Learn how to smoke a chuck roast on a Traeger pellet grill following our detailed instructions and recipe below!
This is an easy, affordable, and crowd pleasing dish to prepare to make pot roast, shredded beef for tacos, and countless other purposes.
You've probably seen many a chuck roast thrown into a slow cooker all day to make "pot" roast.
That's because low and slow is the BEST way to cook this very affordable cut of beef.
Only instead of braising it with liquid in a pot like pot roast, today we are going to slow smoke a chuck roast on our Traeger pellet grill!
- What is a Chuck Roast?
- What is the Best Type of Chuck Roast to Smoke on a Traeger?
- How to Prepare a Chuck Roast for the Traeger Pellet Grill
- The Best Wood Pellets for Smoking a Chuck Roast on a Traeger Pellet Grill
- How a Traeger Pellet Grill Works
- How to Smoke a Chuck Roast on a Traeger Pellet Grill
- Using the "Texas Crutch"
- Making Traeger Smoked Pot Roast by Braising to Finish
- How to Pull or Shred a Traeger Smoked Chuck Roast
- How to HOLD a Smoked Chuck Roast on the Traeger
- How to Store and Reheat Traeger Smoked Shredded Beef
- 📖 Recipe
What is a Chuck Roast?
Much like a pork shoulder, or Boston butt, on a hog, a chuck roast is meat cut from the shoulder muscles of a steer, making it one of the best options for smoking pulled beef. (Or shredded beef, depending on which term you prefer).
The seasoning is usually straightforward, as a simple dry rub can bring out all the flavors in the meat, and then a nice long smokey cook on the Traeger pellet grill will tenderize it.
After a whole day of cooking, one good sized chuck roast will definitely feed a crowd.
You can shred it to make sandwiches, tacos, fajitas, or even serve it like pot roast alongside some traditional carrots and potatoes.
What is the Best Type of Chuck Roast to Smoke on a Traeger?
Bone-In or Out?
You could go with the full chuck slab that looks similar to a brisket, or you can look for the blade cut version without the bone.
The bone can add flavor. But it will also increase the time it takes cook.
If you DO get a bone-in chuck roast, there is no need to remove the bone before cooking.
It will slide out cleanly and easily after the chuck roast has been smoked, much in the same way one does on a perfectly smoked pork shoulder.
The size of the chuck roast you choose to smoke on your Traeger depends on how many people you want to feed, but also on the time you want to spend smoking the meat.
A 3 to 4-pound chuck roast will take around 7-8 hours to smoke on a Traeger at 250°F and will feed about 7-9 people.
So yes, smoking a chuck roast on your Traeger can take all day.
There is also nothing wrong with smoking it the day before you serve it.
Smoked chuck roast will reheat wonderfully in the oven in an aluminum pan covered with aluminum foil.
You can even add a little beef broth to the pan to bring it back to life and infuse some additional moisture.
This way you can enjoy visiting with your guests rather than tending to the smoker on the day of your gathering.
How to Prepare a Chuck Roast for the Traeger Pellet Grill
You can think of the process of smoking a chuck roast on the Traeger split into three parts.
- The first part is preparing and seasoning the chuck roast
- The second part is setting up and smoking the meat on the Traeger
- The final part is resting, and then pulling or shredding it and incorporating it into whatever dish you are using it in.
Trimming the Fat
Leaving a little exterior fat is ok. You are smoking the chuck roast long enough that most of it will render away.
Depending how it was butchered and packaged, you'll notice one side may have a thicker "Fat Cap" on it.
It's OK to leave some of this in place but ideally trim it down to no more than about ¼ inch of thickness.
After trimming, score through the fat cap with a good knife in 2 perpendicular directions to help the fat underneath render out during the smoking process and allow some more of the rub to penetrate the meat.
Best Rubs for a Traeger Chuck Roast
You have lots of options for seasoning and preparing your chuck roast depending on the flavor profile you are going after.
You can use anything from a traditional American BBQ rub to something more exotic or internationally flavored such as a spicy chipotle rub for fajitas.
Maybe something more Asian inspired for stuffing dumplings or serving with lo mein?
Because we are going to set our Traeger to only 225-250°F, you don't need to worry about any sugar burning at those "low and slow" temperatures.
However, unlike pork, which pairs well with sugary BBQ rubs, beef is usually better suited for more straightforward salt and pepper style seasoning.
You can add a little cayenne for extra heat or garlic and onion powder for additional flavor, but go easy on the rubs that are heavy in sugar content.
We are big fans of Bad Byron's Butt Rub Seasoning on smoked beef, especially brisket and chuck roast because it is heavy on flavor, and has no sugar.
After trimming the fat, cover the chuck roast in a thin layer of cooking oil or yellow mustard.
Yes, you read that right.
Many professional barbecue chefs use yellow mustard to help their rub emulsify and stick to the meat.
After the long cook you won't taste any mustard flavor, trust us.
Be generous with the amount of rub you put on.
Then you can wrap the chuck roast in plastic wrap and put it back in the refrigerator until you are ready to smoke it.
This can even be done the night before to save some time the next day and to let the salt in the rub fully penetrate the meat.
For additional flavor, some BBQ cooks like to inject their chuck roast with a marinade before putting it in the smoker.
The idea is to add flavor and moisture deep into the meat to help season the bland interior of the beef while its cooking.
The only problem is it adds water weight and significantly extra time to your cook.
By adding 8 oz of injection to your smoked chuck roast you may be increasing your cooking time by an hour or even more.
And think about it, when the chuck roast comes off of the Traeger, you are going to be pulling it apart in a big tray, and adding seasoning at that point too.
So why go through the hassle of injecting the interior if you are going to be adding seasoning later anyways?
Injections work great on sliced meats like the ones mentioned above because you are slicing and serving and wanting the slices of meat to have flavor all the way through.
But with pulled or shredded beef meat like smoked chuck roast, skip the hassle and add your seasoning at the end.
If you REALLY want to inject your smoked chuck roast or any other type of meat, always use a good quality meat injector like this one from Ofargo.
For chuck roast we recommend a blend of beef broth, Worcestershire or soy sauce depending on the style you are going for, and a little but of Bad Byron's Butt Rub mixed in as well.
The Best Wood Pellets for Smoking a Chuck Roast on a Traeger Pellet Grill
You have a lot of freedom when it comes to choosing the right wood pellets to smoke your Traeger smoked chuck roast
Mesquite and hickory will give a very aggressive smoke flavor, so should mixed with milder wood pellets so as not to overdo it.
Alternatively, you can also go for an overall milder smoke flavor by choosing oak or fruitwood pellets.
Pecan, apple, beech, alder, and cherry all give great results on smoked chuck roast.
For a straightforward smoke right out of the bag, we are big fans of Knotty Wood Plum Pellets.
For the best results, store your unused pellets in a sealed room temperature container like this 20 lb pellet container rather than in the Traeger hopper outside.
Traeger pellets do not last forever, but will definitely last a LOT longer if stored indoors in a quality airtight container.
How a Traeger Pellet Grill Works
In order to cook ANYTHING well on a Traeger pellet grill, you need to first have a basic understanding of how a pellet grill works.
***Completely New to Using a Traeger Pellet Grill? No Worries!****
Or hop over and check out this Complete Guide to Understanding How a Pellet Grill Works first if you are interested in learning more. We'll be here when you get back!
Add your Hardwood Pellets
First, you add hardwood pellets into the side hopper.
The Traeger pellet grill automatically feeds these small wood pellets via an auger mechanism to a fire pot where they are burned up, providing both heat and smokey flavor.
The pellet grill automatically controls the flow of pellets depending on your temperature setting so that you maintain an even temperature throughout the entire cook.
How to Start up the Traeger
There is a specific start up process for the Traeger brand pellet grills you can read all about in depth here if you aren't sure how to fire it up the first time.
Otherwise, here is the basic process for how to start a Traeger before throwing on your chuck roast:
- Plug in the grill.
- Flip the power switch to ON and turn the dial to "Smoke".
- You will hear the fan kick on and the auger start to move and begin to kick pellets into the fire pot. Your fire rod will begin to heat up as well.
- Leave the lid open for about 5-7 minutes until you start to see white billowing smoke come out of the grill. This happens when the pellets are first igniting.
- Once a smoke is being produced, close the lid and change the temperature dial to your desired temperature setting.
- Allow about 10-15 minutes to preheat the grill.
- While you are waiting, make sure you've got the drip pan in place and the grease bucket hanging to catch any grease that comes out during the cook.
- Put your grates on if they aren't already in place.
- Using a good bristle free grill brush, clean off the grill grates if there is any leftover stuck on food from the last cook.
- When the pellet grill comes up to temperature go ahead and put on your food!
How to Smoke a Chuck Roast on a Traeger Pellet Grill
What Temperature do you Smoke a Chuck Roast on a Traeger Pellet Grill?
After going through the startup process described above, set the temperature to 250°F, and let the Traeger come up to temperature.
How Long Does it Take to Smoke a Chuck Roast on a Traeger?
At 250°F, it will take roughly 1.5-2 hours per lb to fully cook a chuck roast to the point where you can pull or shred it.
So a 3-4 lb chuck roast may take anywhere from 6-8 hours.
This will vary based on outdoor temperature, humidity, the fat content of the chuck you purchased and whether or not is is bone-in or boneless.
Make sure to use a good temperature probe to keep track of your meat's temperature while it is cooking.
We are big fans of this one from ThermoPro.
While we have used and recommended ThermoPro for years, lately we have also become big fans of the MEATER leave in thermometer.
It is extremely accurate and has an incredible 165 foot Bluetooth range and works right with your smartphone so you don't need to carry a separate controller around with you like many other remote thermometers require.
It's got a great free app that is constantly being updated and even has an algorithm to predict how much longer your type of meat will take to cook based on cooking temperature, target temperature, and current internal temperature.
It's like a GPS for your meat!
To What Internal Temperature Should Smoked Chuck Roast be Cooked?
You are going to leave your chuck roast on the Traeger until it hits somewhere between 197-203°F when measured with a good temperature probe or instant thermometer.
Don't rush it!
Chuck roast is not a cut of meat you want to serve medium or even medium well like a nice ribeye roast.
There is too much intramuscular fat and connective tissue that needs to break down and render at higher temperatures.
Smoked chuck roast is best served when cooked to 200°F internally, then allowed to rest, and then pulled or shredded.
It will not be fall apart tender or pull well even if you take it off at 180°F.
Using the "Texas Crutch"
One way to speed up your cooking time and increase your Traeger smoked chuck roast's tenderness is by using a tried and tested barbecue technique known as the "Texas Crutch".
Don't worry, it's not complicated.
Sometimes for hours depending on the size of the meat.
This can be maddening if your guests are arriving soon and the internal temperature needs to rise another 50 degrees and hasn't budged for over an hour!
Without getting too much into the science behind why this happens, just understand it has to do with a lot of trapped moisture evaporating at this temperature and continually cooling your meat as it evaporates.
One way to "power through the stall" is to take your chuck roast off of the Traeger when it hits 150°F, and double or triple wrap it tightly in aluminum foil.
Then replace your thermometer, place the meat back on the Traeger, and let it continue to cook.
The aluminum foil will keep the moisture from evaporating, possibly keeping your meat from drying out as much while to cooks, and most importantly, let it continue to steadily rise in temperature.
Leave it wrapped until it gets to your target temperature range of 197°-203°F and then remove it from the smoker.
Unwrap the chuck roast and let it rest for about 20-30 minutes before pulling or shredding it.
Making Traeger Smoked Pot Roast by Braising to Finish
Love Pot Roast?
Want to make it on your Traeger?
Cool. Here's what you do:
Smoke your chuck roast directly on the Traeger for the first 3 hours or so as described above until it hits around 150°F internally.
Now, instead of wrapping directly in aluminum foil as in the previous section, place it in an aluminum pan and add about 2 cups of good quality beef stock into the pan.
You are also welcome to add some sliced onions and carrots, or anything else you want.
If you are going for Mexican flavors, maybe toss in a couple seeded jalapenos.
For more Asian flavors, add some soy sauce and a little rice wine vinegar.
Then tightly cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil and place it back on the Traeger.
You can still run your temperature probe underneath the foil and into the chuck roast to keep an eye on the internal temperature.
Don't just peirce the top of the foil though or all that good tenderizing steam will escape and kind of defeat the purpose.
How to Pull or Shred a Traeger Smoked Chuck Roast
Once you've removed the smoked chuck roast from the Traeger and have let it rest for about 20-30 minutes, it's time to pull that meat!
You can use 2 forks or, better yet, a pair of BBQ Bear Claws to make the job even faster (and fun)!
Once you have pulled the meat, taste test it for seasoning, you likely need to add some salt, beef stock, or some more Bad Byron's Butt Rub.
Add a little salt at time, mixing it in and re-taste testing as you go.
As you shred the beef it should start to soak up more and more of that beef stock will impart more saltiness too.
At this point you can serve immediately AS-IS, re-cover the pan and save it for later or begin to immediately incorporate it into your chosen recipe such as BBQ Beef Sandwiches, steamed baos, or fajitas.
How to HOLD a Smoked Chuck Roast on the Traeger
What do you do if you finish your smoked chuck roast well before your guests arrive?
If you hit that magic 200°F temperature internally early in the day or evening, drop the temperature on your Traeger down to 180°F.
Then leave the chuck roast lightly wrapped in aluminum foil so it doesn't dry out, and close the lid.
This works great in an oven too depeding how long you are waiting and if you want to save your expensive pellets.
Anything above 170°F will keep the meat at a food safe temperature (unlike leaving it sitting out on the counter...don't do that) while also keeping it hot.
If you keep the lid closed and/or the pan covered with aluminum foil, it will stay plenty moist as well.
You can hold the meat here for several hours if you need to until your guests arrive, and you may find it shreds and tastes EVEN BETTER after doing so.
Pro Tip: Hold the meat at this temperature in its WHOLE form rather than shredding if you can, then shred and season immediately before serving for maximum tenderness and moistness.
How to Store and Reheat Traeger Smoked Shredded Beef
If you are saving your Traeger smoked and shredded chuck roast for a party the next day, or using the beef in a recipe that you are going to prepare at another time, then you can easily store it in the refrigerator after shredding it and letting it cool for about 20-30 minutes.
Make sure to keep it covered at all times so that it does not dry out.
When you are ready to reheat it, you can add a little additional beef stock to liven it back up and put it in the oven, covered in foil at 300°F and reheat for about 30-45 minutes depending on the amount of beef.
Stir it occasionally and check the temperature to get it the point of being piping hot without overcooking it or drying it out, somewhere around 180°F with an instant read thermometer.
Traeger Smoked Chuck Roast
- Traeger Pellet Grill
- Traeger Wood Pellets
- Cutting Board
- Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
- Aluminum Foil Trays
- Large forks or a Pair of BBQ Bear Claws
- Internal Meat Thermometer
- Plastic Wrap
- Spray Bottle (optional)
- 3-4 lb Chuck Roast
- Olive Oil or Yellow Mustard to apply rub with
- 3 tablespoon Kosher Salt
- 2 tablespoon Fresh black pepper
- 2 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 1 tablespoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Cayenne optional, for spice
Beef Spritz (optional)
- 1 Cup Beef Broth or Stock for spraying
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
Preparing the Chuck Roast
- Trim any excess fat from the exterior of the chuck roast. Trim any fat cap down to ¼" thickness.
- Score the fat cap with a meat knife in 2 directions perpendicular to each other.
Apply the Beef Rub
- In a bowl, mix all the Beef Rub ingredients.
- Cover your chuck roast with a thin layer of olive oil or yellow mustard, then generously apply your rub to coat the entire exterior of the meat.
- Wrap your chuck roast in plastic wrap and place it back in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Start the Traeger Pellet Grill
- Load the hopper of the Traeger with your chosen wood pellets.
- Turn on the Traeger and move the dial to the "Smoke" setting.
- Leave the lid open for 5-7 minutes until you start seeing white billowing smoke coming out of the grill. This means the initial pellets are igniting.
- Close the lid and turn the temperature dial to 250°F. Allow 10-15 minutes for the grill to come up to temperature.
Smoke the Chuck Roast
- Remove the chuck roast from the refrigerator and from the plastic wrap. Add some additional leftover rub if any came off, and when the Traeger has reached 250°F, place your meat directly on grill.
- Place a leave in thermometer inside the roast making sure to not touch the bone.
- Close the lid to the Traeger. Every hour you can optionally spray the exterior of the meat with the beef broth and worcestershire mixture for additional moisture and flavor.
- Cook the chuck roast until it reaches about 150-160°F internally.
- At this point you can leave the chuck roast on the Traeger to continue cooking or remove it and wrap it in foil to speed up the cooking time.
- Carefully remove the chuck roast and place on a large sheet of aluminum foil.
- Wrap the brisket in opposing directions with three layers of foil, tightly.
- Replace the temperature probe and place back on the Traeger.
- Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches between 197°-203°F.
- Once the internal temperature hits 197°-203°F, remove the roast from the smoker and place in an empty aluminum pan. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
Resting and Pulling the Beef
- Pull your smoked chuck roast using a pair or forks or bear claws. Discard any large pieces of fat and the bone.
- After you finish pulling the smoked pot roast, taste for saltiness and add salt and pepper, leftover rub, and/or some beef stock as needed.
- Serve immediately or incorporate into another recipe requiring smoked pulled or shredded beef.