What Is The Best Cut Of Beef For Barbecue?

Whether your friends are coming over for dinner or you just want to surprise your significant other with delicious food, barbecued beef is a great option. The best BBQ is juicy, smoky, and has a delicious caramelized bark. It is even perfect for those celebratory dinners or movie nights. However, remember that only a few beef cuts will be delicious after being barbequed.

Below, we have listed the top six beef cuts for barbecue!

1. Tri-Tip: A very versatile cut from the loin section of the beef, the Tri-Tip roast lends itself well to the BBQ style of cooking and others. A Tri-Tip cooked low & slow is tender, delicious, and will leave an impression. Being a juicy & flavorful cut to start, we prefer a dry rub, like Nebraska Star® Beef Signature® SPG seasoning. Hickory wood smoke adds a nice tasting note that compliments the SPG perfectly. The ideal finish temperature for the Tri-Tip is 165-170F when slow cooking.

2. Chuck Roast: While more commonly found in Crock-Pots or Instant Pots, Chuck Roasts make a GREAT BBQ cut. They are well-marbled and tender by nature, so they don’t require the same cook time as tougher cuts like brisket or short ribs, and the ideal internal finishing temperature is 165-170F. Chuck Roasts are a top choice for adding a sweet & zesty BBQ sauce while cooking. It will add a texture to the culinary experience that is hard to beat. Chuck Roasts can even be cubed and prepared as burnt ends. It is a very versatile cut indeed!

3. Short Ribs: Coming from the chuck section of beef and while exquisitely marbled, they are from a muscle group used regularly and require the traditional low & slow, extended cooking process to break down the collagen and connective tissue properly. Short ribs can come in various cuts, ranging from thin-cut Korean style short ribs and boneless short ribs to the more traditional country style short ribs. You should cook them at a lower temperature for an extended period of time, and use some BBQ sauce to elevate the finished product. We recommend finishing short ribs to an internal temperature of 195-200F and wrapping them in foil or butcher paper for the final 20F or so of the cook to help them stay juicy.

4. Ground Beef: While not the most traditional BBQ cut, Ground Beef is the most versatile cut when it comes to beef. Burgers are a fan-favorite and great to cook as you’re relaxing and cooking a brisket or short ribs low & slow. Another thing worth considering is some ground beef BBQ. With great success, you can cook dishes like meatloaf and meatballs on a smoker. Great results come down to the recipe and the internal temperature. Low & slow-cooked ground beef dishes should be finished at around 170-180F as too high of an internal temperature can result in a tough/dry texture. If you’ve never tried a smoked meatloaf…are you really living?

5. Brisket: It is a cut from the shoulder with a generous amount of flavorful fat, preventing it from drying out. Brisket is ideal for barbecuing. One method is to start by cooking it in the oven and then transferring it to the barbecue to finish. Using the oven efficiently to get the brisket’s internal temperature near the ideal finishing temperature, then transferring it to the smoker will help achieve that classic charred flavor. Brisket is a tough cut by nature as it is used every time the steer or heifer takes a step – think of it as the front axle of the beef – this means that there is a great deal of connective tissue and collagen that needs to be broken down in the cooking process. We recommend a finishing temp of 195-200F followed by a long rest period in an insulated container – a hot box, cooler, or even in a microwave oven. It is not uncommon to rest brisket for an hour or two before slicing.

6. Rump Roast: Another often overlooked BBQ cut is the Rump Roast. Located in the “round” section of the beef, this is a very lean yet tender cut of beef that does very well in the smoker. Given the lean nature of the cut, we recommend a dry rub seasoning like our Signature® Salt + Pepper or Signature® Horseradish Prime Rib Rub. The trick to smoking a perfect Round Roast is to cook it at a low temperature to impart the flavor notes from the smoke but finish the cook at a lower internal temperature, so the roast does not become dry and tough. We recommend a finish temperature of 130-140F when smoking Round Roasts. Slice them thin and serve with rye or kummelweck roll and some horseradish sauce. Perfection!!

About Nebraska Star Beef

At Nebraska Star Beef, we sell premium-quality beef and seasoning mixes with hassle-free delivery. Our clients choose us for our commitment to excellence, quality, and consistency. For more information, contact us at (308) 876-2250, write to, or fill out our online contact form.

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