Smoked Pulled Beef

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Tender beef plucked straight from the backyard smoker, smoked to perfection. This hickory-smoked beef cut is made using a magnificent beef chuck roast and smoked for an extended period of time until it is tender enough to be shredded. It’s great in tacos, on sandwiches, or on its own.

All the best parts of barbecue beef are captured in this smoked pulled beef, making it ideal for BBQ sandwiches, tacos, or enchiladas.

Because of its high fat and marbling content, chuck roast is perfect for this recipe because it can be easily shredded into a moist and flavorful filling.

Learn all you need to know about smoking pulled beef, from selecting the perfect smoking wood to shredding the meat like a pro.

Defining the “Chuck Roast”

Chuck is the uppermost and most tender cut of beef, taken from the steer’s primal shoulder region. Chuck steak comes from the cow’s shoulder, which is a very useful part of the animal. It has a lot of connective tissue and fat, as well as a good amount of muscle. Beef chuck is ideal for slow cooking because it has a balance of lean muscle tissue, fat marbling, and connective tissue.

It’s most commonly used in pot roasts (thus the name), but with the appropriate technique, it makes a great smoked BBQ chuck roast. During the smoking process, the fat slowly dissolves and melts away, leaving the meat soft and moist with a strong beef flavor.

Grilling Seasoning Mix

This recipe requires only one stage of meat preparation: coating the chuck roast in dry rub spice before smoking.

In general, we don’t like to add a lot of heat to our smoked beef recipes, but we’re going to make an exception for this pulled beef so that it has a little more taste and bite. A dry rub for barbecuing should have a harmony of herbs, spices, and sugar.

A blend of smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and a touch of chili powder will provide just the right amount of heat and depth for this dish. A combination of smoked paprika, chili powder, and cayenne pepper gives it a robust, complex flavor.

Mix all the ingredients together and if any lumps form, simply crush them with a fork. Then, use yellow mustard as an adhesive by spreading a thin layer on the chuck. Then, rub the mixture on the meat thoroughly, making sure to get it into any cracks or crevices. When that’s taken care of, we’ll be ready to depart.

Woods for Smoking

Unlike the milder woods we could use for smoking chicken or pork, the finest woods for smoking beef tend to be those with a deep and earthy flavor. Strong hardwoods like oak, hickory, and mesquite are included in this category.

Hickory is great for making pulled beef chuck. You won’t need much of this intense wood to achieve the desired flavor. The meal smoked with it acquires a smoky, sugary, and subtly nutty taste. The color of hickory is also very striking. It produces a dense black smoke that gives smoked meats a richer flavor.

Times and Temps

Before we wrap our chuck roast, we’ll smoke it at a temperature of 225 degrees Fahrenheit (107 degrees Celsius) for the first part of the process. After the second stage of wrapping in aluminum foil, we’ll increase the temperature to 275 °F (135 °C) to help push the meat past the stall and on its way to the desired temperature.

As with any smoked meat, the meat is done when the temperature inside reaches 205 degrees Fahrenheit (95 degrees Celsius), not before. This is a bit more than the norm for smoked meat recipes, but getting the beef soft enough to shred easily is essential for making pulled beef.

Different factors, including the amount of the meat, will affect how long it needs to smoke. Chuck roast typically takes 90 minutes per pound of meat to cook. So, roughly 4 to 6 hours of cooking time is required for our 3 pound chuck roast.

A Few Tips

Be sure to make a little extra beef broth and save some aside for when you’re ready to shred the meat. When shredding beef, if it begins to seem dry, add some beef stock to re-salt and re-moisten the flesh.

To shred the beef, grab it with meat shredding claws (you can find some on Amazon) and twist it slowly. You can use forks instead, but specialized claws will be far more effective in cutting through the connective tissue.