How to Make Burnt Ends — Melt in Your Mouth, Cubed Brisket Candy (2024)

How to Make Burnt Ends — Melt in Your Mouth, Cubed Brisket Candy (1)Brisket

Burnt ends are the point end of the brisket, cubed, sprinkled with sugar, then coated in sauce and returned to the smoker until they become melt-in-your-mouth, beefy candy bites. There are many methods and recipes you can follow to produce your own. Here’s our take on them, which we’re sure you’ll love.

How to Make Burnt Ends — Melt in Your Mouth, Cubed Brisket Candy (2)

Written by: Mark Jenner

Last Updated: January 10, 2024

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How to Make Burnt Ends — Melt in Your Mouth, Cubed Brisket Candy (3)

For many of us, there is no better bite of barbecue than brisket burnt ends.

A properly cooked burnt end has everything that can possibly go into great barbecue. It has deep, chewy bark on the outside with intense smokey flavor, paired with a sweet sticky sauce, and is cooked until it’s as tender as your Momma’s love.

Ever wanted to learn more about burnt ends? What they are, what their history is, and (most importantly) how to make burnt ends?

Keep reading, and we’ll answer all those questions, plus another couple you probably didn’t even realize you had, as well as provide an easy-to-follow, printable recipe, so you can make them yourself.

Contents (Jump to Topic)

  • The History of Burnt Ends
  • Where the Name Burnt Ends Comes From — and How They Used to be Given Away Free!
  • How to Make Burnt Ends?
  • Video: How to make Burnt Ends by HowToBBQRight
  • Burnt Ends Recipe
    • Ingredients:
    • Instructions
  • Conclusion

The History of Burnt Ends

Brisket is actually 2 muscles, the leaner flat and the fattier point. Burnt ends are made from the fattier point part of the brisket.

Since brisket is king in Texas, it’s understandable that many think burnt ends are a tradition of the lone star state, given its affinity with smoked brisket, but they would be wrong.

Surprisingly, burnt ends were invented in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City may seem unlikely to be the home to one of the greatest food inventions of all-time, but I assure you Kansas City is steeped in barbecue traditions.

It is home to both the Kansas City BBQ Society — the largest BBQ contest sanctioning body in the world, and The American Royal World Series of Barbecue® — one of the largest BBQ contests in the world.

Also, Kansas City is home to Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue, a restaurant that has served the likes of Presidents and movies stars. At Arthur Bryant’s you order your food at a counter, and your meat is cut to order.

KCPT produced an excellent documentary about the history of the burnt end called Burnt Legend. In the video below, they do a great job of explaining how the burnt end of today came to be, and how Arthur Bryant’s played such a major part in that.

Where the Name Burnt Ends Comes From — and How They Used to be Given Away Free!

Many years ago it was customary for the person doing the cutting to cut off the charred end pieces of the point of the brisket and place them on a plate for customers to snack on while waiting for their food.

These pieces had a lot of bark, were somewhat dried out, and were considered unfit to be sold.

As time went on, these little pieces of brisket became very popular. So popular that customers began asking if they could become a menu item.

This presented a unique problem. The demand was so great, but the supply was so small. Each brisket would only yield a few small scraps of these burnt edges, not enough for a sandwich.

To replicate the burnt edges they were giving away, Arthur Bryant’s had to come up with a way to similarly prepare their brisket.

They began to cook the point about 80% of the way, and then cube it and cover it in their thick sauce, and finally return them to the smoker to finish cooking.

And this gave birth to the common burnt end we all know and love today.

Also See

  • What is the difference between Brisket flat and point?
  • Reheating sliced brisket

How to Make Burnt Ends?

There is some misconception out there that burnt ends are just cubed pieces of brisket that have been sauced. This is a travesty to good burnt ends everywhere, especially since you already had everything you needed to make proper burnt ends.

A brisket consists of two main parts. The flat is leaner and as the name suggests is flat and broad. This is perfect for slicing.

The other part is the point, which is much fattier than the flat. The point is what we want to use when making burnt ends.

Cook the point until it’s almost ready, then remove it and using a good brisket slicing knife, cut it into large 1” diameter cubes before saucing and returning to the smoker.

This will allow the meat to continue cooking causing both the intramuscular fat to render down and create a delicious bark on the exterior of the burnt end.

Video: How to make Burnt Ends by HowToBBQRight

In this video, Malcom Reed shows you how to make burnt ends from a whole packer brisket, with commercial rubs and sauces:

Burnt Ends Recipe

The recipe below is a simple way for you to make burnt ends at home, if you don’t fancy following the video above precisely.

Ingredients:

For the Brisket:

  • 1 brisket point — approx. 6 lbs. You can purchase just the point, or you can purchase a whole brisket and separate. Cook the flat with your point, or keep it to cook later.
  • ¼ cup of your favorite beef or brisket rub
  • 2 cups of Kansas City Style BBQ sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 2 tbsp of honey

For the spritz:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Instructions

  1. The night before your cook, trim your brisket ready for smoking. For detailed instructions, check our guide on how to trim a brisket.
  2. Season your brisket liberally with the rub and place in refrigerator and combine the ingredients for the spritz into a spray bottle
  3. Prepare barbecue for two-zone indirect cooking, and preheat to 275 °F, using hickory wood for smoke (or one of the 6 other woods we recommend for smoking brisket.)
  4. Place brisket on the barbecue and cook until internal temperature reaches 150 °F, spritzing every hour or so. Approx. 6 hours.
  5. Wrap the brisket in tinfoil, adding ¼ cup of the spritzing liquid. Add to the grill until the internal temperature hits 185° Approx. 2 hours.
  6. In a saucepan over medium heat combine BBQ sauce, brown sugar, butter, and honey. Stir until brown sugar is dissolved then remove from heat.
  7. Remove brisket from smoker and slice into 1” thick slices, and then slice into 1” thick cubes. Place the cubed brisket in a disposable pan and coat in the BBQ sauce mixture and return to the barbecue.
  8. Cook for another 1 – 2 hours until the BBQ sauce mixture has reduced and the burnt ends are caramelized. Serve immediately.

Conclusion

One last thing: burnt ends are only made with brisket. There’s a rising trend lately to make burnt ends out of other cuts of beef, or something different altogether like pork belly. While it may all be delicious, it is simply not a burnt end.

Now that we’ve hopefully answered all the questions you could have regarding burnt ends, please leave us a comment down below with your thoughts. Did we nail it, or do you think we’ve left out an important step or two? Do you have a recipe that you feel can rival ours? Let us know!

As always, if you’ve enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends on Facebook or other social media channels.

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How to Make Burnt Ends — Melt in Your Mouth, Cubed Brisket Candy (4)

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Written By: Mark Jenner

I'm a BBQ fanatic and have been barbecuing and grilling since 2005. I founded FoodFireFriends in 2017 and have extensively written for the site since.

I love cooking outdoors over live fire and smoke whatever the weather, and I currently own over 30 grills and smokers of all varieties that I frequently cook on to produce epic food.

My goal with this site is to help as many people as possible enjoy and be good at doing the same.

Leave a Comment

  1. Beautiful. Smoked point on a Traeger, was awesome and tender. Well done.

    Reply

    1. Good work 🙂

      Reply

    2. Bought a 6 lb. “Market Trimmed” point, and had to cut 1.5 more pounds off of it (ughh). Cooked on Large Big Green Egg. Meat hit 160 degrees at less than 4 hours, cooking around 250-265. Took less than 1.5 hours with the Texas Crutch to hit 189 degrees. Pulled it, cubed it, and applied BBQ mixture as instructed.

      Put pan on grill and stirred after 10 minutes to mix it all up. Mixed again after 30 more minutes. Still kind of looked the same. Checked meat temp with instant thermometer and was 181 and 182. Hmmm? Cranked heat until it hit 400, then closed vents to bring temp back down. Looked when it hit 248 after about another 30 minutes, and the meat had a such a different look — darker and more “burnt” looking. Did it again for another 30 minutes letting it hit 409 and then come back down. Checked meat temp and was 195-197. Pulled it then.

      I had 7 people at my house who are still raving about how good that was. This was my first time cooking burnt ends, and was really worried when I cubed it, because it seemed kind of tough when cutting it. I guess that is because it was not done, so needed more time. The meat could not have been any more tender! I think I was more surprised than anyone. I really don’t see how it could have turned out any better.

      Thank you, Mark!

      Reply

  2. Thanks for the article Mark! Burnt ends are little chunks of Heaven right here on earth. I’m looking to upgrade my Master Built (it really isn’t masterly built) propane smoker to an electric smoker. Any suggestions on good brands? I would like to keep it under a grand.
    Thanks,
    Russ

    Reply

    1. Hi Russ,

      For an electric, I have the Masterbuilt 30 myself. I’ve not had any issues with it personally, but I’m getting to the point where my view on them is changing because so many others seem to have had issues with build quality and reliability.

      However, I’m not really sure what else to recommend when it comes to electric smokers. Most models are the ‘economical / budget’ price end, so build quality is never really the best. And I see most models from most manufacturers receiving complaints in forums, Facebook groups and so on. I need to do research on it myself and update my recommendations article very soon. Sorry I can’t be more help with this one.

      Reply

  3. Great read and videos.
    Very informative.

    Reply

  4. Figures something like this would be invented in Kansas City since we know how to smoke a brisket in Texas. You end up with anything burnt and dry it’s cause you suck at cooking. But they still weren’t invented in KC, maybe the idea of saucing and selling them cause we don’t do that here, again there’s that whole issue where we’re capable of smoking a brisket tender and juicy throughout. But all over there were cooks who would cut off and toss or give away burnt ends. Or the cooks would eat them. What a lie this article is.

    Reply

    1. Hi, Fletch. Care to expand on ‘What a lie this article is? It’s well researched, backed up with links to sources and a video documentary detailing all that we’re saying, so it tells things exactly how they are. If there are inaccuracies, point them out, and we’ll look into them. Thanks.

      Reply

  5. I dry brined the meat for 14 hours with 3 tsp. of Morton’s Course Kosher Salt and Big Bad Beef Rub. Also cooked on BGE indirect heat with plate setter and water pan below the meat. Hope that helps!

    Reply

  6. Just found this site on Pinterest you have done a great job of presenting this show and I am looking forward to trying these recipes thank you

    Reply

  7. Tried your recipe..loved it. Thanks for sharing

    Reply

  8. The burnt ends came out great. Thank you for the recipe. A dinner favorite

    Reply

  9. How would you suggest making ahead of serving day? refrigerate after initial smoke then cook(smoke) to warm, then continue with doing the sauce in pan etc?

    Reply

    1. I would cook until completely done, then vacuum seal to be reheated sous vide / in a pan of hot water on the day. There’s no discernible loss of quality when you vacuum seal and reheat sous vide something like this.

      Reply

      1. Was wondering about sous vide, specifically the thin plastic being cooked for long periods of time. I know your site is about bbq, just curious what you thought about this?

        Reply

        1. I sous vide now and then, but mostly reheating leftover BBQ of which I tend to have a lot due to my work here. It’s a very popular cooking technique, and becoming ever more popular year by year. I’ve never heard any issues with the bags being cooked for long periods of time (assuming you buy the correct bags made for purpose, of course.)

          Reply

How to Make Burnt Ends — Melt in Your Mouth, Cubed Brisket Candy (2024)

FAQs

How to make brisket and burnt ends? ›

Smoke the brisket, fat side down, until it reaches 165-170° degrees F (about 7-8 hours). Next lay out 2 long pieces of overlapping butcher paper, spritz with apple cider vinegar, and place the brisket inside, about 2 feet from the end. Drizzle on the beef tallow before folding and tucking in the sides of the paper.

How to make burnt ends not chewy? ›

How can I prevent tough burnt ends? Make sure your smoker is at a low temperature for smoking the burnt ends. Too high of a temperature can result in tough, chewy pieces of meat.

How to fix dry burnt ends? ›

Wrap in foil, add some liquid -beef broth will work, toss back on the pit for a while. Make burnt ends out of the point. If still dry, use it to make chili.

How long to let brisket rest before making burnt ends? ›

Rest your brisket flat in a cooler for at least one hour. Take the point and cut it into 1” cubes. Place the cubes in the aluminum pan. Season and toss the cubes with more Meat Church Holy Gospel as a traditional Kansas City Burnt End is sweet.

What temperature to pull brisket for burnt ends? ›

Place brisket on the grill grate and cook until the internal temperature reaches 190℉ (approximately 6 to 7 hours). Remove brisket from grill and cut into 1 inch cubes.

What is best for burnt ends? ›

The key to great burnt ends is low and slow cooking. Preheat your favorite smoker to 225 degrees F with oak wood (or whatever is your favorite for brisket). Season. Season the trimmed brisket on all sides with Beef Rub or equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

What makes burnt ends so good? ›

Burnt ends taste like rich, smoked beef caramelized in the sweet molasses beauty of Kansas City barbecue sauce. Despite their name and charred appearance, burnt ends don't taste burnt. The spices on the meat harden when smoked, creating a flavorsome layer of barbeque bark that has a similar consistency to jerky.

What are poor man's burnt ends? ›

Poor Man's Burnt Ends are bite sized pieces of tender beef, caramelized in a sweet and sticky honey BBQ sauce. This beloved BBQ classic is prepared with chuck roast instead of a traditional brisket which does make it a nice budget friendly meal option!

How to fix rough dry brisket? ›

Reheat it in a moist environment: One of the easiest ways to soften a dry brisket is to reheat it in a moist environment. You can do this by placing the brisket in a covered dish with a small amount of beef broth, water, or tomato sauce. Cover the dish with foil and bake it in the oven until it is heated through.

What liquid do you add to brisket? ›

7 Options of Liquids to Use for Spritzing Brisket:
  1. Apple Cider Vinegar. This is one of the most commonly used liquids for a brisket spritz, especially for Carolina-style barbecue. ...
  2. Apple Juice. Apple juice is another popular spritz option. ...
  3. Beer. ...
  4. Beef Broth. ...
  5. Melted Butter. ...
  6. Worcestershire Sauce. ...
  7. Plain Water.
Oct 12, 2022

Are burnt ends healthy? ›

Sorry, but burnt ends aren't your friend. Limit HCAs and PAHs in your smoked meats by not consuming meat that has been over-cooked or charred (intentionally or otherwise). Strike a compromise with liquid smoke.

Are burnt ends and brisket the same thing? ›

Burnt ends are the trimmings from a smoked brisket. During the smoking process, the point cut of the brisket develops a rich, smoky bark and crunchy texture. Pitmasters trim off this flavorful section, cut them into cubes, sauce them, and then kiss them with smoke to caramelize them.

How long does it take to cook a brisket? ›

Our general rule of thumb is to plan on between 30 and 60 minutes per pound when learning how to cook a brisket. For example, a 16-pound brisket cooked at 275 degrees Fahrenheit will take between 10 and 12 hours. The entire process from trimming, injection, seasoning, and cooking will take between 18 and 20 hours.

How do you keep brisket tender when smoking? ›

Place the brisket on the smoker fat side up. Depending on your smoker, if the heat is coming from below, consider smoking fat-side down to protect the muscle from drying out too much. Place the fattier point of the brisket closer to the fire. The extra fat will help insulate it.

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