salt” my steaks by covering every inch with thick salt for about 30 min (for an inch thick steak) and then rinse all the salt off, pat dry and grill. It grills quicker because it doesn’t have to get rid of all that moisture (which is typically what happens when you cook meat) through cooking since the salt has removed it. This technique will turn a sirloin into a ribeye!

        1. You are dead on with salting. I vacuum seal my steaks for sous vide cooking. I have the perfect ratio of salt, garlic, black, and white pepper I apply and they come out stupid perfect every time. I recently tried it with a whole brisket I was freezing for later (covid and crap). I simply applied the rub and used an ice pick to ad 100’s of channels. You could taste the perfect seasoning in the center cuts. I will purposely season and seal everything from now on.

    3. This is – by far – one of the best and fool proof BBQ recipes. It is a crowd favorite EVERY time. I use an offset smoker and have finished off in both the smoker and oven – just depends on what else might be cooking (I cook or an army of hungry folks).
      Thx for keeping it real Susie!
      From a Fan Boy

  2. Loved your show today. I commented as fast as I could. I am blind in one eye right now so hard to type fast. Have a great birthday and spending it with fans

  3. Just did your recipe. 1st time doing pulled beef, and it tuned out awesome. The tip about using the mixer to shred the beef works great!

  4. Hi. I accidentally saw this group I am from the ???????? so now addicted to this style of real food and cooking… Can you please share some links as to what equipment or tips a newbie needs to start please? Loving the smoking concept also this site and interaction from everyone.. Have a great day folks ????

  5. So, I just tried this recipe with a 3.5 lb chuck and it was a complete failure. I had had Traeger set at 225 and it took 6 hours to get to 165. At 165 I foiled the pan, then it only took 1 hour and 15 minutes, at 250 to get to 203. I took it off the smoker, let it rest for 30 minutes and tried to pull it. It did not come close to falling apart and shredding easily. In fact, the thicker parts were extremely hard to pull apart using my hands. The fatty portion was a little easier to not falling apart by any stretch of the imagination. The meat was real dry and I threw the entire roast away. 🙁

    Nor sure where I went wrong!

    1. Hmmmm. Sometimes it is hard to troubleshoot just through reading about it. My guess would be that it didn’t spend enough time in the braising liquid with the pan tightly sealed. Was there a chance that the thermometer was in a piece of fat? Sometimes that can give you a higher temp reading than the meat itself and may account for the super fast jump up in internal temperature once it was foiled.

      1. I tried this this evening with the same results as DaveyD. It was terrible. I did use a bone-in Chuck so not sure if that was the issue? Also, isn’t 200+ to high for steak? I thought well done was ~170.

        1. You have to get the temperature in the meat that high to break down the tough connective tissue and finish rendering the fat so it will pull easily. With these, I like to go by the tenderness I feel with my temp probe. It should slide in and out like butter!

      2. I had a similar experience with my temp probe but realized that it was so hot outside and the sun was beating directly down on my smoker. After repositioning the probe and some cloud cover, it got up to 209 degrees and shredded very well after resting! This was one of the best recipes for smoked chuck roast. First time I’ve attempted it and it was excellent!! I’ve enjoyed all of your recipes and suggestions. Thank you!

      3. I had a similar experience with my temp probe but realized that it was so hot outside and the sun was beating directly down on my smoker. After repositioning the probe and some cloud cover, it got up to 209 degrees after a few more hours and the beef shredded very well after resting! This was one of the best recipes for smoked chuck roast. First time I’ve attempted it and it was excellent!! I’ve enjoyed all of your recipes and suggestions. Thank you!

    2. Just need to keep it wrapped in foil till it gets there. Keep it at 225 and let it go. I put a little beer in there when I check it or braggs apple cider vinegar. Be patient it will get there and it will be worth every minute

    3. You need to leave it wrapped in foil (and preferably in a cooler) for longer than a half hour, I’d personally recommend at least two hours. You need to bring it to an internal temp of 203-205 to break down the connective tissues but it’s really the resting that tenderizes it. And I’m with others, get the bark you like before transferring to a pan. I typically smoke until 165 solely for the bark.

    4. 1 of 2 things cause this

      1) Temp probe inaccuracy
      2) too lean of a cut

      1) temp probe to close to surface, meat too thin to get a good reading across the entire cut or temp probe is just ‘off’. I’m a faithful GMG user but the temp probes just do not last. Try measuring a glass of water that is at room temperature to see if there is a difference between actual temps and read temps. GMG allows you to set an offset temp to calibrate the probe, unsure if Traeger has this option.

      2) I’ve seen some chuck/shoulder roasts that look like sirloin in spots with some fat on the side, make sure you use well marbled roasts. A large glob of fat on a lean muscle is not going to turn out well for pulled beef.

  6. This looks absolutely amazing. Just bought a beautiful Chuck roast at a local meat store. Was looking for ideas. Well try this one. Thank you

  7. First time smoker and I just followed recipe and it turned out perfect! We added carrot and mushrooms at stage of sealing up the beef with foil. Also made our beef broth spicy. Pulled apart like butter

  8. I just tried this recipe in my electric smoker. I followed all instructions as described. However, despite using a leave in thermometer(which is always accurate for me) and an instant read thermometer in multiple spots which confirmed the temperatures, the roast cooked a lot faster than the timeframes given, despite using a 4.5lb roast. Going by the temperature of the roast, it was done within 6 hours! However, when I tried to shred it, it was very dry and could not be pulled apart. So following my wife’s suggestion, I put it back in the pan covered, and put it in the oven at 225 for a few more hours. After it was done this time, it was soft as butter. My recommendation for doing a chuck roast like this is, don’t focus so much on the temperature, just make sure you follow her timeframes for cooking it. It’s difficult to get an accurate temp on a chuck roast, and even when you do, the length of time spent braising it is still more important than the temperature reading. Your gonna get to the temperatures you need if you follow the amount time she recommends cooking it for.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences! I’ve never had the same phenomenon occur, the temps have always been my guide, but I’m so glad it all worked out in the end.

    2. This is spot on. I had to cook mine to almost 210 degrees before it pulled really easy. Make sure you probe test before trying to shred.

  9. Need some help here. I did 2 roast at about 2.5-3 lbs each. One fresh and one frozen. Followed directions explicitly, for covered portion they reach 201 in about 2 hours because of the size. They were a disaster…tough, grissly…i got about a cup of edible meat, although I thought even that was tough. Don’t know if it was the meat or what. Each cut came from a different store but it was all throw away. Suggestions?

    1. Hmmm…I am wondering if the thermometer was in the wrong spot (like a chunk of fat) or something was off, because it should have taken a bit longer than 2 hours and the meat should have been very tender. My suggestion would be, next time, to keep an eye on the texture of the meat. You want your thermometer to just slide into the meat like it’s going into softened butter.

  10. HELP! I tried this and was a disaster. cooked 2 roasts (2.5-3 lbs each). 1 fresh, 1 frozen from different stores. followed recipe explicitly but with small size the covered cook took only 2 hours to reach 201. both pieces were a disaster. was able to get maybe 1 cup of meat but still tough. the remainder was tough as nails, grissly, totally unedible. I’m consider myself a pretty advanced griller, but this one really confuses me. thought it could be just the meat, but with each from a different store…just don’t know. NEED SOME SUGGESTIONS.

  11. I followed this recipe for my first smoker attempt and it was great! Used electric smoker and kept water and wood pans filled and sprayed with broth every hour. Took all day, but was delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipes.

  12. I am trying this today it’s a chilly 45 degrees this morning in alabama. I have the same smoker as you hope it turns out. Glad I found your website.

  13. Have a question. I have a Masterbuilt 40″ propane smoker. It was mentioned that the beef stock could be put in the water pan. Wouldn’t it still be okay to put the stock liquid and onions in the aluminum pan and put the roast on top of it? Also, should I put water in the water pan at the beginning of the smoking time for the 3 hours?

  14. Haven’t done this yet, but how does gravy turn out using the beef stock from the pan after the smoke? Anyone try this and can comment? Flour or corn starch?

    1. Gravy turns out EXCELLENT! Ive only used flour and can tell you from personal experience that it tastes amazing.

  15. I cooked this yesterday, using mesquite. Turned out EXCELLENT. I modified slightly by using 1/2 beef stock, 1/2 cheap burgundy for the braising liquid. Made that into a gravy, seasoned with some thyme & rosemary, thickened with corn starch and cut a bit with some additional beef stock. Served with creamy mashed potatoes & baby carrots. Raves from my partner & her daughter.

    I’m still new to smoking, so I don’t have a great feel for probe testing yet. In hindsight, I should have left the chucks on the smoker braising for a bit longer, they could have been slightly more tender. I also will use a milder wood next time. But I’m very happy with the result, and I’m learning what I like!

  16. Made this recipe today. 3.25lb chuck roast. It was amazing!!!! Followed the recipe exactly, except let it go 3 1/2 hours in the broth uncovered to get to 165 degrees. 9 1/2 hours total cooking time. 207 degrees when we took it off. Had a nice red ring. Took your advice and put it on ciabatta rolls for the best french dip ever.

  17. Once your roast is done add tjhe whole raost with all the juices and fat that was in the pan into a large pot of pinto beans and cook till tender. Add cornbread and a few friends and chow down.

  18. This recipe is great. We have tried it several times and as long as you watch the temps and know that chuck has a lot of different heat zones. Your in good shape. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. I made this on the weekend. A 4lb chuck roast cooked for a total of 7 hours and I let it rest for 90 minutes before we at. The flavour was good, but the meat was touch and chewy. Is that caused by the quality of the chuck, or the cooking process?

    1. Thanks for the quick response. Anything special I need to do to keep it from drying out? Should I shred it the night before still?

  20. I’m not going to rate this but sounds great. I love to follow someone local, (i live a few miles away). I have learned a lot from your recipes. But i have a great suggestion for your followers. Fill your smoker as full of meat as you can, (pork, beef, even ribs) put them in roaster pans as per your recipes and when done cut the meat up in family size portions. (leave in big pieces as possible), Vacuum seal them and freeze. Do the same with the broth. Reheat in boiling water for about 30 to 45 minutes and use some of the frozen broth for gravy and reseal it. Fix your favorite sides while reheating and you have a great meal without all the work. It tastes like you just smoked it!!

  21. I have a large tray of chuck for pulled beef and a small one for burnt ends on Traeger 34 series. Cooked faster than expected but we will snack on burnt ends before the pulled beef. Both recipes from this site. If you can find it or order it Cajun Power Garlic Sauce works with both. Discovered it in 1989 in Seattle and have been ordering it ever since.

  22. AMAZING!!
    I just followed the recipe and checked to make sure the temperature was over 105 degrees in multiple spots on the roast. Super simple in my Davy Crockett.
    We put the juice in the refrigerator to separate the fat then reheated for an insane au jus … I used a really large sweet onion so that made it like an onion soup dip. LOVED IT!

  23. Hey Susie,
    We made the smoked chuck yesterday on my pellet smoker. Excellent…followed your recipe. Well almost…didn’t wrap in foil until 189 degrees. And some of my Negra Medelo I was drinking accidentally fell into the broth while I was wrapping foil.
    Made French dip sandwiches per your suggestion…yummy.
    Thx
    Chris
    Thx
    Chris

  24. Did in oven following this recipe got to 205 in about 5hrs (about 3.5 lbs) figure I’d let it ride, but then it fell to about 190 – on 2 different probes- about 2 hrs later it was 195. It 2as very good but never saw a temp drop like that while cooking.

  25. I did this on Christmas day. Followed your recipe to a T. All told, it was around 14-15 hours. My family about lost their minds! Amazing!

  26. I’m new to smoking I’ve done a pork butt, ribs, and pork tenderloins over the last month and all were great but this was absolutely amazing thank you much for your great insight and recipes I cant wait to try a beef brisket!

  27. Hey Susie!
    I’m using a 3.5 lb french roast instead of chuck roast, the butcher didn’t have chuck this time.
    2 questions:
    Will I able to smoke this into pulled beef.
    I’m also smoking ribs at the same time, can I smoke them both at 250 the whole time.
    Thanks,
    Martin

  28. Hello All,
    I did this recipe yesterday for Sunday dinner, I have a few questions, I followed this to the T but it was very hard to shred, did not come out as I wanted, still tender. mine seemed to go a little quicker about an hour less total. The one thing I did differently because it finished early I wrapped it in foil and but in a cooler for about an hour. Any suggestions?

  29. WOW! I tried this the other day and all I can say is OMG. It’s some of the best beef we’ve ever had.
    A couple of notes: I had the same problems as some others, getting my probe into a fatty area which showed it up to temperature way too soon. Once I tried pulling it apart I realized it wasn’t done, checked with the thermometer and found it wasn’t up to temperature. Put it back on for another hour and a half, and perfect. Your times are right on the money. Thanks for sharing this. Now I have to do a couple more for family and friends.

  30. WOW, is all I can say!!! Family loved it which is saying a lot since I have 2 kiddos who are super picky eaters. As a rookie smoker I have to say was sort of nervous given some of the comments but it came out spot on other than I didn’t pay attention to the broth and I should have added more towards the end. Will definitely be adding this to my rotation of meals this Summer!!

  31. CANT GET OVER THE FLAVOR! I might crockpot an arm roast but never again a chuck. We went about 7 hours, ran out of time, and was afraid it would be tough but after a slice and rest in the pan juices, had a bit of perfect bite and most succulent tenderness and perfect beefy flavor. Thanks so much for an easy, yet incredibly impressive flavorful recipe! From a cattle ranch in New Mexico—we know our beef and this is a winner!

  32. I write with two questions in prep for smoking tmo two – recipe lists 3-4 lbs roast and then comments at end discuss shorter smoke time if using smaller 3-4 lbs roast. What size roast is recipe calling out?
    I plan to smoke together two 3 lbs bone in chuck roasts. Does the bone in affect recipe time?
    Thank you in advance if you are able to address for me!

    1. Bone in shouldn’t affect the cook time too much. The section about the smaller roasts is if you have one closer to or under 3 pounds.

  33. I picked up a chuck roast and intended to slow cook it but found this recipe and knew I had to try it on my camp chef smoker. I also threw red potatoes in with it when I wrapped it in foil. The flavor was incredible. Mine did not pull apart like it does when slow cooked but it was so juicy and full of flavor. So glad I tried this!

  34. So, this turned out amazing. I did it on my Traeger ranger. The things I noted if you are using a Traeger is that you should set the temp 25d to 10d less then what the recipe calls for as the temperature will fluctuate by that much.

    As with a lot of people in the comments I did notice that after about an hour after coving it with foil the temp jump up to 205, but I let it stay in the pan the full 3 hours +/- 15min. put my temperature probe into it and it was like a hot knife going into butter. The temp read 210.

    So just let it sit for the 3 hours after covering regardless of what the temp is reading unless it’s like 250 or something. If it’s reading that, you have some other issue going on.

    1. Nice! That’s awesome! Yeah, temp swings on pellet grills are really common but I’ve never had it actually affect the quality of the cook!

  35. Amazing recipe!! Turned out perfect the first time, instead of temp, just went with the probe tests until it went in like butter.

    Making another batch today, but trying to figure out a time to add small golden potatoes and baby carrots. I was thinking when I add the foil wrap, I’d add them in.

    Any suggestions?

  36. I’ve found with this recipe I’m cooking way faster than the proposed times. Like today it took only an hour for the chucks to get to 155°. Any recommendations on how to carry out the rest of the recipe?

  37. I tried this and its awesome! heres pro tip instead of using a probe to see if its soft like butter stick a fork in it and twist if its not done the fork will resist

  38. I did this in my electric smoker! I missed a step by accident but the results were amazing!!! I smoked it for about 3 1/2 hours, then was rushing to get to work and put it in my liquid with onions and covered it(forgot to cook uncovered in liquid). Any ways I came home and pulled it off the smoker to check the temp after 6 hours and it was the perfect temp and falling apart. I had trouble taking it out the pan because it was so tender!!! Amazing flavor!! Topped with my tangy bbq sauce and some slaw!!!

  39. This was absolutely delicious. I’m new to smoking and have loved reading through your recipes and enjoyed the videos I have seen so far. You truly make this whole smoking adventure so much easier! Thank you!

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