These smoked BBQ beef sandwiches are made with tender and flavorful pulled chuck roast. Serve this smoked BBQ pulled beef with your favorite sandwich toppings like dill pickles, thinly sliced onion, or fresh coleslaw for a fantastic BBQ beef sandwich!
If you’re familiar with my outdoor cooking YouTube channels, then you know that I love to create restaurant-quality, flavor-packed meals at home. And these pulled chuck roast BBQ sandwiches definitely taste like they came straight from your favorite barbecue joint!
First we smoked the whole chuck roast on the pellet grill, and then we braised the roast in a mixture of beef stock, barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, and a few other ingredients. The result was perfectly tender and flavorful shredded beef that made some amazing barbecue sliders!
These smoked pulled BBQ beef sandwiches are similar to your favorite pulled pork sandwiches, except made with chuck roast instead or pork butt, so they cook up in less time. And dare I say, we actually like these smoked BBQ beef chuck roast sandwiches more than pulled pork sandwiches!
So if you’re looking for an awesome sandwich to make on your pellet grill or smoker, give these pulled barbecue beef sandwiches a try:
What is a BBQ Beef Sandwich?
A barbecue beef sandwich is a popular dish made with smoked or slow-cooked beef, typically seasoned with barbecue rubs or sauces. The beef is the star of the show in these barbecue sandwiches, and the most popular cuts to use are chuck roast, brisket, or short ribs. The meat is cooked until it reaches a tender and flavorful consistency, making it easy to shred or pull apart. Once cooked, the BBQ beef is typically placed inside a bun or between slices of bread, creating a sandwich.
Think of a BBQ beef sandwich as the red meat sister of the pulled pork sandwich. Just like a BBQ pork sandwich, popular toppings for a smoked pulled beef sandwich include coleslaw for crunch and freshness, pickles for a tangy kick, thinly sliced onions for added sharpness, and a drizzle of barbecue sauce.
Ingredients for BBQ Chuck Roast Sandwiches
This easy smoked barbecue chuck roast recipe involves two main steps: smoking the chuck roast on the pellet grill whole first, and then braising it in a mixture of barbecue sauce and vinegar.
Here are the ingredients that you need to smoke the whole chuck roast:
- beef chuck roast – Our roast was about 3.25 pounds.
- mustard and Worcestershire sauce – We used a mix of these two ingredients for the binder.
- ‘Que That Barbecue Seasoning – Our own barbecue seasoning, available here!
- Texas Style Rub – A very simple all-purpose rub consisting of salt, pepper, and garlic powder – Get the Texas Rub recipe here!
Once the chuck roast has been smoked directly on the grill grates, you will need these ingredients for the braising liquid:
- barbecue sauce – I used KC Masterpiece Original Barbecue Sauce, one of my go-to sauces because I like the sweetness and consistency. Since this is a more sugary sauce, I recommend adding apple cider vinegar to the pan with the sauce to help offset the sweetness.
- Worcestershire sauce
- hot sauce
- apple cider vinegar
- finely diced onion
Selecting the Perfect Chuck Roast for BBQ Beef
Choosing the right chuck roast is key to a successful BBQ beef sandwich. Look for a well-marbled piece, as the fat will render during smoking, keeping the meat moist and flavorful. The times and recipe in this post are based on a chuck roast in the 3 – 3.5 pound range.
Toppings for Smoked Pulled Beef Sandwiches
The topping options for these smoked pulled beef sandwiches are endless, but I recommend that you stick with sandwich condiments and toppings that are similar to what you would use for pulled pork sandwiches.
Here are some of our favorite BBQ beef sandwich toppings:
- thinly sliced raw onion
- dill pickle chips
- homemade coleslaw
- Arby’s Horsey sauce – We love this sauce on pulled pork sandwiches also!
- sliced pickled jalapenos
- pickled onions
Notes for Smoked BBQ Chuck Roast
- Pellet Grill Temp – 250-275°F, then increase temp to 325°F later in the cook
- Wood Pellets Used – 50/50 blend of Bear Mountain Hickory wood pellets and Pit Boss Charcoal Blend wood pellets
- Smoking Time – about 5 hours at 250°F, then about 2 hours braising on the grill at 325°F
- Pellet Grill Used – Traeger Ironwood XL
How to Make Smoked Pulled BBQ Beef on the Pellet Grill
Preheat the Pellet Grill or Smoker
Achieving the perfect smoky flavor and tenderness in your chuck roast starts with preheating your pellet grill correctly. Follow these steps to get your Traeger or other pellet grill ready:
- Check Pellet Supply: Ensure that your pellet hopper is filled with high-quality wood pellets of your choice. Popular options for beef include hickory, mesquite, or a blend of hardwoods.
- Clean the Grill Grates: A clean cooking surface is essential for preventing flare-ups and ensuring even heat distribution. Use a grill brush to remove any residue from previous cooks.
- Set Temperature: Preheat your pellet grill to a temperature of 250°F. This low and slow approach is crucial for allowing the chuck roast to absorb the smoky goodness and become tender over time.
Prep the Chuck Roast
Start by applying a binder to the outside of the entire chuck roast. For this barbecue beef recipe, we rubbed a thin, even layer of yellow mustard on the meat first, and then followed with a layer of Worcestershire sauce.
Then, sprinkle the beef roast with your favorite barbecue rub. I HIGHLY recommend the combination of our homemade Texas rub and this barbecue seasoning. The Texas rub is a nice “base coat” of salt, pepper, and garlic, and the barbecue rub adds the perfect amount of sweetness.
And remember, a chuck roast is a large piece of meat, so it can handle a good amount of seasoning.
Smoke the Chuck Roast
When the grill is preheated, cook the smoked BBQ beef for sandwiches, following these simple steps:
- Place the seasoned chuck roast directly on the grill grates, and close the grill lid.
- Smoke the chuck roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. This could take approximately 5 hours. *If your grill has a smoke setting (like the Super Smoke mode on the Traeger grill), use it for the initial phase to allow for more smoke absorption. The smoked bbq chuck roast should look similar to the photo above, depending on your grill temp, size of your roast, etc.
- When the chuck roast is almost at 160°F internal, prepare the braising liquid in an aluminum foil pan. When chuck roast is done smoking, remove it from the pellet grill and place it in the pan. Spoon some of the liquid on top of the roast so that it is coated.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it back on the pellet grill. Adjust the temperature of the pellet grill up to about 325°F. Braise the BBQ beef chuck roast until tender (internal temp of about 206-210°F).
Shred the BBQ Beef Chuck Roast
Once the smoked chuck roast reaches the “probe tender” stage (meaning it’s nice and tender when you insert your instant read probe thermometer into the meat), it’s time to shred it. Here’s what my braised smoked chuck roast looked like when it was done smoking:
Start by removing the smoked roast from the aluminum foil pan and pouring all of the braising liquid into a bowl or large measuring cup… You’ll need that liquid later, so don’t dump it. Then, place the roast back in the pan, and use two forks to shred the meat.
As I was shredding the BBQ pulled chuck roast, I removed and discarded any large areas of fat. I typically wouldn’t do that in other chuck roast dishes, like pot roast, but I didn’t want to have large chunks of fat in my sandwiches. Also, I left some larger chunks of meat instead of finely pulling all of it so that my BBQ beef had some extra texture.
Your smoked shredded BBQ beef should look something like this after shredding:
*NOTE – When I first started shredding my chuck roast, I noticed that it was not tender enough for my liking, even though the internal temperature was reading 203°F, so I placed it back on the grill to continue cooking. Don’t be afraid to place your aluminum pan back on the smoker so that you get the perfect tenderness for your sandwiches.
Sauce the Smoked BBQ Beef and Put it Back on the Pellet Grill
For these smoked BBQ beef sandwiches, I was wanting to combine the idea of pulled beef and burnt ends. So I sauced the shredded beef and put it back on the smoker for the barbecue sauce to caramelize and tack up a bit.
Remember that barbecue braising liquid that you saved before you shredded the beef? That’s liquid gold, so we’re going to add all of that flavor back to the beef. Use a spoon to skim a good amount of the fat off the top of the liquid (fat floats so this is fairly easy to do).
Then, pour about half of the barbecue braising liquid (about 1 cup) into the aluminum pan with the shredded beef, and mix it around a bit. Add another drizzle of barbecue sauce on top, and place the beef back on the pellet grill and cook uncovered for about another 30-45 minutes at about 325°F.
When your pulled barbecue beef is done, you’ll notice that a good amount of the braising liquid at the bottom of the pan has absorbed into the beef. Just give it a quick mix to incorporate all of the flavors together.
And your beautiful, tender shredded BBQ beef should look something like this:
Serve Your Shredded Smoked BBQ Beef Sandwiches
With the smoked and pulled chuck roast ready, it’s time to assemble your BBQ beef sandwiches.
I chose to use sweet sliders for my bun choice, and I dry toasted them on the griddle first. Then, pile on some of that awesome smoked BBQ beef and top with your favorite barbecue sandwich toppings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a different cut of meat for smoked BBQ beef sandwiches?
While chuck roast is ideal for its balance of flavor and tenderness, you can experiment with cuts like brisket or short ribs. Just be sure to adjust cooking times accordingly.
How long does it take to smoke a chuck roast?
Smoking times can vary, but generally, plan for 6-8 hours at 250°F. The key is reaching the desired internal temperature for tenderness.
Can I use a charcoal grill instead of a pellet grill for shredded BBQ beef?
While a pellet grill offers convenience and precise temperature control, you can adapt these steps for a charcoal grill. Use indirect heat and add wood chips for smoke.
What’s the best wood for smoking chuck roast?
Hickory, mesquite, or a fruitwood blend like apple and cherry work well. Experiment with different woods to find your preferred flavor profile.
Smoked BBQ Beef Sandwiches with Pulled Chuck Roast
For the Braising Liquid:
- 1 cup barbecue sauce *Use your favorite barbecue sauce – adjust apple cider vinegar if needed based on sweetness of your chosen sauce.
- ¾ cup beef stock
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons hot sauce
- 1 small onion finely diced
For the BBQ Beef Sandwiches:
- hamburger or slider buns
- BBQ sandwich toppings like dill pickles, thinly sliced raw onion, or coleslaw
- Prep the grill. Preheat pellet grill or smoker to 250℉.
- Prep the chuck roast. Add a thin layer of yellow mustard to all sides of the chuck roast as a binder. Follow with a thin layer of Worcestershire sauce on all sides. About ¼ cup total of each. Sprinkle a liberal amount of Texas Rub and 'Que That (or your favorite barbecue seasoning) on all sides of the chuck roast.
- Smoke the chuck roast. Place the chuck roast directly on the grill grates and smoke for about 4-5 hours, or until the internal temp is about 160-165℉.
- Prepare the braising liquid. To a half-sized aluminum foil pan, add beef stock, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, barbecue sauce, and finely diced onion. Mix to combine.
- Braise the chuck roast on the grill. Place the smoked chuck roast in the aluminum foil pan, and spoon the braising liquid on top. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and cook on the grill at 325℉ until internal temp of chuck roast reaches about 208-210℉ and roast can be shredded (about 1.5 – 2 hours).
- Shred the BBQ beef. Pour pan juices/braising liquid into a separate bowl. Use two forks to shred the smoked chuck roast in the aluminum foil pan, discarding any large pieces of fat as you shred. Skim the excess fat off the braising liquid. Pour about 1 cup of the skimmed braising liquid back in the foil pan with the shredded beef. Mix to combine. Pour about ½ – 1 cup of barbecue sauce on top of the shredded beef.
- Cook BBQ beef on the grill to thicken the sauce. Put the shredded BBQ beef back on the pellet grill or smoker uncovered, and cook for an additional 30-45 minutes at 325℉. Remove from the grill, and stir to redistribute the sauces.
- Serve your shredded smoked BBQ beef sandwiches. Serve shredded BBQ beef with hamburger buns or Texas Toast of your choice. Top with coleslaw, thinly sliced onions, dill pickles, or your favorite barbecue sandwich toppings.
- Be cautious about what barbecue sauce you use for this pulled BBQ beef recipe. The sauce that I used was sweeter and thicker, so I added more apple cider vinegar to balance it out. Don’t be afraid to mix a store-bought sauce with a little red pepper, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, etc. to make the perfect barbecue sauce for your sandwiches. I used KC Masterpiece Original Barbecue Sauce for this recipe.