Sweet & Spicy Smoked Roast Beef

No sweet treats today… I know… sad..

Today my boyfriend Kip is here to share with you a “manly” grilling recipe (that’s what he likes to call it anyways). Don’t worry it’s great I promise!

This recipe is a little different from what you’re used to seeing here on Sweet as a Cookie.

Hey, everyone! It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to be a part of this blog. I was thrilled to be asked to come up with some grilling recipes for you all. This one is particularly delicious, but it is a little time consuming. If you love cooking with a charcoal grill/smoker you’re going to love this!

Things you’ll need:
1 Charcoal grill/smoker
1 Grill thermometer
1 Meat thermometer
2 Aluminum roasting pans (just a little bigger than the meat)
1 Bag hardwood lump charcoal*
1 Bag hardwood smoking chips or chunks (soaked in water overnight)
1 Meat injector
1 Spray bottle

1 Bottom round beef roast (3-4 lbs.)
3 (14.5 oz.) Cans beef broth
1 Yellow onion (Medium size)
29 oz. Apple Juice (equivalent to 2 cans of broth)
Some olive oil (will depend on how much meat you have)

*Note: I prefer hardwood lump charcoal. It seems to give a much more natural taste and it also burns a little hotter (so we can use less.) Charcoal briquettes can be used, but I recommend using lump charcoal. They can both be found together at most stores.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with smoking meat on a grill or smoker, there are a few things you should know. First off, this recipe is for low and slow roast beef. All this means is that we will be cooking at a low temperature for a relatively long time. Another thing that’s EXTREMELY important is temperature control.

The cook time for this recipe varies depending on your temperature and how much meat you have. I cooked a 3.5 lb bottom round roast which took close to 10 hours.

Still with me? Okay, great! Now, without further adieu, let’s get started.

To start off, here’s the dry rub recipe (covers a 3-4 lb. roast):
3 tbs. cracked black pepper
2 tbs. salt
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1.5 tsp. sugar
1 tbs. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1.5 tsp. crushed red pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

There will also be a generous amount of brown sugar added when preparing meat but this is NOT part of this recipe. You’ll see why here in a second.

Preparing the Meat:
Take the roast out approximately 60-90 minutes before you plan to put it on the grill. We want it to get a little closer to room temperature before smoking it. Do not trim the meat – the fat will become a key component of tenderness and juiciness. As soon as you take the meat out of the refrigerator, cover it in a thick layer of olive oil. Take your dry rub mixture and pour it liberally over all sides of the meat. You may not use all of it. Rub it in a little bit and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Now, we let the meat sit out to warm up and we can fire up the pit!

Grill Preparation:
If you have never cooked low and slow or if you are using lump charcoal for the first time, keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Set your grill up for indirect grilling. In my case, I removed the cooking grates from one side of my grill (barrel style BBQ pit) and I put a small pile of lump charcoal on the fire grate on this side. This leaves the other half of the fire grate empty for a water pan that will will be adding a little later. It also means I will have easy access to the fire. When cooking for this long on the grill, you WILL need to add more charcoal and smoke chips. I light my charcoal using an electric charcoal starter, but you can use a chimney starter or whatever else will get the fire burning. What I will suggest, however, is that you do not use lighter fluid to light your coals. We don’t want to ruin the taste of this expensive hunk of meat with the taste of lighter fluid! Use whatever means necessary to start the fire and maybe use lighter fluid as a last resort. (Sorry for the lecture.) Light your grill but try your best not to get it burning as it would any other day. We want it to burn low and slow. Now, you should have a sort of smoldering pile of charcoal on one of your pit and an empty rack on the other. You may not have removable grates or you may even have a one piece grate. No worries! Just set the grill up the same way. You’re going to want to build your charcoal pile on the side of the grill that has the bottom vent with the top on the opposite side of the grill. This will allow air to flow into your bottom vent, across the coal pile, around your meat, and out of the top vent. This is where that nice smokey flavor comes from.

Final Preparations:
At this point, you should still have a little more time to let your meat rest. This is the perfect time to prepare your water/drip pan and your spray bottle. For the water pan, take one of your aluminum roasting pans and pour in two cans of beef broth and one can of apple juice. Slice up your onion however you please and add it to the pan. If you have any rub left, you can pour it into the pan as well. This is just for flavor and moisture purposes. Take the pan out and place it under your cooking grates. It should be on the side opposite the charcoal pile. Fill your spray bottle with apple juice and it should be about time to start cooking.

Before putting your meat on the grill, you are going to want to be sure that the grill is up to about 230-240 degrees. This is going to be the temperature that you will need to maintain throughout the entire cook if you want it to come out just right. My grill has a built in thermometer that displays the ambient temperature inside the grill, but I prefer to use a wireless thermometer. I have a Maverick wireless thermometer that has two probes: one for the meat and one for the grill. It’s very handy and it’s much more accurate than the built in thermometer on my grill. This is an easy way to monitor the temperatures inside of your grill without standing next to it for the entire day and I’d highly recommend one for a cook like this. I try to keep my grill thermometer somewhere in the ballpark of the meat to get the best idea of the ambient temperature near the roast.

Smoking the Meat:
It’s time to unwrap your roast. Before you put it on the grill, take a generous amount of brown sugar and cover the entire roast with it, rubbing it in as you did with the dry rub. We had the spicy, now this is the sweet. The brown sugar will also help in keeping the meat moist throughout this process. Inject your roast with beef broth. You should still have a can left. A little goes a long way here, so just a few ounces will work. If your grill is at the recommended temperature (230-240 degrees) and you’re sure you can maintain it, place the roast on the cooking grate directly above the water pan we made earlier making sure the largest part of fat is facing up. Since the grill is up to temp, you can also place some of your wet wood chips or chunks on the coals to get some smoke flowing. Add your meat thermometer probe to the roast and close it up! You’re going to want to maintain that temperature as best as you can. Keep an eye on the meat temperature and do your best to keep the grill closed. “If you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin’!” is a pretty popular quote by barbecuers. Every hour or so, check your fire to make sure it has enough fuel. Add charcoal or smoke chips accordingly. Each time you check your fire, use your spray bottle to give your meat a nice coat of apple juice. Once your meat temperature reaches 160 degrees, remove it from the grill and set it in a bed of foil inside your other foil roasting pan. This step took about five hours in my case.

Braising the Meat:
So your roast has been cooked up to 160 degrees so far. We’ve still got a long way to go. You should have your roast on a bed of foil. Take some of your extra beef broth and cover the meat. start to fold the foil up around the meat a little to catch some of the broth. A small pool of broth should form around the base of the meat. Finish wrapping the roast tightly in foil, trying your best to keep the broth inside. Take your foil covered roast back out to the grill and place it in the same spot as before. Replace the meat thermometer and continue monitoring the temp (still 230-240 degrees) and feeding your fire accordingly. Now, it’s just a waiting game. It took me another 5 hours to get the meat up to about 195 degrees. When I took it off, it was very moist and very flavorful. It was not quite cooked enough to pull apart, but the slices were excellent. If you want yours to be a little more tender, you can cook to 205 degrees, and it may be a little easier for you to pull. You can poke the meat with a toothpick after the temperature gets above 190 degrees to test for tenderness. You can decide when to pull it off the grill, just be careful not to dry it out. Keep in mind the temperature of the meat will go up another 5-10 degrees while it rests. After you’re happy with the temperature of the meat, you can take it off and place it in your roasting pan. Cover the pan in foil (with the foil wrapped meat still inside) and let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes – 1 hour. This will give the meat time to settle and it will also gain another few degrees this way. After it’s done resting it’s time to eat! Like I said before, we sliced ours. One other little thing you can do is to butter up some kaiser rolls and place them on the grill for a few minutes to toast. These make for perfect roast beef sandwiches!

So after all the waiting, the hard work finally pays off. This roast beef should give you a slight kick of spicy along with a hint of sweet all wrapped up with a little bit of smokey. I hope that some of you will give this a try. This is a great summer recipe and it’s perfect to share on a nice summer day with friends and family. Thanks for putting up with my shenanigans! It was a pleasure to be able to share a recipe with everyone here on Sweet as a Cookie. Enjoy!


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