Poor Man’s Brisket – How to Make BBQ Beef Brisket on a Budget


Most brisket recipes require that you purchase meat with a lot of fat and connective tissue, which makes the meal more expensive and time-consuming to prepare. When you are out of time or money Poor Man’s Brisket could be your savior.

What is a Poor Man’s Brisket?

There are many types of briskets, but a poor man’s brisket is one of the most useful cuts of meat you can have in your butchering toolkit. A poor man’s brisket is also called a chuck roast or a first cut flat iron steak. The name comes from its use as an inexpensive alternative to more expensive cuts like short ribs or tri-tip steaks.

While it may not be as tender or juicy as other cuts, it still makes for an incredibly flavorful and easy meal that will impress friends and family alike.

Poor man’s brisket is an easy recipe that is also a nice introduction to brining, which can be used for many different types of meat and fish.

Just about any cut of beef, poor man’s brisket benefits from a brief soak in salted water. This not only adds moisture to the cut that is naturally lean and prone to drying out during cooking, but it also makes it much more flavorful.

What Is Chuck Roast?

Sometimes a full brisket is out of your budget. A lesser-known cut called chuck roast is an affordable alternative to brisket and can be used for many similar recipes. While chuck roast does not have quite as much marbling or fat, it still produces a tender, juicy result when cooked low and slow.

It also has a robust beef flavor that makes it ideal for use in soups, stews, and braises. Chuck roast works well with long cooking times but can also be prepared quickly if desired.

Related: Rump Roast vs Chuck Roast

How Do You Prepare A Chuck Roast?

Being one of your leanest options, chuck roast is a great way to get plenty of protein without consuming too many calories. However, it does require some preparation and cooking know-how to make sure you don’t end up with a tough piece of meat.

1. Trimming

To prepare a chuck roast for cooking, start by trimming off any excess fat and gristle from around its edges.

2. Brining

Next, season both sides liberally with salt and pepper (don’t be afraid to use lots of black pepper). Then cover both sides of your roast with flour, shaking off any excess.

3. Dry Aging

Next, you’ll want to let your roast sit out for a few hours before cooking it. This process is called dry aging and it tenderizes the meat by allowing enzymes in your meat to break down its tissue and increase its moisture content.

4. Browning

The next step is to sear your roast in a hot pan for about 5 minutes per side over medium heat. This process helps seal in juices and develop flavor.

5. Braising

After browning your roast, you’ll want to transfer it to a slow cooker or Dutch oven and add in a few cups of liquid (water, stock, wine). If you are using a slow cooker, set it on low for 8 hours. If you are using a Dutch oven, bring it to a boil on high heat then reduce it to low and simmer for 3-4 hours.

Make sure that your liquid never completely evaporates during cooking as doing so will result in dry meat. You can always add more water if needed.

6. Resting

After removing your roast from its cooking vessel, allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing into it. This will help ensure that all of its juices stay in place and make sure that you don’t end up with a dry piece of meat.

7. Finishing

Finish off your meat by adding any finishing touches (e.g., sauce) then serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 week.

How To Smoke A Chuck Roast?

Smoking a roast is surprisingly easy. It takes time, but you don’t have to monitor it very often, and there are only a few steps: build your fire, soak some wood chips, wait for them to smoke and burn off their water content, then throw ‘em on!

There are many different ways of smoking food like briskets. This is what I do and it always turns out great!

Here are my step-by-step instructions on how to smoke a chuck roast:

1. Prepare the smoker

First, get your smoker ready. You can use a charcoal or gas grill, or a smoker if you have one. If you’re using charcoal or wood, fill your grill with unlit coals and place some wood chips on top of them. If you are using gas just turn it on high and put some wood chips in a smoking box.

Make sure there is no flame coming out of your smoker before you add anything to it.

2. Trim and season your roast

The next step is to trim and season your roast. Some Chuck roasts are a little fatty, so you want to trim any of that fat off before you cook it.

3. Season both sides

Next, you need to season both sides of your roast. I like to put my roast in a ziplock bag with some salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and any other spices I think would taste good on smoked meat (cumin is awesome).

You can add any seasonings you like. Be sure to get it on all sides of your roast. Let it sit for at least an hour or two before proceeding.

4. Smoke at maximum smoke

Set your smoker to maximum smoke. This means that you should have all of your vents open and let them smoke as much as possible. You want a lot of smoke, but not too much heat. If you are using charcoal or wood, make sure you add more coals or wood chips every hour or so.

Smoke for approximately two hours to ensure that your roast has absorbed most smoke.

5. Confirm the rub has adhered to the roast

After 2 hours, check that the rub has adhered to the roast. Otherwise, you’ll mop it off leaving a lesser impact.

6. Mop off the roast

Mop the roast with some mop sauce. You can buy a commercial mop sauce, or you can make your own. I like to use apple juice, Worcestershire sauce, and some other spices.

7. Wrap in foil

Wrap your roast in foil and place it back on your smoker for an hour or two at maximum smoke. Continue cooking at 225 degrees Fahrenheit and gradually rise to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Check the doneness and rest your meat

Check to see if your roast is done by sticking a thermometer in it and making sure it reaches an internal temperature of 195 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also use a probe thermometer, but we prefer a good old-fashioned meat thermometer.

Once you reach that temperature, take your roast off of your smoker and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing or eating.

When To Wrap Smoked Chuck Roast?

As we’ve seen above, it’s recommended that you wrap your roast after smoking for the first two hours, just after you mob off the excess rub. This is a good time to start checking your temperature as well.

When it reaches around 145 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to wrap. You can expect an internal temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit when it comes out of the smoker, which is about 10 degrees lower than if you had not wrapped. When rubbed the meat will continue to cook once it’s removed from heat and resting.

How To Make Poor Man’S Burnt Ends?

By throwing some inexpensive brisket parts in your slow cooker with some barbecue sauce, you can create a cheap and delicious alternative to traditional burnt ends. To make the poor man’s burnt ends, start by removing any silver skin from your brisket, then cut it into 2-inch cubes.

Next, place those cubes into a large slow cooker along with 1 cup of beef broth and 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce (your favorite kind). Cook on low for 8 hours until fork-tender. After 8 hours have passed, remove all of the meat from your slow cooker and shred it using two forks or by placing it in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Place that shredded meat back into your slow cooker, add another 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce, and cook on high for another hour.

Smoked Chuck Roast Recipe

It’s always a good idea to keep some kind of smoked meat in your freezer. Not only is it delicious, but it can also be used in a wide variety of dishes, making it perfect for cooking at home or on a camping trip.

We’ll look at popular smoked chuck roast recipes below:

1. Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

The classic Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich is made with thinly sliced ribeye, onions, and cheese. But if you don’t have ribeye on hand, a smoked chuck roast will do just fine. Simply slice it into thin strips and pile them high on a hoagie roll with some sauteed onions and provolone cheese. A few dashes of hot sauce never hurt anyone either!

2. Mississippi Roast Gyros

The classic gyro is an awesome choice for summer cookouts. It’s loaded with lamb and wrapped in warm pita bread, making it delicious and unique. Switch up your regular recipe by replacing beef with a smoked chuck roast. It has a ton of flavor, but you can use any kind of beef in its place if you prefer—just make sure it’s thinly sliced.

3. Korean Beef Tacos

If you’re in love with Korean BBQ, you should definitely try these tasty tacos. Chuck roast gives them a rich and smokey flavor that contrasts beautifully with fresh vegetables and a tangy-sweet sauce. Add some pickled radishes on top for an extra kick of tartness.

4. Beef And Broccoli

In Chinese restaurants, you’re usually forced to choose between Kung Pao chicken and broccoli or General Tso’s chicken. But why not have both? This recipe combines them for an Asian-inspired dish with a lot of spicy flavors. It works great with any type of beef, but smoked chuck roast really stands out here.

5. Peppery Beef Noodles

Beef and noodles are a great combination, but you can make it even better by adding a little spice. Try smoking your chuck roast and then stir-frying it with vegetables, soy sauce, and black pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley or chives for some extra color.

What Else Can You Do With Chuck Roast?

If you have a chuck roast, there are several things you can do including:

  1. Throw it in a slow cooker with some vegetables and let it cook all day long until you have an amazing pot roast dinner ready to go when you get home from work. You can even throw in some potatoes, carrots, onions, or other root vegetables to give it a more complete meal.
  2. Make a pot of chili with your chuck roast by adding beans and other ingredients to make a hearty bowl of chili that will keep you warm on cold winter nights. You can also add some cornmeal or masa harina to thicken it up even more if you like it thick.
  3. Throw it in a casserole dish, cover it with cheese, and bake until melted for an amazing meal that everyone in your family will love. You can also add some salsa or hot sauce if you want something spicier than traditional macaroni and cheese.
  4. Throw it in a slow cooker or pressure cooker with some chicken broth, lemon juice, and spices for an amazing pot of soup. If you don’t want to use soup for your meal plan you can also throw it into a large skillet and add some veggies to make a quick beef stir fry that is great over rice or noodles.
  5. Make a quick beef stroganoff by sautéing mushrooms and onions in butter or oil, then adding your chuck roast and cooking until browned on all sides, then deglazing with some red wine and cooking until reduced before adding sour cream to finish it off. Serve over egg noodles for an amazing meal that will be a hit with everyone at your table.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Chuck Roast Good For?

Chuck roast is good for making a pot roast. It’s also great for making slow-cooked beef dishes like brisket or corned beef. In fact, chuck roasts are often sold as briskets in grocery stores.

Does Chuck Roast Make Good Steak?

Chuck roast is a great choice for pot roast, but it’s not ideal for steak. The cuts are too tough and lean to be enjoyed as steak.

How Long To Cook Chuck Roast In Oven At 300?

A medium-sized roast will take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours to cook at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, while a large roast may need up to 5 hours. To be sure you don’t overcook your roast, be sure to check it regularly with a meat thermometer.

How Long To Cook Chuck Roast In Oven At 350?

You can expect to cook a chuck roast in about 1-1/2 hours if you are cooking it at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to check your meat regularly with a meat thermometer and remove it from heat when it reaches 195 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Long To Cook Chuck Roast In Oven At 375?

A chuck roast will be ready to eat in about an hour and a half if you are cooking it at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. The internal temperature of your roast should reach 195 degrees Fahrenheit before you remove it from heat.

How Long To Cook Chuck Roast In Oven At 400?

You can expect to have a medium-sized chuck roast cooked in about an hour if you are cooking it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’d like your meat more well done, be sure to cook it for up to two hours at this temperature.


Chuck roast is a great cut of meat for many reasons. It is inexpensive, flavorful, and can be used in a variety of recipes. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.