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Smoked Brisket Burnt Ends

Smoked brisket burnt ends are tender, smoky, and delicious! These made from scratch burnt ends start with a smoked brisket point, cubed and coated in BBQ sauce, then placed back into the smoker until they have reached perfection. These caramelized pieces of meat candy make a great appetizer or main course.

Smoked brisket burnt ends in serving tray
derrickriches.com

For this recipe, we are starting from scratch with a raw brisket point, rather than using the point off of a pre-cooked brisket.

What are burnt ends?

Burnt ends are made with a beef brisket point. The point (known as the deckle) is separated from a smoked whole packer brisket, cubed and coated in a sweet, tangy sauce, then cooked for another 30 minutes to an hour. This allows the sauce to dry down and caramelize the surface of the meat.

Anatomy of brisket

Brisket is located in the cow’s breast area and is one of the nine primal cuts. It contains the superficial and deep pectoralis muscles and serves primarily as stabilizer muscles for the animal. That means it is in constant use. It also means that the meat is tough and requires long, low-temperature cooking. To achieve this, we recommend cooking a brisket in a smoker or slow braising in a Dutch oven. These two methods help break down the connective tissue, resulting in tender meat.

point-vs-flat diagram on a beef brisket
Image by: Oklahoma Joe’s
  • Whole brisket: A whole packer brisket consists of two parts, the point and the flat, typically weighing 10-16 pounds. While both parts are delicious, the point is the best choice for burnt ends.
  • Point: The point, also called the deckle, contains a fat cap and intramuscular fat (marbling). Because of its fat-to-meat ratio, this portion of the brisket is quite flavorful. Points can weigh anywhere between 5-7 pounds.
  • Flat: The flat is meatier and leaner than the point. It is roughly 1 1/2-2 “thick and weighs roughly 6-10 pounds. It has little marbling and connective tissue and is larger than the point. 
Texas Style Burnt Ends Sauce

Flavoring burnt ends

  • BBQ Rub and binder: The beauty of smoked burnt ends is that you can use simple seasonings like SPG or a more complex BBQ rub for brisket. We recommend applying a binder like Worcestershire sauce or mustard to the meat before seasoning.
  • The Brisket Injection Marinade (optional): This is purely an optional step for burnt ends. While we recommend using a brisket injection marinade for whole briskets, it is not required for this burnt ends recipe. However, if you go this route, we recommend halving the injection marinade recipe and using it the night before. Inject the brisket point, wrap in plastic and place it in the refrigerator overnight. 
  • BBQ Spritz: Another flavor component is the BBQ spritz, which helps moisten the point once the bark has been set up. Use a simple liquid like room temperature apple juice, beef broth, or pickle juice. Pour it into a clean, food-safe squirt bottle and mist the brisket point after the first 2 hours of smoke cooking.
  • Wood for smoking: We can all agree that the right wood (hardwood, chips, or pellets) will help achieve a delicious burnt end. We recommend using pecan, cherry, maple, or hickory wood for this recipe. These woods will produce a moderate to robust smoke flavor.

Equipment, time, and temperature

  • Equipment: This recipe was tested using a Big Green Egg XL, though we have made this recipe using a pellet grill and a kettle. Ensure you have enough fuel for 6-8 hours of cooking. You will also need:
  • A reliable instant-read thermometer or temperature monitoring device
  • Pink butcher paper
  • heat-resistant gloves
  • One 9″ x 9″ disposable aluminum pan 
  • A clean food-safe spray bottle. You will also need a meat injector if you plan to inject the meat with marinade. 
  • Time and Temperature: Brisket burnt ends can take anywhere from 6-8 hours, or 4560 minutes per pound at 225 degrees F. Keep in mind that there will always be that one brisket point that will cook quickly or take forever. Aim for a doneness temperature of 200-205 degrees F

How much burnt ends do I need to feed 6 adults?

We recommend serving 1/3-1/2 pounds of burnt ends per adult. Brisket points are rich with fat, so people tend to eat less burnt ends than they would sliced or chopped whole brisket. If there are lots of sides and extra meat, you can get away with 1/4 pound per person. You’ll need roughly 2 1/2-3 pounds of cooked smoked burnt ends to feed 6 adults.

Brisket burnt ends recipe
derrickriches.com

Ingredients

  • 1 brisket point, 5-6 pounds
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Burnt Ends Rub or your favorite bottled rub (use 1 tablespoon per pound of meat)
  • Burnt Ends Sauce or your favorite bottled sauce
  • Apple juice, beef broth, or pickle juice for spritzing

Making smoked brisket burnt ends

  • Remove brisket point from packaging and trim away any excess knobs of fat or straggling pieces of meat. Trim fat cap to 1/2″ thickness. Some stores sell the point pre-trimmed. 
  • Next, coat the meat with Worcestershire sauce. Use a small amount on the fat cap, reserving the rest for the meat side.
  • Apply the rub evenly to both sides and edges of the meat. Let the meat stand at room temperature for 30-45 minutes while you prepare your smoker.

The cooking process

  • Prepare your pellet grill or smoker for 225 degrees F. Add the wood a few minutes before adding the meat. 
  • Next, add the brisket point fat side up on the grill. Close the lid, and let it go for 2 hours. Check on the cooking temperature and adjust accordingly. If using an electric smoker, add more wood every 45 minutes. Otherwise, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your cooking equipment.
  • After 2 hours, you’ll start to notice a dark, rich bark on the surface of the meat. You might also notice some dry patches. This means it’s time to spritz the meat. 
  • Fill a clean spray bottle with room-temperature apple juice, beef broth, or pickle juice. Mist the surface of the meat, close the lid and let the brisket point cook until it reaches 165 degrees F.

Wrapping the brisket point

Wrapping brisket point
  • Once the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F, it’s time to wrap it. 
  • Tear off a large sheet of pink butcher paper. Using heat-resistant gloves, carefully remove the brisket point from the grill, and place it onto the top 1/3 of the paper. Fold the sides and carefully roll to wrap (the process is similar to how a butcher wraps meats in butcher paper). 
  • Place the wrapped meat back on the grill, seam side down.
  • Close the lid and cook until the point reaches 195 degrees F.

Back in the smoker

  • Remove the brisket from the smoker, and unwrap it over a pan to capture the drippings. Set pan aside. Place the meat on a cutting board.
  • Combine the drippings with 3/4 cup of bottled or homemade BBQ sauce.
  • Next, cut the brisket point into 1 1/2″ cubes. 
  • Gently toss the cubed meat with the BBQ sauce, and place them into a disposable aluminum pan. 
  • Place the pan back in your smoker, close the lid, and let it cook for 30-40 more minutes. Once the sauce has caramelized and the brisket burned ends are tender; they are done.
  • Remove the burnt ends from your grill, let them stand for 10 minutes, and serve.
Smoked brisket burnt ends
derrickriches.com

Storing leftovers

Store leftover brisket burnt ends in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze them for up to 1 month. Reheat in a 350-degree oven with extra sauce. Thaw frozen burnt ends in your refrigerator for 6-8 hours before reheating in the oven.

What to serve with smoked brisket burnt ends

Smoked brisket burnt ends are amazingly versatile! Serve them in sandwiches, as an appetizer, or with these easy BBQ sides.

If you like this recipe, try our Bourbon Pork Belly Burnt Ends!

Smoked brisket burnt ends in serving tray

Smoked Brisket Burnt Ends

Delicious brisket burnt ends recipe with easy to follow, step-by-step instructions.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: brisket burnt ends, burnt ends, smoked brisket burnt ends
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 332kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Remove brisket point from packaging and trim away any excess knobs of fat or straggling pieces of meat. Trim fat cap to 1/2″ thickness. Some stores sell the point pre-trimmed.
    Brisket point on cutting board
  • Next, coat the meat with Worcestershire sauce. Use a small amount on the fat cap, reserving the rest for the meat side.
    Applying binder to meat
  • Apply the rub evenly to both sides and edges of the meat. Let the meat stand at room temperature for 30-45 minutes while you prepare your smoker.
    Seasoning brisket point
  • Prepare your pellet grill or smoker for 225 degrees F. Add the wood a few minutes before adding the meat.
  • Next, add the brisket point fat side up on the grill. Close the lid, and let it go for 2 hours. Check on the cooking temperature and adjust accordingly. If using an electric smoker, add more wood every 45 minutes. Otherwise, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your cooking equipment.
    brisket burnt ends-on the grill
  • After 2 hours, you’ll start to notice a dark, rich bark on the surface of the meat. You might also notice some dry patches. This means it’s time to spritz the meat.
    Bark development on brisket point
  • Fill a clean spray bottle with room-temperature apple juice, beef broth, or pickle juice. Mist the surface of the meat, close the lid, and let the brisket point cook until it reaches 165 degrees F.
  • Once the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F, it’s time to wrap it.
  • Tear off a large sheet of pink butcher paper. Using heat-resistant gloves, carefully remove the brisket point from the grill, and place it onto the top 1/3 of the paper. Fold the sides and carefully roll to wrap (the process is similar to how a butcher wraps meats in butcher paper).
    Wrapping brisket point
  • Place the wrapped meat back on the grill, seam side down.
  • Close the lid and cook until the point reaches 195 degrees F.
  • Remove the brisket from the smoker, and unwrap it over a pan to capture the juices. Set the meat on a cutting board.
    cubed brisket for burnt ends
  • Combine the juice with 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce.
  • Next, cut the brisket point into 1 1/2″ cubes.
  • Gently toss the cubed meat with the BBQ sauce, and place them into a disposable aluminum pan.
    Brisket burnt end on the smoker
  • Place the pan back in your smoker, close the lid, and let it cook for 30-40 more minutes. Once the sauce has caramelized and the brisket burned ends are tender; they are done.
  • Remove the burnt ends from your grill, let them stand for 10 minutes, and serve.
    Brisket burnt ends recipe
  • Store leftover brisket burnt ends in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze them for up to 1 month. Reheat in a 350-degree oven with extra sauce. Thaw frozen burnt ends in your refrigerator for 6-8 hours before reheating in the oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 409mg | Potassium: 700mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 112IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 5mg
Derrick Riches

I began writing about Barbecue & Grilling in 1997 with one mission, to help the backyard chef have the best experience possible.

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