Tasty Brisket Burnt Ends Recipe


Barbequing is one of those culinary categories that can easily turn from a casual night of flipping burgers to a near-artistic pursuit of the tastiest, most fall-off-the-bone cut of meat you’ve ever tried.

Probably the peak of barbecue feats is brisket burnt ends. With burnt ends, we take a partially-cooked brisket, cut it into pieces, and slow-smoke it until we are left with nothing but delightfully tender and caramelized chunks of meat. The whole process takes around 12 hours, but anyone who’s tried some fantastic burnt ends knows the value in the wait time.

Thus, a good burnt-end recipe always begins with three basic requirements: lots of patience, quality meat, and the right seasoning to go along with it. If you can learn to master these three aspects of slow smoking, you’ll be on your way to becoming a certified burnt ends BBQ expert.

Of course, there are always the fine details that go along with learning how to slow-smoke burnt ends properly, so that’s what we’ll be showing you today. Below is a full smoked burnt ends recipe guide on prepping and smoking some incredibly unforgettable brisket burnt ends.

Burnt Ends: Origins

The origins of burnt ends have a lot in common with the creation of tortilla chips, believe it or not. Both initially started as a means of utilizing leftover food in restaurants to sell back to customers, which became its own wildly successful form of food soon afterward.

With tortilla chips, they started by overcooking misshaped tortillas into the snack we know and love today. With burnt ends, they initially started as a Friday special at barbecue joints, after restaurants collected the crisp ends of sliced briskets during the week, sauced them, and served them over bread or cornbread.

Made with a pointed (or deckle) slice of the brisket, burned-ends became a staple in Kansas City during the 1970s. From here, they became their delicacy even in comparison to regularly smoked brisket all over the southern part of the US.

burnt ends

Burnt Ends: Preparation Methods

Smoked brisket burnt ends are made by slowly smoking the tip of the brisket, cutting into cubes, then braising it in barbecue sauce. There are several different ways to create burnt ends, but the preferred method is to cook a whole brisket whole, then cut up the brisket point toward the end of cooking, creating BBQ brisket burnt ends.

By doing this, we are almost “double-burning” our burnt ends. This gives it an extra smoky flavor and ensures all sides of the burnt ends are sufficiently crispy and caramelized.

Trimming the Brisket

The easiest way to trim your brisket is by freezing it beforehand, which makes it much easier to get exact cuts off the meat compared to a fresh brisket.

When choosing what brisket to buy, you will want to check to see how much fat or marbles are present. You can either rub your brisket dry on its own, cook it along with your points, or store it for another time. You will want to slice your entire brisket into two pieces, down the layer of fat separating the flat from the point, to split it.

The other side of the brisket will have some fat on top of the exposed meat. Trim off these bits of fat as best you can. Because the fat is so concentrated at this point of the brisket, it takes longer for the brisket to render out and tenderize.

How to Cook Brisket Burnt Ends

Now that we’ve prepped the brisket, grabbed all of our seasonings, and done all the trimming we can, it is now time to begin slow-smoking.

burnt ends

Tasty Brisket Burnt Ends Recipe

Smoked brisket burnt ends are made by slowly smoking the tip of the brisket, cutting into cubes, then braising it in barbecue sauce. There are several different ways to create burnt ends, but the preferred method is to cook a whole brisket whole, then cut up the brisket point toward the end of cooking, creating BBQ brisket burnt ends.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 30 mins
Course BBQ, Beef, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 118 kcal


  • 5 pounds brisket point
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup coarse black pepper
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • ½ cup beef stock
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is always a good choice)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Spritzer bottle (optional)



  • As I said earlier, low and slow cooking is the only way to make burnt ends. Set your smoker to around 225 degrees, and wait until it fully reaches that temperature.
  • Probably the best wood (or wood pellets) you can use for this is hickory, although cherry, mesquite, and red oak are another top pick for slow-smoking brisket burnt ends.


  • Throw your five-pound brisket in an aluminum cooking tin. Season with kosher salt, black pepper, and granulated garlic. It is best to pre-season your brisket before throwing it on the smoker, preferably a day or two beforehand, to let all the spices seep into the meat real good.


  • Once your smoker reaches 225 °F, it is time to throw in the brisket. You won’t need to touch it until around two hours later when we spritz it with our apple cider/vinegar mixture.
  • Once we begin spritzing, check it every 45 minutes or so and continue spritzing as needed if the brisket looks dry.


  • Continue spritzing until the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F, to which we’ll remove the brisket and wrap it in foil or pink butcher paper. This is where we’ll also add the beef broth for extra moisture.
  • After it’s wrapped in foil and the beef broth is added, we’ll throw it back in the smoker until it reaches an internal temperature of 195 °F.


  • Once it reaches that temperature, we’ll take it off the smoker again and begin cubing the brisket to prepare the burnt ends for cooking. Cut it into portions of around one inch per cube. Then, we’ll place the cubed meat back in the aluminum tin and cover it in brown sugar and BBQ sauce.
  • Throw it back in the smoker for around two more hours or until they are sufficiently caramelized and falls off the bone (this is where some guesswork gets involved, times can vary around this stage).


  • Once the burnt ends are done, it’s time to serve it. For an authentic experience, serve it with a slice of white bread. Despite this, there are innumerable ways to eat burnt ends, like in nachos, as a sandwich between a brioche bun, or simply by itself. It’s up to you; either way, it’ll be delicious!

How Long to Smoke Burnt Ends

Typically, it will take around ten to 12 hours to smoke burnt ends, although this can vary depending on the size of your brisket and cooking methods.

This timeframe is divided into around six to eight hours for the initial smoke, then around three hours wrapped in tin foil, and then around two more hours to complete the burnt ends.

burnt ends

Wrapping Up

If you didn’t get burnt ends right the first time, don’t give up just yet. Getting these steps right can be quite a process, not to mention the patience required to fully smoke burnt ends. However, once the recipe is down, you’ll be a pit boss for brisket burnt ends.

Hopefully, this laid it out for you relatively simple, and you can now enjoy some fantastic burnt ends. If you’re preparing this recipe for the holiday season, pair it with your favorite jingle juice recipe for the ultimate festive feast!

Join the Conversation

  1. We thought this was excellent! Thanks for posting.

  2. This was so good I want to rate it twice! Great combination of flavors!! Thanks for posting! I will be making this again for sure!

  3. Colleen.Ludgate says:

    I’ve made this a few times.

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