These sweet, smoky and sticky super-tender bites of candy-like smoked brisket are an appetizer, main and dessert all rolled into one. They are the ultimate finger food, making them perfect for any BBQ or gathering.

Smoking meat is a labor of love, and this recipe is no exception. While it may be a little involved, the end result is well worth it. The juicy, super flavorful beef with its dark bark and addictive sweet and smoky flavors will have you coming back for more.

What Are Brisket Burnt Ends?

Brisket burnt ends are a barbecue dish that originated in Kansas City at Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque in the early 20th century. Their pitmasters would trim off the fattier end of the brisket (the deckle) and cook it until tender and flavorful. Then, cut it into bite-size pieces and served to their special customers.

Now burnt ends have become popular on barbecue restaurants’ menus throughout the entire country. Today, you can order an open-faced burnt ends sandwich for $16.95 and it is also sold by the pound.

smoked brisket point for burnt ends

Making your own burnt ends at home is pretty easy (though time consuming), and they don’t just have to be made from brisket. Burnt ends can also be made from smoked pork belly and from smoked chuck (“poor man’s burnt ends”).

sauce ingredients for brisket burnt ends

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card for all the specifics and instructions.

  • Brisket Point (aka Deckle) – It can be difficult to just find the point, so learn how to separate the point from the flat of a full packer brisket and trim off excess fat. You can also use leftover brisket to make these.
  • A Basic RubKosher salt and coarse black pepper: Use this simple brisket rub to season both the brisket and the sauce. Feel free to add any other spices like granulated garlic, onion, smoked paprika or other chili powders.
  • Butter – Use unsalted.
  • BBQ Sauce – Buy your favorite or, even better, make your own.
  • Dark Brown Sugar – You can also use honey, maple syrup or a combination.

Equipment

How to Make Brisket Burnt Ends

seasoned brisket flat for burnt ends

1. Season and Preheat the Smoker

Season the brisket point with kosher salt and coarse black pepper at least 45 minutes prior to smoking.

Preheat your smoker to 250° F with your preferred wood for smoking brisket. I like to use oak, pecan or a Texas blend for the pellet smoker.

brisket point in pellet smoker

2. Smoke the Brisket Point

Place the brisket in the smoker (with a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part).

brisket point smoking in pellet smoker

3. Smoke

After a nice bark is formed and the internal temperature reaches 165° F, which will take between 3 to 4 hours depending on the thickness of the meat and your smoker setup, it’s time to wrap the meat.

Tip: Always cook to temperature rather than by time.

wrapped brisket point

4. Wrap the Brisket

Pull the brisket point off the smoker and tightly wrap it with butcher paper or aluminum foil. Be sure to re-insert the thermometer probe back into the thickest part.

Place back in the smoker and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 185° F to 190° F.

Pull it out of the smoker and rest it for 30 minutes, still wrapped.

sauce for brisket burnt ends

5. Make the Sauce

Make the burnt ends sauce in the aluminum pan while the brisket rests. Stir all the ingredients to combine.

slicing brisket for making burnt ends 2

6. Slice and Cube

Unwrap the brisket and slice it into bite-size ¾” to 1″ cubes and add them to the pan with the sauce and stir to fully combine.

Discard any cubes that are only internal fat, as they can be too chewy.

brisket burnt ends in smoker

6. Smoke Again

Increase smoker temperature to 275° F.

Place the pan in the smoker and continue to cook for about 1 to 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the sauce is thickened and the burnt ends are caramelized.

They will be melt-in-your-mouth tender when they reach 203 to 210° F internal temp. Spot-check with a probe thermometer, and taste for texture and flavor.

Serve and enjoy with your favorite brisket sides.

brisket burnt ends on a plate

Serving Suggestions

These burnt ends are pretty much the perfect finger food on a plate (toothpick optional). Make them into burnt end sandwiches on brioche buns with coleslaw or sliders with Hawaiian buns. Burnt end tacos or rice bowls with plenty of veggies have totally different flavors and will be a hit.

My favorite sides to serve them with are Hawaiian macaroni salad or potato salad, and they go perfectly along with BBQ baked beans or creamy mashed potatoes. Don’t forget some smoked apple crisps for dessert. Check out the whole list of sides for brisket.

What cut of beef is used for burnt ends?

Burnt ends are traditionally made with brisket point, which is the fattier, more marbled end of a beef brisket. They can also be made with pork belly or chuck, known as “poor man’s burnt ends.”

How long does it take to cook burnt ends?

Brisket burnt ends will take around 8+ hours in the smoker

How long will burnt ends last?

Burnt ends will last 3 to 5 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can be vacuum-sealed and frozen for up to 6 months.

How to reheat leftover burnt ends?

Leftover burnt ends can be reheated in a skillet or pot over medium heat, in a 325° F oven, or they can also be microwaved for about 1 minute, or until warm. You can also heat them again in the smoker or grill if you are firing that up.

More Recipes You’ll Love

With all the ways to enjoy the pork, here are a few really delicious ways.

brisket burnt ends in pan

Smoked Brisket Burnt Ends

Savor the ultimate umami indulgence – these smoky, caramelized nuggets of brisket are utterly addictive. With just brisket, wood smoke, BBQ sauce, and brown sugar, you'll create an irresistibly meaty, sweet, and crispy appetizer or snack that'll leave you craving more.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8

Equipment

  • Aluminum pan (1/2)
  • Butcher Paper, unwaxed or aluminum foil

Ingredients

  • 1 beef beef brisket point, trimmed (6 to 8 pounds)
  • 1 tbsp Diamond kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper

Burnt Ends Sauce

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (honey or maple syrup can also be used)
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

  • Season the brisket with salt and pepper at least 45 minutes prior to cooking and let it sit out while you prep the smoker.
  • Preheat your smoker to 250° F, using your preferred wood for smoke (I like oak or pecan for brisket).
  • Smoke the brisket point (with a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part) until the bark is formed and the internal temperature reaches 165° F, about 3 to 4 hours depending on the thickness of the meat.
  • Pull the brisket point off the smoker and tightly wrap it with butcher paper or aluminum foil. Be sure to re-insert the thermometer probe into the thickest area.
  • Place back in the smoker and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 185° F. About 2 to 3 more hours.
  • Remove from the smoker and rest for 30 minutes.
  • Make the burnt ends sauce in the aluminum pan. Whisk all the ingredients to combine.
  • Unwrap the brisket and slice it into bite-size 3/4" to 1" cubes and add them to the pan with the sauce. Discard any cubes that are only internal fat.
  • Increase smoker temperature to 275° F.
  • Add the cubed brisket to the pan with the sauce and toss to fully combine.
  • Place the pan in the smoker for about 1 to 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the sauce is thickened and the burnt ends are caramelized. They will be tender when they reach 203 to 210° F internal. Spot-check with a probe thermometer and carefully taste for texture and flavor.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was my first-time making brisket in any style. I used a Traeger smoker with pecan pellets. It turned out very well. I think I may have trimmed off a little too much fat, but I’m not sure. My sauce did break, but quickly came back to life with a whisk. I appreciated the post and the recipe. Very clear, and instructional. I’m excited to see how others like it! -A