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Smoked brisket burnt ends are made from the point end of the brisket, not the flat. In this recipe, I'll show you how to transform the point of the brisket into bite-sized morsels of goodness that melt in your mouth!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Dry Brine Time: 10 hours
- Cook Time: 10 hours
- Smoker Temp: 250°F (121°C)
- Meat Finish Temp: 200°F (93°C)+
- Recommended Wood: Mesquite
What You'll Need
- Full Packer Brisket (mine was 15 lbs)
- Coarse kosher salt
- Jeff's Texas style rub (Purchase formulas | Purchase bottled product)
What exactly are smoked brisket burnt ends?
“Original” burnt ends were made from the larger, fattier end of the smoked brisket. This end has a LOT of fat that takes much longer to break down.
The best way to do this is to cut that fatty end up into bite-sized cubes and let them cook for a longer time than the rest of the brisket in order to break down that fat and turn them into beautiful, delicious morsels of goodness that melt in your mouth.
In my opinion, “burnt ends” has morphed into more of a process or method than a single thing but everyone does not agree with me and that's perfectly okay.
I make burnt ends from pork butt, pork belly, chuck roast and even hot dogs. They are not the same as the original smoked brisket burnt ends but the same method turns out something very tasty and should not be ignored.
I always get “corrective” emails from readers when I send out a recipe for burnt ends made from anything other than brisket and that's fine. I understand where they are coming from but it's okay to color outside of the lines with food.
This recipe is all about the real deal smoked brisket burnt ends though so let's get started!
How to Make Smoked Brisket Burnt Ends
Step 1: Separate the Point from the Flat
By cooking the point and flat separately, you can give each part the special attention that they deserve.
There is a fatty layer that separates the two and I guide my extra long knife right between the two. This does not have to be perfect.
I won't go into great detail with this here since I plan to create a separate guide for this soon.
You can also purchase just the point end of the brisket from wherever you purchase meat if you prefer.
Step 2: Trim the Fat
I usually leave about ¼ inch of fat on the top side of the brisket but this brisket was a prime grade brisket and had plenty of marbling within the meat. I removed most of the fat cap to allow the seasoning more access to the meat.
I removed much of the exterior fat from the point before proceeding.
Step 3: Salt and Rub
Note: I recommend placing the point down in a foil pan during the cooking process. This catches the rendered fat, makes it easy to transport the meat to and from the kitchen and helps to keep the meat from drying out while it smokes.
It is difficult to dry brine really fatty meat since salt does not draw moisture from or absorb into fat the same way it does meat.
Having said that, I sprinkled coarse kosher salt on the meaty areas of the brisket.
Professionals recommend ½ teaspoon per pound when adding coarse kosher salt to meat as a dry brine. I tend to add a little more than this and you can see in the pictures below what the coverage looks like.
I usually just go by visual coverage rather than measuring.
After the salt is right, I let it sit for about 20 minutes to start pulling moisture to the surface.
With something as large as a brisket, I recommend salting and seasoning one side then placing it into the fridge for 4 hours. The flipping the meat over and salting/seasoning the other side and leaving it for another 4 hours.
You can also do both sides back to back but some of the salt/seasoning will fall off this way. You can use a little binder such as yellow mustard before adding salt and Texas style rub to help with this if you prefer.
I highly recommend letting the brisket sit in the fridge overnight once the salt/seasoning is applied.
After the fridge time:
Step 4: Setup the Smoker
Set up your smoker for cooking at 250°F (121°C) using indirect heat.
If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
I love mesquite wood for smoke on brisket but I also regularly use oak, cherry, and any number of other types of wood with great results. Use the smoking wood that you have available.
Once the smoker is ready, it's time to cook!
The smoker above is the new Camp Chef Woodwind Pro in the 24-inch version. What makes it so great? It has a drawer in the very front that sits right above the burn pot AND in that drawer, you can place chunks of wood, wood chips, etc. for that wood flavor you can only get when burning real wood over a fire.
Be watching for my review of this smoker.. SOON! (and in case you're wondering, like most of the other Camp Chef products, I really like this one and it does exactly what it was designed to do)
Step 5: Smoke Time
I cooked this brisket at 250°F (121°C) but you can adjust this temperature if you prefer.
At this temperature, it took my brisket about 8 hours to go from fridge temperature to 200°F (93°C) and in some locations on the point, it read as high as 207°F (97°C).
During this time, I left it alone, did not wrap it and made sure it got plenty of smoke for about 4 hours.
Here's the brisket point at 3 hours in.. (starting to look real good!):
Once the point was super tender and a probe inserted into the meat gave no resistance, I knew it was time to start the process of turning this lump of meat into what I really wanted, smoked brisket burnt ends!
Bring the brisket point into the kitchen, remove the meat to a cutting board and pour any rendered brisket fat into a jar (you may want to use it later).
Step 6: Cube 'em Up
This part is easy, just slice the point into pieces that are about ¾ inch wide then cut the pieces into segments that are no wider than about ¾ inch at any point.
Obviously you can make them larger or smaller if you like but, in my opinion, this is a perfect bite.
Place the cubes back into the pan the brisket point came out of.
We often add barbecue sauce and even more rub to the burnt ends to make them sticky and more flavorful with more bark but I decided to keep these simple.
I wanted these to be all about the beef with no extra flavor from my rub or barbecue sauce.
Step 7: The Final Cook
Place the pan of cubed brisket point back into the smoker at 250°F (121°C) and let them cook for about 2 more hours, stirring them every 20 minutes or just when you feel like it.
2 hours later:
Stirring them around, helps them to cook evenly and gives you more bark on more edges.
Step 8: Serve 'em Up
Everyone loves smoked brisket burnt ends.. well, almost everyone and there's no wrong way to serve them or eat them.
You can serve these as an entree or an appetizer. I had some recently with fried eggs for breakfast!
Smoked Brisket Burnt Ends
- Full Packer Brisket (mine was 15 lbs)
- Coarse kosher salt
- Jeff's Texas style rub
- Place brisket point down into a foil pan
- Apply a light coat of coarse kosher salt to all sides of the brisket point. See image on main page for visual on salt coverage.
- Apply medium coat of Jeff's Texas style rub to all sides of brisket point.
- Place pan with meat into fridge overnight.
- Set up smoker for cooking at 250°F (121°C) using indirect heat. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
- Once smoker is ready, place pan of meat onto smoker grate and let it cook until it reaches ~200°F (93°C) or until a probe inserted in the meat shows no resistance.
- When the brisket point is finished cooking, bring it into the kitchen. Remove the meat to a cutting board and drain the rendered fat that is in the pan into a jar.
- Cut the point up into cubes that are about ¾ inch and place them back into the pan.
- Cook the smoked brisket burnt ends for about 2 hours stirring every 20 minutes.
- Serve right away as an entree or an appetizer.