Smoked bottom round roast cooked low and slow over oak wood for the perfect plate of barbecue beef. Prepared with a quick dry brine and Texas-style paprika and garlic dry rub, this delicious beef cut can feed a crowd! Learn how to smoke bottom round with our easy smoking recipe.
Today we’re looking at bottom round basics from dry brining to seasoning, and how to smoke it for the perfect plate of tender sliced roast beef.
What is beef bottom round roast?
Bottom round is derived from the cow’s hind leg and rump, often known as the round. There are several cuts found here, including top round, bottom round, and eye round.
Because the leg is a well-exercised part of the cow, the bottom round has a low fat content and marbling. This makes it lean, and prone to turning dry or tough. As a result, slow ‘moist’ heat methods, such as sous vide or slow cooking, are commonly used to prepare it. However, with a good salt dry brine, we can cook it efficiently on the smoker.
Bottom round is typically served in thin slices and can be dried or smoked to form jerky, or just eaten alone or in a BBQ sandwich.
Bottom round vs. top round roast
Beef top and bottom roast are often confused, but there are distinct differences between the two. While both cuts are best slow-cooked in moist environments, they do still need to be treated in slightly different ways.
Top round is a beef roast cut from the inside of the round, or the rear leg of cattle, while bottom round is cut from the outside of the round. So why the names? The round primal “is placed on the butcher’s block with the outside on the bottom and the inside on the top, so these cuts became known as bottom and top round.”
A major difference is that top round is more tender than bottom round. Bottom is a more well-worked muscle, making it leaner and lower in fat content. It has a more authentically ‘beefy’ taste because it comes from a primal cut closer to the animal’s muscle.
While top is usually bought whole or halved, bottom is comprised of three sections: The eye, the flat, and the heel. For this recipe, we’ll be using a whole bottom roast.
Where to buy bottom round roast
Bottom roasts are not as common at grocery stores and butcher shops because they’re harder to sell than other cuts. That being said, it is possible to find them at some locations.
The best way to buy bottom round roasts, or any other cut of beef, is by ordering directly from the butcher shop. However, if you’re unable to get there in person and are purchasing a roast online, make sure that the vendor ships overnight so that your meat arrives fresh.
The best wood for smoking beef bottom round roast is oak. Breaking the wood into thin pieces, or chips is better for smoking than chunks because it burns more evenly.
To offset the lean build of bottom round, we’ll use a salt dry brine to help keep the beef moist and tender. It should also help to enhance the natural flavors found in the meat cut.
For a good dry brine, all we need is half a teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat. For this recipe we’re using a 3-pound bottom round, so will use 1 ½ teaspoons of salt. Simply apply an evening coating of salt over the beef, before leaving it in the refrigerator overnight or for a minimum of two hours.
Time & temperature
Aim to smoke the round for approximately 30-40 minutes per pound of meat at 225°F (107°C). For our 3-pound beef bottom round, we’ll smoke for 90 to 120 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 130°F (55°C) for medium-rare doneness.
- Beef should not be cooked past medium doneness to avoid drying out the meat
- Double wrap your roasts in foil if you want it to be done earlier and are worried about drying out the meat
- If you’re going to cover with foil, make sure it doesn’t touch the beef when cooking because this can cause steaming and overcooking of the roast
- Remove the roast from the refrigerator 40 minutes prior to cooking and allow it to come to room temperature.