6 Tips for the Best Burnt Ends Brisket

If you enjoy the intense, smoky flavor of foods that came off of your pellet grill, you most likely LOVE Burnt Ends Brisket.  This “meat candy” masterpiece hails from the pit masters of Kansas City, Missouri.  Even you Northerners out there want to be able to re-create this crowd-pleasing traditional KC BBQ dish! If you love the sweet, smoky, caramelized flavor combination of BBQ, these tips guarantee you will become a master of pellet grilling this barbecue delicacy.

Don’t try to get Fancy

This is one of the times you don’t have to pick the most perfectly shaped or most expensive cuts of meat! Burnt Ends brisket came about just like it sounds – the point was to use up the dry and often overcooked burnt ends of the Point end of the brisket.  The beauty of this dish is that you’re creating something amazing out of pieces that may otherwise be discarded.

Separate the Point from the Flat

A whole beef brisket is made up of two parts – the flat, and the point.  The flat is the main part of the cut which you will slice evenly for brisket, while the point is the irregularly shaped fattier half of the brisket.  You want to cut the point from the flat prior to throwing it on your pellet grill.

The point needs to have plenty of time to render all of the fat – that’s where the flavor is, and that’s in part what makes the burnt ends melt in your mouth!   Feel free to smoke your brisket right alongside your point, but keep them separate! By separating the point from the flat BEFORE smoking, you increase the surface area that will be exposed, creating the most intense flavor.

Simple Can be Better

Mix up your favorite rub and slather it on your brisket.  There’s lots of surface area that will receive the rub, so make sure the flavor of your rub is one you really enjoy!  Sometimes simple is best, with just garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Just realize going in that the point offers up more surface area than usual, so don’t overdo it on spicing up your rub.

Choose the Right Pellets

The pellets may be the most important layer of flavor here, as the burnt ends are known for having a distinctive, strong BBQ flavor! The flavor is in the smoke, and traditionally the smokier the Burnt Ends, the better.  Use a high quality 100% hardwood pellet, and this is the time to use 100% Hickory for that traditional intense flavor.  If you want to tone it down a notch, use a lighter blend like Perfect Mix.  Again, with all that surface area, you’re going to end up with a ton of smoke flavor – so make sure it’s a quality pellet like Cookinpellets!

Make your Sauce the Day Ahead

When you make Burnt Ends, you return the point end pieces BACK TO the smoker for a final quick smoke, in a sauce you love.  By making the sauce a day ahead of time, the flavors have the opportunity to meld together. Have a heavy hand with the sugar, molasses,  or Coke in your sauce recipe for this dish.  However you like to sweeten your sauce, this is the time to be lay on the sweetness, even if sweet isn’t typically your thing. The resulting Burnt Ends are supposed to be sticky, almost chewy, flavor explosions!  When you cube up your point, smother the ends in sauce – make sure they are COMPLETELY covered.

Bring your Patience

The final step here is giving the Burnt Ends a final opportunity to render all that fat, while at the same time caramelizing the sauce.  Be prepared to wait for another 1-2 hours for the sauce to reduce significantly, and caramelize on those pieces of meat candy.  This is the final layer of intense flavor, and it’s worth waiting for!

If you’re making Burnt Ends as a main course or in a sandwich, be sure you save some for yourself, because these go fast! A great way to make the most of this BBQ delicacy is to essentially use it as a seasoning to spread out the flavor.  Small pieces of Burnt Ends in Baked Beans adds a whole new element to your beans! You could also add pieces to a dip, or on crackers for an appetizer.  Enjoy!


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