Rotisserie, Sunday dinner
comments 19

Rotisserie Beef Chuck Roast Barbacoa

I’m a big fan of beef*, but not beef prices.
*I don’t think any of my blog readers would confuse me with a vegetarian.

Beef rib roast is my favorite, but it can be very expensive.   What do I do when I want a beef roast, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg?  I cook a chuck roast, from the shoulder of the steer.
*Arms?  Legs?  Shoulders?  What is this, an anatomy lesson?  Well, sort of.  Read on…

Shoulder meat is tougher than the expensive cuts, but it contains a lot of connective tissue that will melt into tender collagen if you cook it long enough.  The traditional way to do this is a pot roast, but I’ve become a fan of cooking beef chuck low and slow on the grill.  If you give it long enough, it comes out nice and tender.

I’m cooking a Tex-Mex version of pot roast, called Barbacoa.  It’s adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless.  He puts the meat (in his case, lamb shoulder) on the grill rack over a pan, and then uses the pan to make a side-dish soup at the same time the roast is cooking.  I knew it would be perfect on the rotisserie. You’re already suspending the meat over the soup, why not give it a spin while it’s there?
*Rick’s recipe has my favorite sentence in a recipe, ever.  But you’re going to have to have patience; the Rotisserie Soup recipe is coming later this week.
**Update: The Rotisserie Soup recipe is here!  Make sure you make this with the Barbacoa.  You won’t regret it.

Recipe: Rotisserie Beef Chuck Roast Barbacoa

Cook time: 2 hours


  • Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber kettle with the Rotisserie attachment; the kettle is  here, and the rotisserie attachment is here)
  • Butcher’s twine for trussing
  • Aluminum foil drip pan (9″x12″, or whatever fits your grill) – See companion Rotisserie Soup Barbacoa recipe


  • 4 lb boneless beef chuck roast
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


1. Prepare the chuck roast: 2 hours before cooking, sprinkle the chuck roast with the salt, pepper, chile powder, and garlic powder.  Let rest in the refrigerator.

2. Truss and skewer the roast: One hour before cooking, remove the roast from the refrigerator. Tie the roast with butcher’s string every 1.5 inches, then skewer through the thickest part with your rotisserie spit. Make sure the prongs are in the roast, to help secure it to the spit. Let it rest at room temperature until ready to cook.

3. Prepare the grill: Prepare your rotisserie for cooking on indirect medium heat (see details here). For my Weber kettle, I light a chimney starter* 1/2 full of charcoal, wait for it to be covered with ash, then pour it in two equal piles on the sides of the grill, and put the drip pan in the middle, between the piles. (If you’re making the companion soup recipe, this is the pan that the soup will be cooking in.)
*I highly recommend the Weber Chimney Starter, because it is larger than most chimney starters. It holds 5 quarts of charcoal, which exactly the right size for cooking this recipe.

4. Cook the roast: Put the spit on the rotisserie, start it spinning, and cook with the lid closed. Every hour, add 8 coals to each side of the grill (16 coals in all) to keep the heat going. You want to be cooking on low heat – the grill shouldn’t get much above 350*F, and 250*F to 300*F is better. The roast will cook for 2 to 3 hours. It is done cooking when it reaches an internal temperature of 185*F measured in the thickest part of the roast.  (This was a thin roast; it was 2″ thick, and it took just barely 2 hours to cook.  A thicker roast would take longer, of course.)

5. Serve: Remove the spit from the grill, and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove the roast from the spit, remove the butcher’s twine, and slice the roast into 1/2″ thick slices.

Lots of beef, a little soup on the side…

*Salt and Pepper roast: If you want a simple roast, skip the other spices, and just use salt and pepper.

*Barbecue chuck roast: Skip pepper, chile powder, and garlic powder; use a barbecue rub instead. Then, for the last ten minutes of cooking, brush the roast with some barbecue sauce to give it a nice, glazed coating.  Serve with the barbecue sauce on the side.

*Lamb shoulder roast: In the original version of this recipe, Rick Bayless used lamb shoulder instead of beef shoulder; the cooking times are similar.

*Want the easy way out?  Cook your barbacoa in a slow cooker.  (Recipe here.)

*Serve with tortillas, tomatillo salsa, some sprigs of cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco. Pickled red onions also go really well with it. Oh, and some margaritas, of course.  And did I mention the companion soup recipe, coming later this week?

*Chuck roast is a cut that is full of connective tissue. To get that connective tissue to melt, and give you a tender roast, you have to cook it to well done. It’s almost impossible to overcook it.  If you have any doubts, keep on cooking. If you want a medium-rare cut of beef, see my Rotisserie Rib Roast recipe in the Related Posts section.

*That said, the roast wasn’t quite as fall apart tender as you get with a pot roast.  Next time, I’m going to try cooking it to 185*F, then wrapping it in foil (still on the spit) and cooking for another half hour to an hour, to see if I can break down some more of the connective tissue.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:
Click here for the companion recipe, Rotisserie Soup Barbacoa Style
Click here for my Rotisserie Beef Rib Roast recipe.
Click here for my other rotisserie recipes.

Adapted from:
Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen

Check out my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling.

Everything you could ask about the rotisserie,
plus 50 (mostly) new recipes to get you cooking.

It’s a Kindle e-book, so you can download it and start reading immediately!

*Enjoyed this post? Want to help out DadCooksDinner? Subscribe to DadCooksDinner using the RSS or Email options on the right, link to this post from your blog, recommend DadCooksDinner to your friends, or buy something from through the links on this site. (Like my Rotisserie Grilling cookbook…)

Sharing is caring!

Filed under: Rotisserie, Sunday dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Gary says

    Mike – This worked out great! Cooked the meat until it was 185* inside, and then I wrapped it with aluminum foil while still on the rotisserie, and spun it for 40 minutes more at a grill temp of 285*. Great taste and very tender throughout. All the connective tissue was good. Didn’t even know it was there.
    Made the soup underneath too. Cut up some of the smaller pieces of meat and tossed it into the soup.
    Good stuff!


  2. Robb with 2 B's says

    Found this while looking for rotisserie-ing a chuck roast, just got the set up for my weber last week and have only done chickens so far.
    I just used some Emeril’s steak seasoning for the Rub, overnight……did the soup underneath.
    3lb hunk took about 3 hours to get to 185, and I let it go a little longer since it was a fattier cut.
    However the last half hour I forgot to flip the switch on the rotisserie…..
    One side ended up like butter, the other side….a bit more done, but the wife likes it like that, and I chopped most of that up and threw it in the soup.
    All in all very good thank you.

  3. Hank says

    It hasn’t finished yet but I tried a little piece hanging off and it’s great! Soup is a great idea, glad I found this recipe! Thanks a lot!

  4. Robert says

    Got a rotisserie for Christmas and have done some chickens, which turned out great. Been wanting to try a roast and this looks great. I’m going to try the soup also. Would tossing carrots in make a difference?

  5. Very nice, going to give this a try tomorrow. Just got a rotisserie for Christmas and it cooks so nicely. Did you ever try the foil wrap you mentioned above? I’ve done this for BBQ and assume it’d work just fine on the rotisserie too.

  6. I have a Ronco 5500 series. Can you add potatoes to top drip tray and cook with meat?

  7. Joann Imperato says

    Hi Mike. I purchased your Rotisserie Grilling book. I own a Weber Summit grill and loving it. I would like to rotisserie a brisket of beef. Would you happen to have a recipe?

    • Brisket is tricky. I have done it on the grill a number of times, but never on the rotisserie. I would go low and slow 250°F until the brisket hits 205°F in its thickest part, and expect it to take a LONG time. Use about 2 cups of wood chips in the smoker burner. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

  8. Ken.C says

    Awesome, thanks! I’ve got a top round that I pulled out of the freezer, then realized I had no clue what to do with it. I figured it was either this one or the rib roast one.

  9. Ken.C says

    Would a top round roast work for this, or is there something else to do with that?

    BTW, I love the site and refer to it frequently. Now if only I could retrofit an IR burner on my grill…

  10. Josetjo says

    Thanks Mike for putting these helpful suggestions on how to prepare less expensive cuts of beef out in cyberspace. Even though I see it’s from 2009 I tried this recipe with a few variations in the spices and used an indoor rotisserie and it was the best I’ve ever had. I never thought cheap roasts could be done so well. Fantastic!!!

  11. Alberto Suarez says

    Well I gotta tell you this sounds very delicious. I will try it this coming weekend and see how it comes out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.