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Smoked Beef Shoulder / Chuck Roasts


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#1 Pam R

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 02:53 PM

After looking through the Behold My Butt topic, I started thinking about smoking a beef shoulder. Thinking quickly became doing.

I have a 6 kilo shoulder thawing. I'm planning on putting a rub on it tonight and then smoking tomorrow (going Weber shopping this afternoon to replace my old one - kettle, not bullet).

Any advice? Er. Any chance I can get anything similar with a beef shoulder roast? Please?

#2 rooftop1000

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 02:57 PM

You know Pam I have wondered that my self...if any other cuts that are good for potroast would be good for smokin'

anyone?


T
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#3 lancastermike

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 10:50 AM

Er.  Any chance I can get anything similar with a beef shoulder roast?  Please?

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A beef chuck roast with plenty of fast and sinew will cook up very much like a pork butt. The key is in selection of the meat. A piece of lean beef will just not work. But a low temp cook of a beef chuck will bring you something very close to pork. You may want to look for a final internal temp closer to 175 for the beef. It certainly will slice and should even shred.

As rooftop 1000 suggests, if it is a cut you would use for pot roast, it should smoke up and pull as well. Again, just make sure it has plenty of fat and other nasty bits for the slow cook to break down in to wonderful stuff.

Edited by lancastermike, 19 May 2007 - 10:51 AM.


#4 rooftop1000

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 11:09 AM

Hey I had forgotten about short ribs too...they are great on the grill
Pam I am guessing just follow the basic butt instructions perhaps with Mike's recomendation of 175 as a final temp. If you are looking for shreading you can stick 2 forks in there at that temp and see if you can get a good twist of meat out....sauce rolls and coleslaw, what time is dinner?


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#5 lancastermike

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 11:13 AM

Just last week I saw Steven Raichlen do a beef shoulder on his tv show. He called it a beef clod. It came out just like pork and he said he liked it better for sandwiches than brisket I also found this linkbeef shoulder

#6 snowangel

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:07 PM

Pam, I'll be curious to see a pic of the shoulder. And why a shoulder and not a brisket?

Oh, and why the new Weber? What's wrong with the old Kettle? The older Kettle's are great because everything is a bit "looser" so you can shut everything down and get a lower temp...

And, do tell more about the rub, please.

Finally, I'd trust the twist of the fork more than a temp, although please do let us know at what internal temp you pull the beast.
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#7 jayt90

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 06:37 PM

A 14 lb. shoulder won't get much from an overnight rub; the 1/2" around the surface will get it all. But it should be fine on a slow broil/smoke Weber, just gray rather than red for the pull. I'm looking for a Weber sphere as well, so far Home Depot at $Can. 150 is the only local choice.

#8 Pam R

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 08:25 PM

what time is dinner?

Good question. Anybody have any idea how long this will take? The goal is to get up nice and early to start it . . . well, that's the idea.

I also found this linkbeef shoulder

Excellent! Thanks.

Pam, I'll be curious to see a pic of the shoulder.  And why a shoulder and not a brisket?

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The shoulder is because I've done brisket before - and while I love the brisket, I wanted to try something else. Plus, kosher briskets are incredibly expensive. Heck, shoulders are too - but not as expensive as briskets.

Oh, and why the new Weber?  What's wrong with the old Kettle?  The older Kettle's are great because everything is a bit "looser" so you can shut everything down and get a lower temp...

She was taken to the lake a few years ago and never came home. She's not in very good shape and rather than bringing her back in, I decided it was time for a new one.

And, do tell more about the rub, please.

Nothing special. Just some brown sugar, black pepper, ancho chili powder, cumin and kosher salt. No measuring, just some of this and some of that.

Finally, I'd trust the twist of the fork more than a temp, although please do let us know at what internal temp you pull the beast.

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OK. Fork and thermometer are ready and waiting.

A 14 lb. shoulder won't get much from an overnight rub; the 1/2" around the surface will get it all.  But it should be fine on a slow broil/smoke Weber, just gray rather than red for the pull.  I'm looking for a Weber sphere as well, so far Home Depot at $Can. 150 is the only local choice.

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Good point about the rub not doing too much. I'm thinking it'll make a good crust?

Picked up this one at Rona today. It's a Weber 22.5" One Touch Silver. $128 at Rona, $147 at Home Depot. It seems to be the same one that I had. :wub:

#9 Pam R

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 05:48 PM

Hey I had forgotten about short ribs too...they are great on the grill


Short ribs would have been amazing. I also have beef spare ribs. That'll be next time.

#10 Pam R

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 06:01 PM

Yesterday I got the coals going at 7:30 AM and the shoulder went on the grill at around 8:
Posted Image

I couldn't get any good chunks of wood, so I used the wet-wood-in-foil trick. What does everybody else do with the wood?

After 4 hours, it was just starting to get a little colour on it:
Posted Image

After 8 hours I flipped it over. I think I read that some people flip them, some don't. Don't think it really made a difference. . . not sure:
Posted Image
(you can see the chicken thighs I threw on in this picture)

10 hours - looking good. Fork test tells me it's not ready.
Posted Image

Took it off at 12 hours. The thicker section was registering at 175 - the thinner part at just over 180:
Posted Image

There was only one small section that I could actually pull. The rest of the roast, though great-tasting, was too dry. Not enough marbling. With some of the homemade bbq sauce it was fine, but it was more of a slicing roast than a pulling roast.
Posted Image

Dinner. No slaw because I was working on some recipes for a column yesterday - but the cucumber, tomato and beet salads were great sides (with the roasted garlic potatoes).
Posted Image

And the chicken was delicious:
Posted Image


A couple of thoughts:
Tasted great - but it was too dry. Not the right cut.
I think a chuck roast would be better - I'll order some in.
The rub added a really nice flavour layer - but was not on long enough.

#11 Pam R

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 04:42 PM

Now I have a chuck roast thawing:
Posted Image

As the label says, it's a boneless chuck eye fillet. 1.618 kilos. It's thawing now, I'm going to put a rub of some sort on it tomorrow and then smoke Saturday or Sunday.

Should I remove the netting? I'm concerned about what I'll find if I do - it may be a little ragged and uneven. I wish I had one with the bone :hmmm: . My theory is that this will have a little more fat marbling than the shoulder.

Anybody ever smoke a chuck roast?

#12 UnConundrum

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 06:30 PM

Posted Image

Pam, I do them frequently. I'll buy a whole chuck roll at Sam's Club where they can be as much as 24 pounds. You can see a picture of one Here That's an old recipe, but the real issue is the method and not the recipe or ingredients. If you get into smoking big hunks of meat you'll learn that they have a temperature plateau where, if you do a low and slow, the internal temperature may actually drop. What happens is that the collagen starts to dissolve and this seems to consume energy causing the drop in temperature.

As you can see from the picture, I'm a Big Green Egg fan. In my large Egg, I've noticed that not only does the internal meat temperature drop, but the dome temperature drops as well... Like it's just sucking up the heat energy. The internal meat temperature will start to rise first, and then the dome temperature. When it comes out of that plateau and internal has gone up 10 degrees or so, the meat is done. This temperature can vary from hunk of meat to hunk of meat. The last two I did went 18 hours and were not dry at all. You can find a picture of a friend slicing the last one HERE The picture may look a little dry, but it wasn't. I stopped smoking briskets because I get better results with the chuck.

Edited by UnConundrum, 14 June 2007 - 06:35 PM.


#13 Pam R

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 06:46 PM

Your roasts look great. This is a small one, about 3 - 3 1/2 lbs. I'm assuming it won't take as long to cook. As you've tied yours, I feel better about leaving the netting on.

#14 UnConundrum

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 06:56 PM

The only thing about the netting is that the "crust" may stick to it. To some, that's the best part :)

Just a word of caution about the smaller roasts; I've never done one successfully. It doesn't make sense to me, and I've done dozens of the bigger ones. The key to tenderness is going slow, and maybe that's just harder with the smaller roast... less mass and probably less moisture inside per square inch of exposed surface. Make sure you keep the temperature low.... 225 F / 105 C Some believe that you don't add to the smoked flavor after 135 F / 58 C so maybe you should try wrapping it in foil once it reaches 135, and finish slowly, wrapped.

#15 Pam R

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 01:33 PM

Here it is, ready to go on the Weber. It was rubbed, then left, uncovered, in the refrigerator for about 24 hours.
Posted Image

My thermometer, it turns out, needs replacing. So I had no idea how hot the grill was. It was hotter than I wanted and things went much faster than I anticipated. I pulled it off the grill after 3 1/2 - 4 hours. A meat probe told me that it was 169 degrees.
Posted Image

It was wonderful. Tender and tasted great. The rub added great flavour to the roast, but I didn't get as much smokiness as I usually do (heat too high? - less time on the smoker?). There wasn't a prominent smoke ring either. But it was sooo moist. There's no question the chuck is a better option than the shoulder. Now I'm going to try to get one with the bone in it.
Posted Image

#16 rooftop1000

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 09:44 AM

The smoke ring may not be deep, but its there. Looks tasty I may have to try beef soon.


tracey
The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers
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#17 snowangel

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 10:02 AM

Pam, if you click here, you'll see a discussion on The Smoke Ring.

Sometimes I get one, sometimes I don't, but it doesn't seem to matter in the final product.

Pam, your heat was probably too high initially. Was the beast really cold when you put it on? That helps too.
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#18 Pam R

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 08:25 PM

Tracey - do. It was really good.

Thanks, Susan! I remember that topic. I'm pretty sure my heat was too high for the entire cooking period. It was a little light on the smoky flavour - but still excellent. I need a new thermometer.

#19 phatj

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 06:28 PM

I smoked a smallish chuck roast (~3 lb pot roast size) yesterday. I was amazed how long it took. I had it in the "smoker" (gas grill with soaked wood chips directly on top of the burner baffle) for three hours, then in the oven for probably 2-3 more. It didn't come out pullable, but I really didn't let it cook long enough.

I was amazed how long it took. The grill temp averaged 225-250F, and the oven was at 225. Lest you think the thermometer in the grill was reading high, I had another hunk in the oven at 225 the whole time, and its internal temp was a bit lower than the one from the grill when I moved it to the oven.

The meat hit the stall or plateau at about 150F. I was expecting it to be similar to pork butt, which I recall is about 170. It stuck longer than I was expecting, too, for a piece of meat that was only about 2 inches thick. Anyway, I took it off at about 155 because I was starving and impatient. The taste was excellent, but it was fairly tough. The other piece I left in the oven until it hit 170F and it was much more tender.

#20 snowangel

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 07:52 PM

The meat hit the stall or plateau at about 150F. I was expecting it to be similar to pork butt, which I recall is about 170. It stuck longer than I was expecting, too, for a piece of meat that was only about 2 inches thick.

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I'm thinking, after all of the butts, briskets and ribs I have smoked that the point at which it stalls, and for how long it stalls, has less to do with the type of meat (pork or beef) or the thickness that the gristle and collagen that the particular piece of meat has. Patience is indeed a virtue when it comes to smoking meat, and I have been known to pull a hunk off the trusty Weber Kettle (my smoker) at midnight, stick it in the fridge and finish it in the oven the next day (:shock:) .
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#21 Restorer

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 09:01 PM

I'm thinking, after all of the butts, briskets and ribs I have smoked that the point at which it stalls, and for how long it stalls, has less to do with the type of meat (pork or beef) or the thickness that the gristle and collagen that the particular piece of meat has.

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That's what I'm thinking as well. Here's my theory: the plateau temperature depends on both the cooking temperature and the amount of collagen in the meat. The plateau occurs when the energy going into the meat (as heat, because the meat is cooler than the smoker environment) equals and cancels out the energy being used to convert collagen to gelatin. The amount of collagen being converted depends on the temperature of the meat, and of course, the total amount of collagen left in the meat.

So when you cook a big piece of meat at a higher temperature, these rates never match up during cooking - either the plateau would occur long after the meat is overdone, or all the collagen would run out before the plateau is reached. The latter occurred to me when I slow-cooked a pork butt in the oven.

Also, small pieces of meat probably run out of collagen before they reach the plateau, even at fairly low temperatures. I doubt you'd reliably see a temperature plateau in a rack of ribs.
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#22 Pam R

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 08:28 PM

I'm got a bone-in, unrolled chuck roast in the cooler thawing now. I'm planning on smoking it this weekend -- I figure I'll put a rub together and get it all nice and rubbed on Friday. Smoke on Saturday.

Any rub ideas?

eta - it's a good 5-6 lbs. I've never smoked one with a bone in it -- how long do you think I'll need to leave it on? Is it even possible to guess?

#23 Jon Savage

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 08:52 PM

I'm got a bone-in, unrolled chuck roast in the cooler thawing now.  I'm planning on smoking it this weekend -- I figure I'll put a rub together and get it all nice and rubbed on Friday. Smoke on Saturday.

Any rub ideas?

eta - it's a good 5-6 lbs. I've never smoked one with a bone in it -- how long do you think I'll need to leave it on? Is it even possible to guess?

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For a rub I'm partial to 1/4 cup dried ground California (or New Mexico Chiles), about the same amount of kosher salt, generous addition of (freshly) ground black pepper, 1/8 cup or so brown sugar, good whack of garlic powder, same whack of sweet or 1/2 sharp Paprika and freshly ground nutmeg to taste + maybe a dash of smoked ground cayenne or chipoltle (how's that for a multi-cultural rub?).

As for time with a temp or 225ish in the smoke chamber a equivalent size of bone in pork shoulder has taken around 8-11 hours for me. I'd expect the beef to be in the same ballpark; just let it get past the plateau and rise 7-14 degrees or so then rest.

I look forward to hearing how it comes out Pam. While I don't keep at all kosher I'm always quite open (appreciative) to/of non-porky alternatives.

Edited by 6ppc, 29 July 2008 - 08:54 PM.

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#24 Dave the Cook

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 09:39 PM

Pam, you say it's unrolled. Do you mean it's a flat slab of meat, like 40 - 50 mm thick?

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#25 Pam R

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 07:54 AM

I mean it's not boneless, rolled and netted. But I haven't taken it out of the packaging yet. I'll post a picture as soon as it's thawed.

#26 Pam R

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 06:55 PM

Sorry for the less than fabulous photos. I tried to get a pictures from each side of the roast. It's just over 3 kg, and I'd guess it's about 4 inches thick.

Posted Image Posted Image

Posted Image Posted Image

This roast came frozen and I was surprised to see that the bottom had slits cut into it (through the bones).

My rub:
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. ancho chili
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. generic penzey's chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Posted Image

And here it is rubbed.
Posted Image


I just put the rub on now and it's in the fridge, open. I don't plan on smoking it until Saturday -- leave it uncovered or do I cover it?

#27 Jon Savage

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 04:02 PM

How did it turn out Pam?

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#28 Pam R

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 06:38 PM

Excellent. It was on the smoker for 12 hours or so - it was cold and rainy and a pain. Then I wrapped it up and it went into the oven for a couple of hours.
Bad weather and unplanned flu meant cancelled long-weekend plans, so most of it went into the freezer. I hope it thaws well . . :blink:

#29 Nawlins

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 01:10 PM

Has anyone ever smoked a chuck roast? I was watching them smoke pork ribs on America's Test Kitchen and decide to try it with a chuck roast.
You season the bejezus out of roast and then put it on the cold side of a smoker. I used a small Weber with pecan wood. Tent the roast with foil to keep moist. Then just let it go at 225F for about 3 hours...adding smoke and charcoal as needed.
Then completely wrap in foil and cook for another hour, either on the pit or in the oven.
I will take pictures next time...it comes out dark and crusty.