When I think of BBQ, my brain immediately flashes to images of juicy, flavorful, fall-apart-in-your-hand brisket and that is exactly what these brisket burnt ends deliver! These things are packed with an intense smoke flavor after cooking over wood for 15 hours. Then they 're caramelized in a tangy, sweet Kansas City-style barbecue sauce. Bring these to your next cookout or BBQ gathering and I guarantee they will be the biggest hit!
What Are Burnt Ends?
They're like meat candy. They are so delicious that calling them "burnt ends" seems like an insult! In fact, they are not burnt at all.
Traditional burnt ends are made from the point end of the brisket, which is the thicker portion. When you buy a packer brisket from the store, it consists of the flat and the point. These two portions are separated by a layer of fat that runs through the middle.
After the brisket point is smoked, it is cut into small cubes and cooked in a thick barbecue sauce with a sprinkling of brown sugar. The sugars caramelize and give the smoked brisket burnt ends a delicious, thick coating.
How to Break Down A Packer Brisket
Beef Brisket is a ginormous cut of meat, so I always like to break my full packer brisket down into two pieces to make a savory smoked brisket from the flat and some sweet n' tangy burnt ends from the point.
- Remove the fat layer between the thicker point and the thinner flat.
- Use a knife and run it through the fat layer, slowly separating the point from the flat.
- Trim off all of the hard fat from the brisket.
- Trim the softer fat cap down to about ¼".
Making The Rub
Burnt ends are best with a bit of sweetness but, they need to have a little bit of heat as well. This barbecue spice blend is a perfect combination of spices that takes these smoked burnt ends to the next level!
Here's the ingredients you'll need:
- Brown sugar
- Smoked paprika
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Black pepper
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
Kansas City-Style BBQ Sauce
I like my burnt ends sweet, and wow these did not disappoint! This recipe uses a Kansas City-style BBQ sauce to bring the sweet, but also a bit of heat. The sauce soaks into the brisket meat and caramelizes on the edges of the brisket making for a sticky, delicious bite of meat candy that will have you licking your fingers clean!
The perfect BBQ sauce will have some acidity, some sweetness, a bit of spice, and a smooth texture. You can play around with the recipe and add some additional ingredients to suit your taste buds, but here's what I recommend using.
How To Smoke Brisket Burnt Ends
Low and slow!
For the perfect BBQ brisket, you have to be patient.
If you want a tender smoked beef brisket that falls apart and gushes with flavorful juices, then you will need to be prepared for a lengthy cook. So grab a beer (or two!) and get to smoking!
I like to set my smoker to 225°F and let it cook until it reaches an internal temp of about 195°F.
- Preheat the smoker to 225°F.
- Trim the brisket.
- Rub the brisket with spices.
- Place the brisket on the smoker, fat side up.
- Cook until the brisket reaches the stall, about 8 hours.
- Wrap the brisket in butcher paper and smoke for another 4-6 hours.
- Remove the brisket and slice into cubes and place into a dish.
- Coat with sauce and sugar and cook until the sauce caramelizes.
What Is The Stall?
The dreaded stall! It's talked about here but it's important to know that the stall is a very real thing.
Everybody who has barbecued a large piece of meat has experienced the stall, that point where the internal temperature just stagnates.
Maybe you thought something was wrong,
Perhaps you adjusted your fire or increased the temperature of the grill,
Some scream in agony... these are all things I have done in the past. But there is no escaping the stall.
The stall occurs due to evaporative cooling. As the meat increases in temperature, the moisture in the meat will begin to evaporate and actually cool the meat during the cook. The cooling will begin to counteract the heat in the grill and cause the internal temperature of the meat to plateau.
This plateau can last for several hours until enough moisture has been released from the meat so that the cooling effect dissipates. You will find that the stall occurs around 150°F to 170°F. Just be patient and allow the meat to work its magic!
How To Combat The Stall
There are some tricks to help make the stall a bit less agonizing, however, if your smoking low and slow there is not a quick workaround.
Use The Texas Crutch
As soon as your brisket reaches the stall, you can wrap the brisket tightly in aluminum foil. This will help trap the moisture as it evaporates and lessen the cooling effect. The moisture will condense on the foil and stay trapped, allowing you to shave a significant amount of time during the stall.
Now for the bad news. Aluminum foil doesn't allow for the smoke to penetrate, so your brisket will not be able to soak up any more smoke flavor. Also, the condensing moisture will make the bark on your brisket soggy. Typically you will want to have a nice firm, crunchy crust develop on your brisket, and wrapping in foil will prevent this to some degree.
Wrap In Parchment Paper
Wrapping the brisket in parchment paper is my favorite method for beating the stall. Parchment paper breathes, which means the smoke will still add flavor to the meat. It also will trap in most of the moisture, although it isn't as tight of a seal so don't expect the stall to disappear!
Either method is completely valid and if you hate the idea of wrapping your brisket, then don't!
Just trust the process and ride the stall out. In the end, you will still have a delicious piece of meat if you cook it low and slow!
Expert Smoking Tips
- Trimming a brisket isn't difficult, just remove the fat layer between the thicker point and the thinner flat.
- By adding the rub and let it sit overnight covered in the refrigerator helps intensify the flavor of the meat.
- Smoke with the fat side up.
What Else Is Cooking Over Here?
One of the best sides in barbecue ever invented on earth is macaroni and cheese! This smoked jalapeño popper mac and cheese is crazy creamy and has over 3 pounds of cheese packed into it! It also spent some time on the smoker so it soaked up some amazing flavors.
There is something about a creamy macaroni and cheese that hits the spot and calls my name for multiple servings, and I am not ashamed to let you know that I always end up eating several portions...
Time to be healthy? Well here are some delicious air fryer brussels sprouts with bacon! Soggy Brussels sprouts suck so over here we are making them crispy in the air fryer. Of course, there is bacon in these as well, maybe you are noticing a theme here today.
These things are delicious!
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Smoked Brisket Burnt Ends
- 1 6-8 pound brisket point
Barbecue Spice Rub
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- Preheat your smoker to 225°F using your favorite wood. I use a competition blend by Pit Boss.
- Separate the point from the flat by running your knife between the two muscles.
- Trim any hard fat and tough pieces from the brisket and remove any silver skin.
- Trim the soft fat, called the fat cap, down to about ¼" thick.
- Put the barbecue spice blend rub on the brisket and coat it entirely all the around.
- Place the brisket on the smoker and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. This should take about 6-10 hours.
- Optional: spritz with about 1 cup of apple cider vinegar or apple juice every hour.
- When the internal temperature reaches 165°F, wrap tightly in peach butcher paper and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 195°F. This will take another 2-3 hours.
- Remove the brisket and unwrap the butcher paper, being sure to catch the juices into an aluminum baking pan. Cut the brisket into 1" cubes.
- Place the cubed brisket into the aluminum pan and toss it with the Kansas City-style BBQ sauce. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Be sure to work quickly to prevent the brisket from cooling too much.
- Set the uncovered pan on the smoker at 225°F for another 1-2 hours or until the juices are caramelized.
- Remove from the smoker and enjoy, cheers!
- Trimming a brisket isn't difficult, just remove the fat layer between the thicker point and the thinner flat and remove any hard pieces of fat.
- Adding the rub and letting it sit overnight covered in the refrigerator will help to intensify the flavor of the meat.
- Smoke with the fat side up.
- To beat the stall, either wrap the brisket in aluminum foil, parchment paper, or you can just ride out the stall.