This is a slightly different type of post from me, but is hands down one of my favorites. My whole family has been from Kansas City, so I had to pay homage to their style of barbecue. I first had burnt ends when I was a child, and I fell in love with them ever since. If you do not know what burnt ends are, it is the point of the brisket that has been smoked, chopped into small cubes. and tossed in butter and bbq sauce. They are then re-smoked and are melt in your mouth! We have had at least 3-4 friend bbqs this year and these are the MOST popular item we make! Yes, you cam make oven baked brisket. Just cook 250 in the oven. It will be a more consistent cook, but will not have the smokiness of the smoker.
For this recipe, it is quite simple. The ingredients needed are very few. This is all about technique. While it seems intimidating, the steps are simple. Patience and time here are something you will need, but you will be making the best bbq you will ever have. Ingredients are a brisket, dry rub of choice, BBQ sauce of choice, and butter. Yep, that is it. First, we need to take our brisket and cut the fat off of it. Briskets are extremely fatty, so shaving some of that fat down will help with a more even cook. Do not take it all off, but usually, we end up removing about 2 pounds of fat every time. You will have a flat skinny side known as the flat, and a rounder pointier side called the point. The point is what we are using for burnt ends. Then, season your brisket liberally with your favorite dry rub. Now, before you put your meat directly on the smoker, make sure you have clear smoke. The massive white smoke cloud you see is the wood burning off the impurities. The less exposure the meat has to that smoke, the better as it can get bitter. The clearer the smoke the more pure it is.
Next, steps are simple, it just takes careful watching. Get your smoker up to 250F and place meat on smoker. We will be smoking this about 4-5 hours or until the internal temperature is 165F. Here is where you need some time. You need to make sure that the ambient temperature stays within 225-250F pretty much at all times. When you notice it start to drop, that is when you add more wood, chips, or pellets. However, adding too much can cause the temperature to spike too high. Too much fluctuation in the temperature could result in a slightly tough meat. This takes practice and a few times to understand your smoker. EVERYONE is different. From having 3 different smokers, none work the same or take the same time. I prefer an offset smoker the best. You get the best smoke.
Once the meat has a great bark on it and it is 165 F, wrap your meat in butcher paper. This means the meat has hit a stall. The stall is when the meat reaches around 165F and the temperature starts to struggle to come up to the desired 190-200F. This stall can last up to a couple of hours but do not panic. This is the second half of the cook and results In the tender, juicy meat. Keep an eye on the temperature and continue cooking at 250. Once the stall breaks, then you want to keep the temperature going until it reaches 190-200F . This means the fat has rendered and the meat is very tender. Once it is done, remove from the smoker and .Separate the point from the flat.
The Burnt Ends
Once your brisket is ready to be cut, you will want to separate the point from the flat. Here, you will see a distinct line that runs though the meat that will separate the two parts. The flat can be used for brisket sandwiches. Rewrap the flat and let it rest for about 1 hour. The point needs to be cut into little meat cubes. Then place into a heat safe bowl and add butter, more seasoning rub, and your bbq sauce. I prefer a thicker bbq sauce for this one. Cover with foil and place back on the smoker for about an 1 hour while the flat is resting. Since the flat has much less fat, to make sure it is tender, just like any steak, you need to let it rest!
Once the burnt ends are done, enjoy tender, smokey, and sweet pieces of meat that melt into your mouth. They are known as meat candy!
It is hard to nail this down perfectly on your first try. However, if you run into some issues, these are some common mistakes that I have made before. First, the quality of meat is crucial. I have purchased 40$ briskets to 120$ briskets. The better the quality, the better the outcome. The worst brisket was the cheapest one. It was tough and gritty. While it does not need to be the most expensive, good quality is key.
The stall taking too long. Hold out patience. Sometimes the stall happens early, and sometimes it happens later than expected. Just keep cooking it according to temp. It will hit eventually. If the stall is not breaking, you can slightly adjust the temp to about 260.
Your meat is dry. This usually means your temperature fluctuated too much during cooking. It is hard to completely control the heat. You will always see a slight jump in heat when you add more wood, so just do so at the right pace for you.
Wrapping your brisket too early does help with moisture but it will not have as much smoked bark.
Kansas City Inspired Smoked Burnt Ends of Brisket
- 12-18 Lb Brisket
- Dry BBQ Rub Seasoning of Choice
- 2-3 Cups BBQ Sauce
- 1/2 Stick Butter
- I highly recommend you read the article for full in-depth details!
- Trim fat around the brisket, usually around 2 pounds or so. Pat dry.
- Season generously with seasoning of choice.
- Place meat on smoker at 250. Let smoke for about 4-5 hours until internal reaches 165.
- Wrap the meat in butcher paper and continue to smoke at 250. The stall will take about 1-2 hours.
- Once the meat hits 190-200 F, remove from heat. Separate the point from the flat. Wrap the flat and let rest for about 1 hour. For the point, chop the point into 1 inch cubes in a heat safe tray.
- Add butter, seasonings, and bbq sauce. Reheat on the smoker until the butter and sauce is combined, about 45 min-1 hour.
- Remove from heat, stir, and enjoy!