Saturday, May 28, 2022

Brisket Burnt Ends

Brisket Burnt Ends are a smokehouse delicacy! Hunks of brisket seasoned with a homemade blend of spices and drenched in tangy BBQ sauce... {{swoon}}

Smoked brisket point is removed from the flat and chopped into bite-sized pieces, then it goes back in the smoker for another round. 

The extra fat melts right in for incredibly juicy beef with a delectable crust. The smell is so incredible, you’ll be tempted to sneak bites before the meat is even done!

titled (shown close up): brisket burnt ends

Chad and I are absolutely hooked on smoked brisket, but I tell you there is nothing quite like burnt ends. There are so many ways to enjoy 'em, but my favorite is burnt end nachos.
burnt ends recipe ingredients on gingham check serving tray

Smokers and combination grills are taking neighborhood backyards by storm!

But while everyone else is smoking the usual steaks and wings, you can truly impress your guests with this burnt ends recipe!

Sure, you may have to get started bright and early — you’ve got to smoke the whole brisket first, after all. But when you take your first bite, you'll know that every hour spent is worth it!!

chopped brisket in aluminum pan

Brisket Burnt Ends

If you’re wondering what part of the brisket is burnt ends, wonder no more!

Made from the point cut (or deckle) of the brisket, the scrumptious bites of smoked beef became popular in Kansas City in the 1970s.

After slicing the flat cut for sandwiches, the heavily smoked end pieces were chopped up and passed out as appetizers to waiting customers.

Very quickly, they discovered that brisket burnt ends is the best part! Everything tastes better on the smoker, from meats and seafood to veggies and baked beans.

Don’t let this backyard appliance intimidate you — once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to try out all kinds of recipes!

seasoned pieces of brisket for burnt ends

Burnt Ends Recipe FAQ

Can you make burnt ends on a grill?
You sure can! Just be sure to set your grill to indirect cooking, then follow the burnt ends recipe as directed. Instead of using pellets like you would for Traeger burnt ends, you will need to soak wood chips in water for about 30 minutes. Drain the water off and add the wood chips to a smoker box.

Alternatively, wrap the brisket pieces in foil and poke a few holes all over so the steam can escape.

What do you do with burnt ends?

You mean aside from gobbling them right up? Burnt ends make for the best nachos!!!  I serve them on a bed of tortilla chips with a layer of queso (or beer cheese queso!) ,a scoop of apple baked beans, burnt ends, pickled jalapenos and a drizzle of barbecue sauce. You can't go wrong with those!

You can also serve them with toothpicks for a savory appetizer, or load them onto rolls for a tasty sandwich.

Brisket burnt ends are also great as a main course along with all of your barbecue favorites. Toss some corn on the cob or a few potatoes in the smoker with the meat for a simple meal, made in one shot!

pouring BBQ sauce over burnt ends

What temperature do you cook burnt ends?
For the best results, all cuts of beef should be smoked low and slow, at 225°F. Brisket point, especially. It needs the lower heat so the pieces come out both tender and crispy.

Do you cover burnt ends in foil?
You’ll regret it if you do! Brisket burnt ends should be smoked uncovered to get that signature crispy coating all over. The meat is already cooked through from the first round of smoking — the extra time is really to get it more tender and delicious.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Brisket point 
You will need to use the removed point cut from already smoked beef brisket. This cut can be hard to find by itself and is typically sold attached to the flat cut. So, it’s typically a better deal to buy the whole brisket.

If you don’t feel like smoking a whole brisket, I’ve also got a Poor Man's Burnt Ends recipe made with chuck roast that you can cook in an oven or on a smoker.

Brown sugar
This adds sweetness to balance the spice. It also caramelizes in the smoker, helping to create a mouthwatering crust on the surface of the meat.

Garlic powder and onion powder create a savory base. Chili powder, paprika, cumin, and cayenne add plenty of heat and a little extra kick. If you prefer your meat to be less spicy, simply omit the cayenne.

BBQ Sauce
Grab a bottle of your favorite or whip up my signature recipe! You’ll need up to a half cup of sauce for coating the beef, plus more for dipping.

brisket burnt ends tossed with seasoning and bbq sauce

How To Make Burnt Ends

First, you’ll need to spend most of the day smoking a whole beef brisket. After the meat rests and you have removed the brisket point, continue with this burnt ends recipe.
  1. Cube the meat. Slice into 1-inch pieces and place in an aluminum pan.

  2. Toss with spices. Mix together the brown sugar and seasonings, then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the meat. Toss until well combined.

  3. Coat in BBQ sauce. Pour some of the sauce over the beef and toss to coat. Add more if needed, just until every piece is covered.

  4. Smoke. Place the pan inside the smoker, uncovered, at 225°F. Cook for about an hour, tossing the meat halfway through, until crispy on the outside and extra tender on the inside.

chunks of beef in smoker

Storing and Reheating

Any leftover brisket burnt ends should be refrigerated in an airtight container. Enjoy within 3 to 4 days, either cold from the fridge or warmed back up.

Reheat the meat in the oven, no hotter than 325°F, switching to the broiler at the end if you want crispy bits again. Even an air fryer would be a great option for warming the meat back up!

  • Smoker - Wood pellet varieties allow extra flavor to be infused into whatever you’re smoking.
  • Wood chips or Pellets - I love this blend of black oak, hickory, elm, and mesquite and use it for just about everything.
  • Quality knives and a big solid cutting board make prepping a breeze and are well worth the investment.
  • Disposable aluminum pan - Easy to transfer from smoker to table without losing any of that delicious sauce!
  • Long tongs make it easier to flip the brisket burnt ends without reaching all the way into the smoker.

crispy pieces of smoked beef in basket on serving tray


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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crispy chunks of brisket point smothered in bbq sauce

Yield: 6
Author: Donna Elick
brisket burnt ends, close up

Brisket Burnt Ends

Brisket Burnt Ends are tender morsels of beef, smoked to perfection with BBQ sauce. Make this burnt ends recipe while the smoker’s still hot!

Prep time: 10 Minutes  Cook time: 1 Hour  Total time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes


  • Point from Smoked Brisket
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon New Mexico chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup BBQ sauce, plus more for dipping
  • Optional: additional salt and pepper as needed


  1. After the point has been smoked and removed from the brisket (see our recipe here), cut into about 1-inch cubes and lay in an aluminum pan.
  2. Mix the dry spices together and toss over the cubed meat. Toss to coat evenly.
  3. Pour the BBQ sauce over the burnt ends and toss again. Use just enough BBQ sauce to coat the meat.
  4. Return to smoker, uncovered, at 225°F for about 1 hour, tossing halfway.
  5. Serve with more BBQ sauce, as desired.

titled pinterest collage for burnt ends recipe

Originally published May 2022

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1 comment:

  1. so you have to have a smoker, or you can't make these right? because it's just me n my husband and we're senior citizens and we don't own a smoker..


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