Each bite of these Brisket Burnt Ends is salty, sweet, and incredibly tender. Brisket point is slowly smoked, braised, and caramelized with rich barbecue sauce. Serve them on a platter for game day, or pile them high on buns for the ultimate sandwich.
These sweet nuggets of brisket are always a hit at any barbecue or party. Smoked burnt ends are easy to prepare, bite-sized, and packed with flavor. Each bite will be loaded with flavors from the dry rub and have plenty of crispy ends. This recipe mimics the original process by cooking the point of the brisket, rather than the whole packer brisket or individual cubes.
Why This Process Works
- VERY TENDER. Smoking a whole brisket point rather than the individual cubes keeps the meat very moist and tender. There is slightly less bark, but it’s a sacrifice for juicy meat.
- SIMPLE PROCESS. This burnt ends recipe is pretty straightforward with very little micromanagement. Time will be the hardest part, as you’ll have to battle patience before you treat yourself.
- AUTHENTIC FLAVORS. If tradition means something to you, then hopefully you’ll appreciate this process. Kansas City burnt ends have a sweet flavor with just enough heat to let you know it’s there. Our combination of spices and sauces is inspired by the original.
What are Burnt Ends?
Have you heard of meat candy? Simply put, these are considered some of the best bites in barbecue. These crispy, tender, and sweet bites of brisket point actually have a real origin story too.
Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque located in Kansas City, Missouri, was ground zero. At the time, pitmasters would cut off and throw away the burnt ends of the briskets, assuming people wouldn’t appreciate that when they would chop or slice for serving. Arthur saved these crispy scraps, sauced them, and served them to customers while waiting for their orders. Nothing went to waste, and talk about the best marketing ever!
Over time, the definition of traditional burnt ends has changed. Pork belly has stepped up and is now considered a staple alternative for smoked burnt ends. We’ve even seen smoked salmon, and pineapple burnt ends!
Let’s Get to the Point
Brisket burnt ends start with the point muscle, which is the fatty cut from the beef brisket. If you are unable to purchase this on its own, you will need to separate it from the full packer brisket, also referred to as a whole packer. Use the flat muscle for another purpose, like homemade pastrami.
The first step involved removing any layers of fat from the outside that are not going to render down and create unpleasant textures.
Use a sharp knife to trim the excess fat and silver skin from both sides of the brisket point. There is a section of hard fat on the side that absolutely needs to be removed, you’ll know what it is by the feel of it.
Starting with a Whole Packer Brisket?
The process for making burnt ends out of the whole brisket is similar, but you’ll skip ahead to Step 3, slicing the brisket point into cubes once it’s finished and rested. Toss the cubes in a foil pan with the sauce and continue to cook as instructed. Trust us, you’ll still have tender brisket with crispy ends.
Season the Meat
Dust the outside of the beef brisket generously on all sides with the dry rub. This can be done a few hours in advance if needed, as long as the meat rests in the fridge uncovered.
To keep it as traditional as possible, you’ll want to use a well-rounded barbecue rub. Try out the Signature Sweet & Smoky Rub, which has notes of chiles, brown sugar, and aromatics, while adding great color to the finished product.
Check out the Sedona Sand All-Purpose Seasoning, which is available in the shop. This is a sugar-free seasoning loaded with spices, herbs, and of course chiles. Your meat will have a nice, deep red color along with layers of flavors. Plus, the smell, oh my gosh. It’s incredible.
Step 1: Smoking the Brisket Point
- Set your smoker to 250°F and allow it to preheat. You can go lower, down to 225°F if your smoker doesn’t generate as much smoke. Doing so will simply increase the cooking time by at least an hour or more.
- Smoke the brisket point for 5-6 hours, which will depend on the size. After the first hour, lightly spritz with some beef stock every hour. Cook the seasoned brisket until it reaches about 165°F in the thickest part.
- This stage of the process is where the smoky flavor and bark develop the most.
Step 2: Wrapping the Brisket
Once the brisket has reached the target temperature, go ahead and pull it off the smoker.
Lay the brisket on a sheet of heavy-duty foil and add 1/4 cup of beef stock. Wrap it tightly in two layers of aluminum foil and place it back on the smoker.
Turn the heat up to 300°F and cook for another 1-2 hours. The internal temperature of the meat should be about 200°F and it needs to be probe tender. Poke a meat thermometer all around the meat to make sure it’s tender, or wrap it tightly and keep cooking for a little longer.
Step 3: Cube and Sauce
- Take the wrapped brisket off the smoker and carefully unwrap the aluminum foil. Pour the juices onto a baking sheet or aluminum foil pan that will go back in the smoker.
- Cut the brisket into 1 1/2-inch cubes, keeping them roughly the same size. Add the meat to the pan and pour on about 1 cup of BBQ sauce. Check out the Smoky Sweet Heat Sauce, which is our signature blend.
- Add a little more of the seasoning as well, coating the sides of the beef that was freshly sliced. Carefully mix up the brisket so that everything is coated.
- (optional) You may add a little brown sugar to the mix, which will make them sweeter.
- Place the uncovered pan back in the smoker for about 30-40 minutes, or until they have absorbed the sauce and the surface is nice and tacky.
What to Serve with Brisket Burnt Ends
Just grab a toasted potato roll or white bread, and that’s really all you need.
Kidding, we love to serve these smoked burnt ends with plenty of different sides. Here are some of my favorites:
- Sweet and Spicy Pickles – These are a MUST
- Loaded Baked Potato Jalapeno Poppers
- Smoked Potato Skins
- Creamy Southwestern Coleslaw
- Grilled Broccoli Crunch Salad
- Creamy Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese
Frequently Asked Questions
Only if you want to be traditional. Poor man’s burnt ends are made using chuck roast, which is somewhat similar. Brisket has a better fat ratio and much less intermuscular fat, but chuck roast is always another option.
Yes, you can. The cooking time will be very different. Make sure you spritz regularly and still wrap them in aluminum foil when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165°F.
Through testing the aluminum foil tends to braise and soften the brisket much better than butcher paper using this process. If you find it’s too soft, try butcher paper for yourself and see if that helps. It will lengthen the cooking time, so just be aware. You can also use an aluminum pan and seal the top tightly with foil.
- Trim the brisket point of any loose fat or silverskin. If you are starting with a whole packer brisket, carefully trim along the seam of fat and separate the point first.
- Season all sides generously with your seasoning. Allow the brisket to rest at room temperature and heat up your smoker to 250°F.
- Place the brisket in the smoker and allow it to cook undisturbed for about 5-6 hours. Check on it to make sure it has a great color, the bark should be darker and firm. The timing will vary, depending on the size of the point.
- Once the temperature is around 165°F, remove it and place it on a sheet of heavy-duty foil. Pour on the beef broth and wrap it up tight using two layers of foil. Return to the smoker and turn up the heat to 300°F. Use your temperature probe to monitor the brisket.
- After about 1-2 hours, the brisket will reach about 200-205°F. Check the thickest parts with your temperature probe to make sure it’s very tender. Wrap and continue to cook if not.
- Remove the brisket and slice it into cubes when it’s tender. Add the cubes to a sheet pan or foil pan, and pour in the beef juices that were left over. Add in the BBQ sauce and mix everything gently until the brisket is coated. Set the pan back in the smoker for about 30-40 minutes until the sauce is tacky on the outside.
- Remove the burnt ends from the smoker and serve with a slice of white bread and homemade pickles.
- Make sure you wrap the brisket with 2 sheets of heavy-duty foil, not thin foil.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 7-8 hours
- Category: Beef & Lamb
- Method: Smoking
- Cuisine: Appetizer
Keywords: burnt ends, brisket, brisket point, brisket burnt ends, Kansas city burnt ends, smoked burnt ends