This recipe is inspired by a segment on Cook's Country on PBS. They made shredded barbecued beef using a chuck eye roast on a Weber kettle grill, and I've adapted it here to the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.
For this recipe, you'll need a disposable aluminum pan that fits on the WSM cooking grate. The one shown here came from Walmart. You can use a regular kitchen pan, but you should cover the outside with aluminum foil to make cleanup easier after cooking.
Here's a description and photos of how I cooked shredded barbecued beef on April 4, 2011.
As always...click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.
Select & Prep The Meat
Purchase a USDA Choice beef chuck eye roast weighing 5-6 pounds. The roast shown in Photo 1 weighed 6.39 pounds.
Cut the roast into quarters as shown in Photo 2. This helps the meat cook faster and creates more surface area for dark, smoky outside meat to form during cooking. Remove any gristle or large areas of fat. I trimmed away the large area of hard fat seen on the top right chunk of meat.
Apply The Rub
Mix-up this simple Texas-style rub and apply it to the meat. Place in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight.
Fire The WSM
Fire-up the Weber Bullet using the Minion Method—fill the charcoal chamber about 1/2 full with unlit Kingsford Charcoal Briquets and then light 30 briquettes with a Weber chimney starter and spread them over the unlit charcoal.
Smoke The Chuck Eye Roast
Place 2 fist-sized chunks of smoke wood on the hot coals. I used two chunks of apple wood.
Assemble the cooker with the water pan in place and fill it with cool water.
Place the 4 pieces of chuck eye in a foil pan on the top cooking grate. To the extent possible, arrange them to maximize their exposure to the smoke and so they don't touch one another (Photo 4).
Set the top vent to 100% open and leave it that way throughout the entire cooking process. Start with all 3 bottom vents 100% open. As the cooker approaches 250°F, begin to partially close all 3 bottom vents to maintain 225-275°F. Adjust the bottom vents as needed to maintain this temperature range throughout the cooking process.
After 3 hours of cooking, the meat will look as shown in Photo 5. Rearrange the meat in the pan so you can cover it with foil (Photo 6). Cook for another 2-3 hours until the meat is fall-apart tender when tested with a fork.
Here's how the cooker temperatures and vent settings went during my cook:
Rest The Meat & Shred
Remove the meat from the smoker and let rest for 30 minutes so it's cool enough to handle (Photo 7). Pour off the juices and use a fat separator to separate the fat from the rest of the liquid. Discard the fat and reserve 1/4 cup of the defatted cooking juices.
Shred the meat using forks or just your fingers. Remove any large areas of fat or anything you don't want to eat.
Measure 1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, add the 1/4 cup of reserved defatted cooking juices, and heat gently in the microwave. Mix the sauce into the shredded beef (Photo 8).
Serve any way you like—on a plate, in a tortilla, on white bread, or as sliders as shown in Photos 9-10.
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