Iva Carter
Published by Iva Carter
Last Updated On: April 10, 2023

As a certified pitmaster with over a decade of experience in the art of smoking meat, I can confidently say that barbecue brisket burnt ends are one of the most mouthwatering dishes you can make on the grill.

I've spent countless hours perfecting my burnt ends recipe to achieve the perfect balance of tender, juicy meat and caramelized, smoky bark.

Today, I will share my secrets about making incredible barbecue brisket burnt ends that will make your taste buds sing.

BBQ Brisket Burnt Ends Recipe

A close up shot of BBQ brisket burnt ends on a white plate

Born at Arthur Bryant's Barbeque in the 1970s, BBQ brisket burnt ends refer to the delectable, crispy cubes of meat that are trimmed from the point cut of a smoked brisket [1].

As the brisket slowly cooks in the smoker, this section develops a tantalizingly smoky bark and a delightful crunch.

Skilled pitmasters then carefully carve off these delicious ends, toss them in their favorite BBQ sauce, and return them to the smoker to further caramelize and intensify their mouthwatering flavor.

Here is my favorite recipe for this classic BBQ dish.

1. Recipe Overview

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8-10 hours
  • Total Time: 8-10 hours and 15 minutes
  • Number of Servings: 6-8

2. Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar mixture


  • 4-5 lbs. full packer brisket, separate the point from the flat, trimmed of excess fat
  • Butcher paper or aluminum foil
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ rub
  • 1 cup beef stock

3. Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine salt and all the other rub ingredients and mix well until fully incorporated.
  2. Rub the mixture all over the trimmed brisket point, making sure to coat all sides evenly.
  3. Cover the brisket point with plastic wrap and let the brisket rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Rest overnight for best results.
  4. Remove the brisket point from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour before smoking or grilling.
  5. Preheat the smoker or grill to 225 degrees F.
  6. Place the brisket point on the smoker or grill and cook for 6-8 hours, or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F. Keep an eye on it so the meat doesn't overcook and become dry.
  7. Remove the smoked brisket point from the smoker or grill and cut it into 1-2 inch cubes with a sharp knife on a large, quality cutting board for meat.
  8. Take the brisket cubes and wrap tightly in peach butcher paper or a disposable aluminum foil pan and pour in the beef stock.
  9. Cover the aluminum pan with foil and return it to the smoker or grill. Cook for an additional 2-3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 195 degrees F and the meat is tender [2].
  10. While the brisket is cooking, combine all the BBQ sauce ingredients in a small saucepan.
  11. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  12. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  13. Remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce cool for a few minutes.
  14. Taste the sauce and add salt to taste.
  15. Once the brisket is done, remove the aluminum foil and add sauce over the burnt ends. Gently fold it together until all the cubes are coated in extra BBQ sauce.
  16. Return the aluminum pan to the smoker or grill and finish cooking for an additional 15-30 minutes or until all the liquid has reduced in the uncovered pan and the sauce has caramelized.
  17. Serve hot.

4. Recipe Notes

  • Smoke the burnt ends with hickory, mesquite, or oak wood chips. You can use liquid smoke to make brisket burnt ends if you don’t have a smoker. 
  • For a sweeter flavor than traditional burnt ends, you can increase the brown sugar, honey, or molasses.
  • You can also use a slow cooker for cooking the brisket, but be sure to brown the meat in a pan before adding it to the slow cooker.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or frozen for up to 2-3 months.
  • For best results, use a barbecue sauce with a rich flavor profile—the sweetness should complement but not overpower the normal brisket smokiness. 
  • The whole brisket is made of two muscles - the brisket flat and the point. If you have an entire brisket because you can’t buy just the point at your local grocery store, you can separate the point from the flat of the full brisket. Then hold onto the flat with its excess fat for later.
  • Smoking brisket takes a long time, so be patient and ensure the internal temperature reaches the recommended level in order to prevent food-related illness. A digital meat thermometer makes it simple to figure out when the brisket reaches the right temperature.

5. Nutrition

  • Calories: 830 calories
  • Total Carbs: 54 grams
  • Protein: 68 grams
  • Fat: 37 grams
  • Fiber: 0.5 grams
  • Net Carbs: 53.5 grams

"Local favorite Arthur Bryant's made a Zagat list of the nation's best barbecue joints. The report praised 81-year-old Arthur Bryant's tomato-molasses sauce and its burnt ends..."
- The Kansas City Business Journal

2 Alternative Ways To Cook BBQ Burnt Ends

BBQ burnt ends on an aluminum pan that is cooked in an oven

Not everyone has access to a smoker or grill, but there are other ways to get BBQ burnt ends. For example, you can use an oven or stovetop method.

1. Oven

Preheat your oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the cubed brisket on the sheet and pour the sauce over it. Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping the cubes halfway through.

2. Stovetop

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Add the cubed brisket and sear on all sides until lightly browned.

Pour in the BBQ sauce, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sauce thickens and the cubes become tender.

What to Serve With BBQ Brisket Burnt Ends?

You can serve BBQ brisket burnt ends with good old-fashioned BBQ sides for a complete meal.

Other popular options include baked beans, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, cheesy corn, mashed potatoes, and potato salad.

Of course, you can round out the nutritional content by serving it with a green salad or roasted vegetables.

And don't forget the ice-cold beer or lemonade for an unforgettable summer meal.

What to Look for When Buying

A whole-packer brisket on a wooden board

When selecting the smoked brisket for burnt ends, look for a whole-packer brisket, which includes both the brisket flat and the point.

You'll want a brisket with a good fat cap layer – this helps protect the interior while cooking, resulting in super juicy yet tender burnt ends.

The fat layer should be at least 1/4 inch thick, and hard fat should be trimmed away. The meat should be well-marbled and have a good amount of intramuscular fat.

You'll also want one that is prime grade – this will ensure maximum flavor when smoking.


Can I Freeze Burnt Ends?

Yes, you can freeze burnt ends. Allow the crispy ends to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container or freezer bag. They will keep for 3-4 months in the freezer.

Are Brisket Burnt Ends Fatty?

Yes, brisket burnt ends are fatty because over half of their weight is fat.

How Do I Store Burnt Ends?

You can store burnt ends by placing them in a lidded container or zip-top bag and storing them in the refrigerator for a maximum of three days. When ready to enjoy, wrap the burnt ends in foil and reheat them in a preheated oven set to 350°F for about 10 minutes or until heated through.

Why Are Brisket Burnt Ends So Great?

Burnt ends are tiny little flavor bombs made up of beef brisket plus some extra flavorful fat folded into each bite, making them almost like "meat candy."

When shopping for the best brisket, I trust the people at ButcherBox to ship me 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef brisket every month.

The company is dedicated to sustainable practices and gets its meat from local farmers. Their meat is hormone and antibiotic-free, which is all the more reason why so many people trust this company.


  1. https://www.thekitchn.com/burnt-ends-history-23126600
  2. https://www.kingsford.com/recipes/series/perfect-beef/how-to-smoke-a-brisket
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