Although the name may be deceiving, brisket burnt ends are a barbeque delicacy. Burnt ends are one of the best appetizers and a sure way to impress your friends and family at the next gathering. I wanted to find out how the barbeque gurus make burnt ends, so I did some research. I’ll walk you through every step and show you how the pros make this delicious barbeque side dish.
Brisket burnt ends are a type of barbeque delicacy made from diced pieces of the point end of a brisket. They are made by applying a generous layer of barbeque rub to the brisket point, cooking it low and slow at a temperature between 225°F and 250°F, wrapping it in aluminium foil once the bark has hardened, and cooking it to an internal temperature of 203°F. The diced meat is then placed in a pan, coated with barbeque sauce, and returned to the heat for an additional 20 minutes.
Brisket burnt ends can be served as an appetizer or a side dish. They can be made from a whole brisket, but the point end is preferred because it has more fat and flavor than the flat end. Brisket burnt ends should be cooked to an internal temperature of 203°F, or until tender, and can be rested for about 20-30 minutes before serving.
- Brisket burnt ends are a barbeque delicacy made from the point end of a brisket
- They are made by applying a rub, cooking low and slow, wrapping in foil, and cooking to an internal temperature of 203°F
- They can be served as an appetizer or side dish
- The point end of the brisket is preferred because it has more fat and flavor than the flat end
- Brisket burnt ends should be cooked to an internal temperature of 203°F, or until tender
- They can be rested for 20-30 minutes before serving
Burnt Ends Step-by-Step
|Spritz (apple cider vinegar, apple juice, beer or water)|
|Mustard * Optional|
|1. Separate point from flat|
|2. Trim excess fat leaving 1/4 inch|
|3. Apply binder to brisket * Optional|
|4. Season the brisket with a rub|
|5. Set your smoker to 225°F|
|6. Cook for 4 hours|
|7. Spritz every 30 minutes|
|8. Wrap brisket in aluminium foil|
|9. Increase to 250°F|
|10. Cook to 203°F internal|
|11. Slice brisket into cubes|
|12. Place cubes into an aluminium pan and drizzle with a barbeque sauce.|
|13. Place the tray of burnt ends into the smoker for 20 minutes.|
What Are Brisket Burnt Ends and How Do They Taste?
Brisket burnt ends are a popular barbecue dish made from the pointed end of a beef brisket. They are typically cut into small, bite-sized cubes and then slow smoked over wood until they are tender and caramelized. The smoking process gives the burnt ends a rich, smoky flavor and a slightly crispy exterior.
When served, burnt ends are often coated in a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, which helps to balance out the richness of the brisket. They are often served as a appetizer or a side dish, but can also be served as a main course.
In terms of taste, brisket burnt ends could be described as rich, savory, and slightly sweet. The smoky flavor of the meat is balanced out by the sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, resulting in a well-rounded, complex flavor profile. I find burnt ends to be extremely addictive because they have so much flavor and tenderness and bold flavor.
The Best Cut of Meat for Making Brisket Burnt Ends
The best cut of meat for making brisket burnt ends is the point end of a beef brisket. This is because the point end contains a higher amount of fat and connective tissue, which helps to keep the meat moist and flavorful during the long smoking process.
The point end of the brisket is also known as the “fatty end,” is located on the upper part of the brisket, near the shoulder. This part of the muscle is thicker and more marbled than the flat end, which is located on the lower part of the brisket.
The best way to make burnt ends is to trim the point end of the brisket and remove excess fat and then cut into small, bite-sized cubes. Then the cubes are slow smoked over wood until they are tender and caramelized. The smoking process gives the burnt ends a rich, smoky flavor and a slightly crispy exterior, which is what makes them so popular.
Brisket Burnt Ends vs. Regular Brisket: What’s the Difference?
Burnt ends are basically diced brisket. In simple terms, brisket burnt ends are a brisket point cut into small, bite-sized cubes and then slow smoked over wood until they are tender and caramelized. They are often glazed with barbeque sauce and served as a side dish or an appetizer. Regular brisket, on the other hand, refers to the entire beef brisket, which consists of two parts: the point end and the flat end. The point end is the thicker, fattier part of the brisket and is typically used to make burnt ends due to its higher fat content and flavor. The flat end is the leaner, thinner part of the brisket and is often used for other dishes such as sliced brisket sandwiches or chopped brisket tacos.
How to Turn a Whole Brisket Into Burnt Ends
To turn a whole brisket into burnt ends, start by separating the point end from the flat end of the brisket. The point end is then cut into small, bite-sized cubes and slow smoked over wood until tender and caramelized. The flat end can be cooked separately in an aluminum pan with a little beef broth to prevent it from drying out. Some pitmasters may also choose to smoke the flat end alongside the point end and then slice it thinly for use in other dishes such as sandwiches or tacos.
Where to Buy a Brisket Point
A brisket point is the thicker, fattier part of a beef brisket that is located near the shoulder. This muscle is the best part of the brisket to make burnt ends due to its higher fat content and flavor. You may have trouble finding a brisket point at your local grocery store, but you may be able to purchase one from a specialty butcher or a meat supplier. If you are unable to find a brisket point, you may have to purchase a whole packer brisket and separate the point and flat ends yourself using a sharp knife.
The Best Temperature for Smoking Burnt Ends
When smoking burnt ends, make sure you keep a consistent temperature in your smoker so your burnt ends remain tender and juicy. The best temperature for smoking burnt ends is anywhere between 225°F and 275°F. At these temperatures, the brisket will cook slowly and evenly, resulting in tender, flavorful burnt ends. Some pitmasters may choose to cook at the higher end of this range in order to speed up the cooking process, but cooking at a lower temperature for a longer period of time will allow the meat to absorb more smoke flavor.
How to Know When Burnt Ends Are Done
There are a few different ways to determine when burnt ends are done cooking. One method is to use a meat thermometer and cook the brisket to an internal temperature of 203°F, or until it is tender. Another way to check for doneness is to use the “toothpick test.” Simply insert a toothpick into the meat and see if it goes in easily. If the toothpick slides in with little resistance, the burnt ends are done. Pitmasters may also recommend going by feel and looking for a certain level of tenderness.
The Secret to Getting Tender, Juicy Brisket Burnt Ends
One of the keys to getting tender, juicy brisket burnt ends is to properly rest the meat after it has been cooked. Resting allows the muscle fibers to relax and reabsorb the meat juices, which helps to keep the meat moist and flavorful. With burnt ends, however, the process is slightly different. After the point end of the brisket has been slow smoked and cut into cubes, it is typically mixed with a variety of sauces and broth in a pan before being returned to the smoker for an additional 10-20 minutes. This helps to infuse the burnt ends with additional flavor and moisture.
Are Burnt Ends Fatty?
Since burnt ends are made from the point end of a beef brisket, which is a naturally fatty cut of meat, they do tend to be somewhat fatty. The point end contains a lot of marbling, or the thin white lines of fat that are visible in the meat, which helps to keep the burnt ends moist and flavorful during the smoking process. While burnt ends may be higher in fat than some other cuts of meat, the fat adds flavor and helps to keep the burnt ends tender.
Are Burnt Ends Really Burnt?
Contrary to their name, brisket burnt ends are not actually burnt. The term “burnt ends” refers to the crispy, caramelized exterior of the meat, which is achieved through the smoking process.
During the smoking process, the meat is slow cooked over wood for several hours, which gives it a rich, smoky flavor and a slightly crispy exterior. The long cooking time and high heat can cause the surface of the meat to become slightly charred, which is why it may appear burnt. However, the meat itself is not burnt and is perfectly safe to eat.
Brisket burnt ends are considered a delicacy in the world of barbecue and are prized for their bold flavor and tender, succulent texture. So, despite the name, burnt ends are definitely worth trying.
How To Serve Burnt Ends
There are many different ways to serve brisket burnt ends, and the best method will depend on your personal preference and the occasion. Some popular options include:
- As an appetizer: Burnt ends can be served as an appetizer with toothpicks or on small sliders buns, making them a perfect choice for parties or gatherings.
- As a side dish: Burnt ends can be served alongside other barbecue favorites such as corn on the cob, baked beans, and coleslaw. They also pair well with salads and vegetables, making them a great side dish option.
- In sandwiches: Burnt ends can be used as a topping for sandwiches, either by themselves or in combination with other ingredients such as coleslaw or pickles.
- With pasta or grains: Burnt ends can be served over pasta or grains such as rice or quinoa for a heartier meal.
- As a topping: Burnt ends can be used as a topping for dishes such as baked potatoes or mac and cheese for added flavor and protein.
Cooking The Flat
A brisket flat is a challenge, because it can dry out easily. It would be best to cook the flat in an aluminium pan with some broth. This will prevent the flat from drying out. A brisket flat requires a little more work than a point. A flat is not only thinner, it’s also much leaner. Leaner cuts of meat are difficult to cook since they dry out easily. The brisket point contains more fat and connective tissue, which is why it tastes better.
If you’re interested in learning more about smoking brisket flats, I’ve written a full length post on the subject, plus it includes recipes. You can find the article here: How To Smoke A Brisket Flat.
The Best Wood for Burnt Ends
There are a few different types of wood that are commonly recommended for smoking brisket, and the best one for you will depend on your personal preference. Here are some common smoking wood used by pitmasters when smoking brisket:
- Oak: Oak is a dense, hardwood that burns slowly and evenly, making it a good choice for smoking brisket. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor that complements the rich flavor of beef brisket.
- Pecan: Pecan is a sweet, nutty wood that is often used for smoking brisket. It has a slightly milder flavor than oak and is a good choice for those who prefer a more subtle smoke flavor.
- Mesquite: Mesquite is a strong, aromatic wood that imparts a bold, smoky flavor to brisket. It burns hot and fast, so it is best used in combination with other woods or in small amounts.
- Maple: Maple is a mild, sweet wood that is often used for smoking pork and poultry. It can also be used for smoking brisket, imparting a subtle sweetness to the meat.
- Apple: Apple wood is a mild, fruity wood that is often used for smoking pork and poultry. It can also be used for smoking brisket, adding a subtle fruitiness to the meat.
Wood is a choice, or sometimes it comes down to what’s available in your local area. Hickory is always a good choice for brisket, although it may be too strong for some people, so mix it with a softer, flavored wood. Pecan is always a safe bet and will provide your brisket with the perfect amount of smoke flavor. Any of the oak woods work well with beef, and there are several varieties, including post oak, which is one of my favorites. Mesquite is the strongest smoking wood, so be careful about using too much. Throw in a chunk of mesquite for a quick shot of smoke flavor, but be careful exposing your brisket to this wood or it will make your meat taste bitter. Fruit woods are always a safe choice, but they have a mild taste and may not have enough kick. I often go 50/50 with a fruit wood and a strong wood. Cherry is always good to mix in if you want some color to your meat, especially poultry.
The Bark – The Best Feature of Burnt Ends
- The bark is the crusty outer layer of the brisket and is considered the best feature of burnt ends
- Bark development is important for a good burnt end
- During the first phase of cooking, the brisket is cooked naked and unwrapped to absorb smoke and develop the bark
- Wrapping the brisket during cooking will soften the bark, so it is important to make sure the bark is firm before wrapping
- Some pitmasters spritz or mop the brisket every hour, while others leave it alone for the first few hours
- The brisket should be spritzed after 3 to 4 hours and wrapped when the bark is firm to the touch and the rub does not stick to your finger when poked.
When making burnt ends, the bark is very important. Burnt ends without bark won’t be very good. The bark is the crusty outer layer of the brisket, and some consider it to be the best feature of the smoked brisket. Some pitmasters approach the bark like artisans, spending hours nurturing and carefully developing the bark. Building a good bark on a brisket takes some practice. The first phase of the cook is the most important for bark development.
During the first phase, we cook the brisket naked, unwrapped and left on the grill to absorb smoke and develop the bark. The wrapping stage of the cook will soften the bark, so it’s important to make sure the bark is firm before wrapping. Some people spritz or mop the brisket every hour, but I’ve found it’s best to leave the meat alone for the first few hours. Constantly opening the lid to spritz will mess with the temperature, and the brisket doesn’t need wetting at first. Check the brisket after 3 to 4 hours and begin spritzing. Don’t wrap the meat until the bark is firm to touch. When you poke it with your finger, the rub shouldn’t stick to your finger.
For more on brisket bark, check out this article: How To Get Bark On A Brisket.
How to Season and Smoke Brisket Burnt Ends for Maximum Flavor
For the seasoning, you can buy a pre-made rub, or make a barbecue rub yourself. A homemade rub doesn’t have to be complicated either. You can go as simple as salt and pepper, which is a traditional Texas rub. For an S&P rub, choose a nice course black pepper mixed with an even amount of kosher salt.
Make sure you cover the outside of the brisket in the seasoning because the rub plays an important part in the bark development. Any gaps in the rub will mean a gap in the bark. If you want to ensure that you don’t get any gaps in the rub, use a binder to help the rub stick.
There are many pre-made barbeque rubs on the market. I make homemade rub these days, but I used to buy rubs from popular brands in barbeque Killer Hogs, Slap Yo Daddy or Butcher BBQ. If you do a lot of barbecuing, buying rubs can get expensive after a while, which is one reason I like to make my own. The other reason is the salt and sugar content. By making your own rub, you can have full control over the ingredients. Salt in particular can ruin your brisket. I’ve made the mistake of dry brining a brisket with kosher salt, then applying a store-bought rub that was high is salt. The brisket was extremely salty. I’ve never made that mistake again.
Homemade Brisket Rub Recipe
Nowadays I keep salt out of my ingredients, and pre-brine meat with kosher salt. I use the same rub recipe but have three variations. I follow the recipe, which includes sugar, and use this rub on chicken and pork where sweet works well. Then I make another batch low in sugar for beef. Then I make another batch, which includes the chilli powder, paprika and cayenne pepper, for a hot rub.
If you are interested in the homemade brisket rub recipe I use at home, check out this article I wrote a while back : Best Brisket Rub Recipe. I’ll show you the best homemade barbecue rub recipes and all my favorite store-bought rubs.
- - ½ Cup Paprika
- - ½ Cup Salt
- - ½ Cup Sugar
- - ½ Cup Granulated Garlic
- - ¼ Cup Granulated Onion
- - ¼ Cup Chili
- - ¼ Cup Cumin
- - 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
- - 2 Tablespoons Dry Mustard
- - 1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
- Combine all the spices together in a large mixing bowl
- Store rub in rub shakers
A binder isn’t necessary, but a slather helps the rub stick to the meat and prevents gaps in the bark. People use all kinds of binders, but the most commonly used slathers would have to be yellow mustard or olive oil. Yellow mustard works really well and gives the brisket a nice color. You can’t taste the mustard, so don’t worry about it influencing the flavor too much.
Spritz or Mop Your Brisket
Spritzing is a way to cool the meat and slow down the cooking. We don’t want the brisket to cook too fast, otherwise it won’t tenderize. We also want the meat to absorb as much smoke as possible and harden the bark. Wetting the meat will also attract more smoke and help the rub fuse to the meat. The most common spritz is apple cider vinegar, apple juice, beer, or plain water.
You can read more about spritzing brisket here: How To Spritz Brisket.
Wrapping Brisket While Smoking
Wrapping is an essential part of the cook. Once you have developed a nice bark, it’s time to get the brisket wrapped up in foil or butcher paper. For burnt ends, I’ve seen this done a few different ways. One way is to just wrap the brisket as you normally would, stick a probe in the meat, then place it back in the smoker until it’s done. The other way is to place the brisket point in an aluminium pan, pour in some broth, cover the pan with foil and place the tray back in the smoker. Wrapping will soften the bark, so make sure you have developed a firm crust during the first phase of the cook.
Butcher paper will produce a better bark than brisket because it allows the meat to breathe more. For more on wrapping brisket, check out this article.
Why Smoked Brisket Turns Black
If your brisket looks like a meteorite after several hours in the smoker, then you must be doing something right. This blackness results from a series of chemical reactions that take place on the surface of the meat. Smoke sticks to the brisket bark and turns it black. A brisket cooked in an oven without smoke will take on a completely different color. The dark color also depends on the type of smoker that you are using. A charcoal smoker, and an offset smoker will turn a brisket blacker than an electric smoker. A substance found in smoke called creosote is responsible for the color of smoked meats. Creosote isn’t bad but too much will make the brisket taste bitter. To avoid bad smoke in your smoker, keep the vents open to ensure the fire is getting an adequate supply of oxygen. If the smoke is allowed to smolder, this can cause bad smoke. Also, keep your smoker clean because creosote can build up inside your smoker and your meat will taste like soot.
Brisket Burnt Ends Recipe: Step-by-Step Instructions for BBQ Perfection
- Brisket point
- Barbeque Rub
- Spritz (apple cider vinegar, apple juice, beer or water)
- Mustard * Optional
- Barbeque sauce
- Separate point from flat
- Trim excess fat leaving 1/4 inch
- Apply binder to brisket * Optional
- Season the brisket with a rub
- Set your smoker to 225°F
- Cook for 4 hours
- Spritz every 30 minutes
- Wrap brisket in aluminium foil
- Increase to 250°F
- Cook to 203°F internal
- Slice brisket into cubes
- Place cubes into an aluminium pan and drizzle with a barbeque sauce.
- Place the tray of burnt ends into the smoker for 20 minutes.
If you want the brisket done faster, cook between 250°F and 275°F
Serving Size:140 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320Total Fat: 16 gramsg
Related: Pork Belly Burnt Ends In A Smoker