Cubed and braised in a tangy and sweet BBQ sauce, these melt-in-your-mouth bites of meat candy will leave you craving for more. It’s time to gather your family and friends and treat them to this irresistible dish.
What are Burnt Ends?
Originally a Friday special at BBQ restaurants, Burnt Ends were created by collecting the crispy ends of sliced brisket throughout the week, saucing them up, and serving them on bread. Their popularity skyrocketed, leading to their inclusion as a featured item on many menus.
Kansas City, Missouri became synonymous with Burnt Ends, and I ventured behind the counter to learn the authentic techniques for cooking them the right way. These delectable meat treats have evolved from mere leftovers to a star attraction!
Burnt ends are made from the point end, also known as the deckle, of a brisket. This cut comes from the cow’s pectoral muscle, which is tough due to frequent use. However, its abundant marbling ensures a tender result when slow-cooked over a wood fire. As the fat melts and moisturizes the meat, the tight connective tissues break down and gelatinize, creating flavorful and smoky bites of beef with a signature bark.
Brisket Burnt Ends
The process of making burnt ends begins with a brisket. This recipe focuses solely on the brisket point, rather than smoking a whole brisket and later cubing the point. This Kansas City technique ensures that the entire surface area of the brisket point develops a rich smoky bark.
To make brisket burnt ends, you smoke the point of the brisket, wrap it in peach butcher paper, cut it into cubes, and then cook the cubes in a sauce infused with brown sugar. The result is a delightful, almost candy-like meat cube.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly and simpler alternative, try my Poor Man’s Burnt Ends. Made with a chuck roast instead of brisket, they offer a fantastic variation with incredible flavor.
Ingredients for Brisket Burnt Ends:
- 6-8 pound brisket point
- 2 Tablespoons Beef Rub (or 2 teaspoons each of kosher salt, coarse black pepper, and garlic powder)
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 cup Kansas City BBQ Sauce or your favorite BBQ Sauce
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
How to Trim Brisket for Burnt Ends:
To make burnt ends, you’ll need to separate the point from the flat of the brisket if you haven’t purchased a brisket point on its own. Follow these steps for trimming:
Place the brisket on a large, stable cutting board with the fat cap facing down. Trim any excess fat from the sides of the brisket.
Using a sharp knife, cut through the fat at a wide angle towards the cutting board, separating the flat from the point. Cut along the layer of fat until the two muscles are completely separated. Trim any remaining hard fat from the bottom of the point, and ensure that the top fat cap is an even 1/4 inch thick.
How to Make Burnt Ends:
Once you have all the ingredients ready, it’s time to fire up the smoker and prepare the burnt ends. Follow these steps:
Preheat. Set your smoker to 225 degrees F, using oak wood or your preferred wood for brisket.
Season. Season the trimmed brisket point with Beef Rub or a mixture of kosher salt, coarse black pepper, and garlic powder on all sides.
Smoke. Place the seasoned brisket directly on the smoker and smoke for 6-8 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Spritz with beef stock every hour to keep it moist.
Wrap. Remove the brisket from the smoker and tightly wrap it in peach butcher paper. Return it to the smoker and continue smoking until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees F. This step typically takes around 3 hours.
Cube. Take the wrapped brisket off the smoker and carefully unwrap the butcher paper. Drain any liquid into an aluminum pan. Cut the meat into 1 1/2-inch cubes, aiming for uniform sizes.
Sauce. Place the cubed meat in the aluminum pan. Coat the cubes with brown sugar and BBQ sauce, ensuring they are well-covered.
Finish smoking. Set the uncovered pan back on the smoker and close the lid. Continue smoking at 225 degrees F for an additional 1-2 hours, or until the burnt ends have soaked up the sauce and developed a caramelized exterior.
Serve. Remove the burnt ends from the smoker and serve them with a slice of white bread for an authentic experience. You can also provide additional BBQ sauce on the side. Enjoy every delicious bite!
Smoking time for burnt ends typically ranges from 10-12 hours. However, it’s essential to rely on the internal temperature of the meat rather than a specific cooking duration. Invest in a reliable instant-read meat thermometer to ensure they are cooked to perfection.
Get ready to savor the smoky and sweet flavors of these Brisket Burnt Ends. They’re a culinary delight that will impress your taste buds and leave you longing for more.