When you take the time to make a smoked beef roast you’re rewarded with a scrumptious roast beef with deep smokey flavors that is so tender it melts in your mouth.
Smoking is one of the best ways to develop the natural flavors in beef. The reason smoked beef is so good is that smoking concentrates the flavors in the beef while creating a visually stunning roast that can take center stage at dinner, a backyard BBQ, or have a week of repeat performances as the star of mouthwatering sandwiches.
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How to Smoke Beef
There’s a lot to love about smoking a roast, the way it absorbs the flavors from the smoke, how it makes your neighbors jealous as the smell of delicious barbecue wafts through the neighborhood, and for the way it makes the beef’s flavors pop.
This basic recipe will work with almost any type of roast. We’ve found that smoking a rump, top or bottom round, or sirloin tip roast is the way to go if you want to serve thinly sliced beef that holds its shape, making them an excellent choice if you’re planning on using it for sandwiches.
Chuck roasts excel at more rustic presentations, especially if the beef is going to be slathered in BBQ sauce. If you literally have all day, go with a brisket, which takes at least 10 hours to smoke.
Because beef excels at absorbing the smoke’s flavors the choice of wood matters. We usually go with wood chips that have bolder, hearty flavors, like hickory, oak, and mesquite, that compliment the flavors in the beef.
The key to keeping a roast moist and tender is temperature control, especially if you’re using a smoker with a water pan. As long as the temperature in the smoker stays below 250℉ and the internal temperature of the roast never gets above 165℉, the roast should be just fine without there being any need to shoot it up with beef stock.
We do recommend leaving any fat on the outside to let the roast baste itself and to allow it to rest for 10 to 20 minutes tented in foil before slicing. It is ok to remove gristle or silver skin from the outside before cooking.
When we’re making a roast, we like to use a simple spice rub that uses smoked paprika, along with garlic and onion powders to develop classic roast beef flavors.
Tips for Smoking Beef
Here are a few tips for smoking a roast that has flavors that pop and a texture so tender and juicy that it melts in your mouth.
Rub the outside down with a little Worcestershire sauce before applying the spice rub. The Worcestershire adds to the beef’s natural umami flavors while helping the rub stick to the roast.
When it comes to time and temp, the general rule is to go as low and slow as you can. We recommend smoking 3 to 4 lb beef roasts for 4 to 6 hours right around 215℉. Larger roasts will need to be smoked longer.
If you don’t have all day, you can smoke the roast between 240℉ and 260℉ in 4 hours and still have delicious roast beef; it just won’t be quite as tender as one cooked at a lower temperature.
To avoid drying out the beef stay away from high temperatures or leaving the roast in the smoker too long.
Using a digital thermometer that lets you keep track of the roast’s temperature without having to open up the smoker is a great way to maintain a consistent temp, which helps make sure the roast comes out at the right time.
Our preferred thermometer is Thermopro’s dual probe digital thermometer for its ease of use and wireless range.
What to Serve with a Smoked Roast
There are lots of things to do with beef that’s been cooked this way. The complex flavors from the smoke and eye-popping presentation make them ideal for serving as the centerpiece of a nice dinner with White Cheddar and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes alongside Creamy Mac and Cheese
We love tasty roast beef sandwiches, which seem harder and harder to find by the day. We often like to smoke a roast on the weekend so we can have tender, delicious sandwiches all week long. Just slice the roast thin whenever you want a sandwich and heat it up while you toast the bun.
The roasts can be kept in the fridge for a week or so and sliced whenever someone gets hungry. We recommend reheating the roast in the oven or on the stove in a saute pan over medium heat that has a little water added to it, to keep the meat from drying out. We don’t recommend using a microwave to reheat it unless you’re a fan of chewing on rubber toys.
No matter how you’re serving it, slice the roast against the grain and sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on the beef right before serving. The salt helps bring out the beef’s flavors and elevates the final dish.
- 3 lb beef roast, rump, sirloin, top, or chuck
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- Worcestershire sauce to rub down
- Start by mixing the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic, and onion powders together.
- Give the roast a good rub down with Worcestershire sauce before applying the spice rub. The Worcestershire sauce helps the rub adhere to the roast and adds flavor.
- There are a couple of ways you can smoke the roast, depending on how much time you have. For the best results cook it in a smoker at around 215℉ for 4 to 6 hours. The roast is ready to come out when its internal temperature is between 145℉ to 155℉ degrees.
- Let the roast rest for 20 minutes, covered with foil, before slicing. Sprinkling a little salt on the slices before serving them to help brighten up the beef’s flavors.