Here is a delicious and surprisingly easy way to make smoked roast beef.
Roast beef sounds like something that ought to be complicated and hard but, in all honesty, making this in your smoker is just about as easy as falling off a log!
Of course, the best part about smoking a beef roast is the incredible roast beef sandwiches you will be eating! Let me tell you, these sandwiches are GOOOOOD!
Keep reading and I will show you how I make smoked roast beef and will give you a couple alternatives ideas to consider.
The Best Roasts to Smoke
Your first step is picking the right beef roast to smoke and it turns out that there are multiple nice options to choose from. What you are looking for is a lean, inexpensive cut of beef with minimal connective tissue.
Some great options are:
- Eye of Round Roast
- Bottom Round Roast
- Top Round Roast
- Rump Roast Roast
I used an eye of round for this cook and could not have been happier with the results. I was surprised by the cost of this roast as the Eye Round is usually a bargain…that’s okay though, it was still cheaper than eating out!
Two cuts that I would advise you to stay away from are:
- Chuck Roasts
Both chuck roasts and briskets are amazing on a smoker but need to be cooked to higher temperatures than those needed for roast beef.
Start By Preparing the Beef Roast
I use a simple two step process of trimming and seasoning to get the roast ready for the smoker. Some people like to include a third step, brining, but I have never found that to be necessary for roast beef.
If you feel like brining the beef then I will include instructions below.
Trim the Beef
Most of these roasts will have a layer of fat and a sinewy silver type skin.
I always remove the silverskin since it never really becomes tender. I also feel like it blocks the seasoning from getting into the meat.
Use a sharp knife, insert it under the silverskin and then tilt the blade upwards and sort of scrape the membrane off the meat. Don’t worry if you don’t get this step perfect.
Optional Brining Step
I used to brine beef roasts but, unless you are making pastrami, never felt it was worth the extra effort. That being said, everyone likes doing things their way so if you feel like including a bring step it certainly will not hurt!
- 2 quarts water
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
Combine the brine ingredients and mix well to dissolve. Add the roast to the brine and let it soak in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.
Remove the beef from the brine, rinse well under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
Apply the Dry Rub
I really pack on the dry rub onto beef roasts. Since these are large roasts, most of the meat does not get seasoned so I want to make sure the crust/bark has plenty of flavor.
To help the rub adhere I like to apply a binder to the meat before seasoning with the dry rub. The choice of binder is not important and some common ones include:
- Yellow mustard
- Olive oil
- Worcestershire sauce
- Low sodium soy sauce
I used a thin layer of yellow mustard for this roast.
For the dry rub I wanted something that would give a beautiful color and be nicely balanced with a kick of heat. Here is the recipe that I used:
Dry Rub for Smoked Roast Beef
- 3 tbls salt
- 2 tbls chili powder
- 2 tbls smoked paprika
- 1 tbls turbinado sugar
- 1 tbls black pepper
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp granulated onion
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
Apply the dry rub liberally to all sides of the beef and let it soak into the meat for about 30 minutes before it goes onto the smoker.
Smoke the Beef Roast at 225F
Set up your smoker to 225F.
I was using my Z Grills pellet grill and burning hickory pellets. You can use your Traeger, Pit Boss or Camp Chef pellet grills for this recipe and it will turn out just fine.
I did not use the “Smoke” setting for this cook but you certainly could for the first hour if you wanted a stronger smoke flavor.
If you don’t have hickory pellets then pecan, cherry or any of the competition blends would work fine. Apple pellets would be just a little too mild to stand up to the beef.
I like smoking beef roasts at 225F because the low temperature helps the thick meat cook evenly. If you cook thick cuts at high temperatures (325F) then the outside of the beef would be Well Done (160-165F) by the time the middle of the roast was at Medium Rare (130-135F).
How Long to Smoke a 3 pound Beef Roast at 225F?
When we are making roast beef we are cooking the beef to a Medium Rare temperature of 130-135F.
A rough rule of thumb is that in order to reach Medium Rare it takes about an hour per pound to smoke beef roasts at 225F. This means it will take about three hours to smoke a 3 pound beef roast.
I was cooking a 2.3 pound eye of round roast so the cook took a little over two hours.
After an hour on the pellet grill the rub had set on the roast and formed a crust. The roast was starting to tighten up a little and pop at the grains.
Once the rub sets into a crust we can start adding another level of flavor by spritzing the beef every 10-15 minutes. Here is a great beef spritz recipe.
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 3 tbls Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbls Teriyaki sauce
This spritz is a great combination of sweet with a bit of tangy umami that works well with beef.
Do NOT soak the roast. Give it a gentle mist instead. The last thing you want to do is wash the crust off the meat.
The spritz adds a layer of flavor and really makes the color on the meat POP!
That’s what I am talking about 🙂
Use an digital thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the beef. Once the beef reaches an internal temperature of 130-135F in the thickest part remove it from the smoker, place on a plate and loosely tent with aluminum foil.
Slice the Smoked Beef Thinly
Here is where things actually get hard!
I want to start making sandwiches as soon as the beef comes off the smoker. The problem is that I can slice the meat much thinner when it is cold than when it is hot.
If you can stand to wait, then you will get much thinner slices if you place the meat in the refrigerator and let it cool off for a couple of hours.
If you can’t stand to wait, and I wouldn’t blame you, then make sure you sharpen your knife well before slicing to make the job a little easier.
Regardless of whether you slice the meat while it is hot or cold, I have found that my granton edge brisket knife is the best tool for slicing off thin slices of meat.
This roast turned out incredibly juicy and was packed with flavor. We will be making this again soon!
Smoked Roast Beef
- 2.5 lbs Eye of Round roast
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard For Binder
- 3 tbsp salt Dry Rub
- 2 tbsp chili powder Dry Rub
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika Dry Rub
- 1 tbsp turbinado sugar Dry Rub
- 1 tbsp black pepper Dry Rub
- 1 tsp granulated garlic Dry Rub
- 1 tsp granulated onion Dry Rub
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder Dry Rub
- 1 cup apple juice Beef Spritz
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar Beef Spritz
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce Beef Spritz
- 1 tbsp Teriyaki sauce Beef Spritz
- Trim the beef roast of excess surface fat and silver skin membrane.
- Lightly coat the beef with the yellow mustard.
- Combine the dry rub ingredients and mix well.
- Apply the dry rub to the beef and let it rest for 30 minutes until the rub "melts" into the meat.
- Set your pellet grill to 225F using hickory pellets.
- Put the beef on the smoker and wait for about an hour for the rub to set into a crust.
- Combine the beef spritz ingredients and add to a spray bottle.
- Mist the beef with the Beef Spritz every 10-15 minutes until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 130-135F. Total cook time is about two hours.
- Remove the beef from the smoker, allow to rest and slice super thin with a granton edge slicer.