Chili- and Coffee-Rubbed Smoked Chuck Roast

1 dried whole Anaheim or new Mexico chili
1 dried whole ancho chili
2 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp espresso coffee, ground fine
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup water
4 lb chuck roast
1 cup apple, hickory or oak chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
  1. In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, toast both chilies until fragrant, about 1 minute per side.  Transfer to a cutting board.
  2. Add cumin seeds to skillet and toast, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 60-90 seconds.  Transfer seeds to a blender or the bowl of a mini food processor.
  3. Remove and discard stems from chilies and cut into 1-inch pieces, then add to blender or processor.  Add vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, ground espresso, salt, pepper and water.  Process to a smooth paste, adding water 1 teaspoon at a time, if necessary.
  4. Place chuck roast in a large bowl or baking dish and coat completely with chili paste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
  5. Remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
  6. Meanwhile, light a smoker, charcoal grill or gas grill and prepare for indirect cooking. Place a drip pan below cooking grates and stabilize the temperature at around 250 F.
  7. Drain wood chips and scatter them over the coals (or place them in a smoker box and set over the heat source in a gas grill or electric smoker).
  8. Place chuck roast on cooking grate over drip pan. Cover grill or smoker and cook, maintaining temperature at 250 F, until an instant-read thermometer registers 180 F at the center of the roast, 3 to 4 hours.
  9. Wrap roast tightly in heavy foil and cook (with the grill or smoker covered) until fork tender and an instant-read thermometer registers 200 F to 205 F, about another 1 to 2 hours. Remove roast from heat and let rest, in the foil, for 30 minutes.
  10. To serve, shred meat using forks or slice across the grain.

Makes 8 servings.

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