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Smoked Chuck Roast: Lazy Brisket

by Brad Prose
smoked chuck roast
Sliced chuck roast, much less time and effort than brisket.

For those times you want a brisket but you don’t have the time. Or money. Or you’re just lazy.

Smoked chuck roast, sometimes called “poor man’s brisket” but let’s face it: I make this when I’m lazy.  The impatience you have to get BBQ on your dinner table is what will draw you this page.

Are you looking to make Pulled Beef out of chuck roast? Click HERE for the guide to Smoked Pulled Beef.

Chuck roast is fairly tough with a balanced fat content.  It had connective tissue running down the middle, similar to the fat between a point and flat on a whole packer brisket.  Notice the picture above and you’ll see that sliced chuck roast is very similar to the brisket flat when fully cooked. It’s extremely tender, and can even be turned into delicious burnt ends or even pulled beef (obviously for tacos or nachos).  The flexibility and time it takes to cook makes it a very serious contender for anyone of any skill level.

3 points to consider for smoking chuck roast:

  1. It’s usually significantly cheaper than brisket.  I love brisket, but when I can only find it $6.99-$12/lb that makes it less tempting to buy.
  2. It’s much smaller than brisket.  Try to get a large one if you can, the thicker the better.  Usually they average 3-4 lb, but I like to also make sure that height is a consideration since it will retain better moisture.
  3. It takes way less time to cook than brisket.  Including the time I allow for dry-brining, the entire process takes about 8 hours.

The process is outlined for you below.  It’s very similar to the guide for beef short ribs that I posted a bit ago, so take a look for some tips.

chuck roast prep

How to smoke chuck roast for slicing.

Get out your “Lazy Brisket” and let’s get started:

Prep: Cut off any silver skin or excess fat on the very outside.  There usually isn’t much.  Whatever you do, do not separate the meat by the connective tissue in the middle. This vein of delicious fat helps keep the middle of the meat nice and moist, and pretty much renders down through the process.  It’s easy to separate and remove if you so choose (no idea why you would) after it’s fully cooked.  Take a look at the difference between the prepped picture above, and the cooked picture right here.

Season: Salt lightly, 1-2 hours before hand if you can, using about 1/2 tsp salt per pound.  This is referred to as dry-brining, I highly recommend reading the details on AmazingRibs for the reasons as to why you should do this.  After the wait, feel free to flavor it generously with your favorite rub.  I used an Espresso Chile rub, my recipe found here.

Smoke: Heat up the smoker to 225°F and slap that chuck roast on.  Let it cook until an internal temperature of around 165°F, spritzing every hour to keep it moist.  I like to use a combo of apple cider vinegar with a splash of Worcestershire.

Wrap: Chuck roast can be tough, so I absolutely will wrap once it hits 165°F until it’s done around 200°F.  I recommend pink butcher paper if you’re planning on slicing this (like shown above) or heavy-duty foil if you’d like to make pulled beef.

Rest: My least favorite step.  Waiting for about 45 minutes, it doesn’t really need much more.  Let this jewel rest in the wrapping for a bit and then feel free to dig in!

chuck roast smoked
Rest the chuck roast before you slice.

Can I make pulled or shredded beef?

Yes, you absolutely can! The process is different, and I outline that here: Smoked Pulled Beef

pulled beef smoked chuck roast
Smoked, pulled beef out of chuck roast.

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