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Chuck Roast just so-so; what went wrong?

Steve-OSteve-O Posts: 302
edited 12:09AM in EggHead Forum
My 2lb chuck roast turned out to be a disappointment, and I don't know if it was something I might have done/not done or if it was just a mediocre piece of meat. First of all, after 4 hours of smoking indirect at 230-250* the Poulder read only 152* internal. I opened both top and bottom vents a little to let the dome temp gradually rise to 350* for another hour. By then the internal temp was 167* and I went ahead and pulled it because it was past time for dinner. Much to my surprise, it was very tender and juicy, but it still had way too much fat in the meat that had not yet rendered out. The taste was just ok to me (my wife really liked it - or said she did), but I attributed that to the fat still in the meat. I had seasoned with coarse Dizzy Dust and mustard the day before and smoked with ash wood. At the rate that the Poulder was changing temps by the end of the cook, 1* every 2-3 minutes, it would have been another hour to hour and a half before it hit my target temp of 190* internal. What might have prevented the roast from reaching my target temp of 190* in 5+ hours? BTW, the internal temp rose steadily to 150* and then held there for over an hour. I thought that was probably the plateau and that when it broke through, the fat would be mostly gone - not so. I don't know if I will try another chuck roast or not - for the time invested, I was not impressed with the results.


  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    <p />Steve-O,[p]Remember the rule of thumb. Lean meat = fast and hot. Fatty meat = lo&slo[p]A chuck is lean - very lean - so slow cooking is not going to do much but dry it out. The chuck is not much good for Egging unless you are going for pulled shreaded beef for tacos or sandwiches. Maybe sear it well and toss it in the crockpot. It is a cut best avoided.[p]Cooking indirect at 225° might give you much lower temps at the meat level or where circulation on the heat is less and your meat might be seeing temps more like 190-200° so getting the meat to that same temp is going to be impossible or longgggggggg. Indirect cooking allows higher temps to be used without burning, so go higher in dome temp when cooking indirect - maybe 300°. [p]I did a chuck as one of my very 1st meals - and I never did one again. Very dry. Would have made a nice piece to add to chili or soup.

  • StogieStogie Posts: 279
    <p />Tim M,[p]Not sure what kind of chuck roast you are buying, but the many I have done are ALL loaded with fat. I equate them to the pork butt of beef.[p]The pic is the type of chuck roast I look for. VERY fatty and great for low and slow smoking. There are only a couple of chuck cut's that are lean and I have never seen one at my butcher.[p]Once again, the problems Steve-O had seems to be in measuring the temps at the dome level....You should always measure your temps at the meat level.....that removes any and ALL questions as to the many set-up's for cooking. It also eliminates the differences in weather and therefore the difference in dome temps vs. grate level temps. There simply is no "rule" that will be accurate when comparing dome vs. grate temps.[p]My advice to Steve-O......when cooking roasts, it is the THICKNESS of the roast that will determine the timing. The same is true for brisket......especially when doing flats. I am willing to bet your grate temps were much lower than you thought....therefore much more time to finish.[p]Stick with it...keep good notes and you will eventually conquer the chuck roast. It really is a great roast for low and slow cooking.[p]Stogie
  • Steve-OSteve-O Posts: 302
    Thanks for the suggestions and encouragment. The roast was 2"+ thick. I didn't stop to think that it takes ribs 3-4 hours at 350* indirect, and ribs are not nearly 2" thick. I do have one more chuck roast in the freezer - I'll plan on more time for it, and maybe try 300* instead of 225-250.

  • Steve-OSteve-O Posts: 302
    I have seen you make this recommendation for chuck roast before, but I have never seen a chuck roast that I considered to be lean enough to turbo cook. The roast I cooked yesterday had LOTS of fat in it and I decided to go with lo 'n slo because I wanted to render out most of that fat.

  • ZipZip Posts: 372
    Stogie,[p]This is solid advice to Steve-O and I too question where Tim is getting his chuck roast. It is the beef equal to a pork butt and is loaded with connective tissue and fat. I have tried to offer a friendly correction to this information given in the past, but to no avail....[p]Ashley
  • ZipZip Posts: 372
    Steve-O,[p]As said before, keep thinking pork butt and there should be a plataeu with this cut, like a shoulder, just shorter in duration.[p]Ashley
  • BasselopeBasselope Posts: 102
    A month or so ago, I bought a two pack of chuck roasts at Sam's both were about 3.5 lbs and 3" thick.
    Put them on at the same time, pulled the first off at 155 cause it was time to eat. Meat was OK, but not great.
    Left the other on till 190 and it was awsome. (3 more hours)

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    <p />Stogie,[p]I agree with you, that looks like a pork butt. I wouldn't buy that. Mine look like this. The poster said his was 2" thick and 2 lbs. That one looks like 6-8 lbs or more and 6" thick. [p]Tim

  • img126.gif
    <p />Tim M,[p]This is a picture of the chuck roast that the stores around here sell. It's loaded with fat.[p]rj

  • bbqbethbbqbeth Posts: 178
    OK Steve-O, here we go......... ;-) are you listening? good.
    strange thing.i bought 3 of those beasts the other at my local WD. anywhooo. didn't have time to do a PULLED BEEF..SO, i marinated mine in fermented black bean paste, soy and teriyaki, lotsa garlic.. i cooked it about an hour. (2" thick..8" dia. w/hickory, 300, flat out on the grill..) good stuff. flavour beyond words..
    good fajita's!!!! yes!
    enjoy your week!
    don't measure here.. [p]

  • QBabeQBabe Posts: 2,275
    Steve-O,[p]I did one a few weeks ago. Mine was the same two-pack about 3.5 - 4 lbs each. I did mine low and slow as well, and it took 7 hrs to get to an internal of 200°. I sprinkled with Dizzy Pig's Cow Lick Steak Rub and it was one FINE tasting pulled beef. It was, however, a little drier than I would have liked, but all of it went into foodsaver bags and not a bit is left in my freezer now! Next time, I'm going to combine it with a pork butt or shoulder cook, with the pork on a raised grid and the beef below it getting basted with the pork drippings to help with the dryness. Don't know whether that'll make any differnce, but I'll post the results...[p]I'm no expert, but I am going to try again and my $.02 to you would be to give it another shot, just 'cause it was so tasty....[p]QBabe

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