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Test Kitchen Approved

Burnt Ends

Recipe By Mike Johnston, Savory Spice founder


12 to 15 servings

Prep Time

10 Minutes

Cooking Time

18 Hours

Recipe By Mike Johnston, Savory Spice founder

Traditionally, the “burnt ends” of a brisket were cut off each end because they weren't considered suitable to serve as brisket. Instead, they were given out as samples while people were waiting in line to order at BBQ joints. These flavorful, chewy, tender, bark-encrusted pieces ended up being desirable and eventually made it onto barbecue menus. To yield a lot of burnt ends, simply trim the outer 1 inch or so of the entire brisket and cut it into 1-inch cubes.

Serving Suggestions

For burnt ends, trim the outer 1 inch or so of the brisket (to get bark and meat) and cut into 1-inch cubes. Serve with barbecue sauce and sides. Slice or shred remaining brisket and serve on a barbecue plate or as sandwiches.

Recipe Notes

*On buying brisket: Ask a local butcher for a “packer cut” brisket which is a full brisket with both a lean and a fatty end. A grocery store brisket is typically in the 5 to 7 lb. range and is likely just the lean half, not the full brisket. You want "choice" beef or better with about a 1/4-inch fat cap; if it has more fat, trim it down to 1/4 inch.

*Savory's 'Cue Glue helps the seasoning stick to your protein and creates a tender yet chewy bark.

This recipe requires a smoker. You’ll also need a thermometer to measure both the internal temperature of the smoker and the internal temperature of the meat. We use a Maverick dual wireless thermometer.


Savory Spice ingredients in this recipe

  • 'Cue Glue

    'Cue Glue is a meat binder that's exclusive to Savory Spice. This "BBQ glue" helps stick your spices & seasonings to your grilled meats. As a b...

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  • Salt & Pepper Tableside Seasoning

    Salt & Pepper Tableside Seasoning may seem like an obvious, simple one to always have on hand – but this salt and pepper mix is a Savory Spice ...

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  • Extra Coarse Black Malabar Pepper

    Malabar black peppercorns are named for the region from which they are harvested, the Malabar Coast of India. These peppercorns have a bold and wel...

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  • Native Texan BBQ Rub

    After researching Texas barbecue rubs, we realized that there are many varieties, so we challenged our customers to come up with a rub to represent...

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  • TSM Kansas City BBQ Rub

    Using this sweet and smoky rub, Team Sweet Mama won the pork category at the Frisco, Colorado BBQ competition and placed third in the brisket categ...

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  • Southern Gold Barbecue Sauce

    This sauce marries the sweetness of tomato with the tanginess of mustard. We upped the mustard level typically found in a Texas version, and reduce...

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  • Midwestern Sweet Barbecue Sauce

    This Midwestern Sweet BBQ Sauce was inspired by visits to legendary barbecue joints in Chicago, Memphis, St. Louis, and Kansas City. These regions ...

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  • Black Dust Coffee & Spice Barbecue Sauce

    This sauce is a thick, ketchup-based sauce flavored with a hint of hickory smokiness and the coffee and pepper notes of our signature Black Dust Co...

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About 45 to 60 min. before you’re ready to prep the brisket, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.

Meanwhile, prepare smoker: Clean the grates, fill an aluminum pan with water to set under the brisket, and start the fire with wood of choice. You want to get the smoker temperature to between 225 and 300 degrees.

While smoker heats, prep brisket: Use a brush to slather entire brisket with ‘Cue Glue. Season all sides generously with Salt & Pepper Tableside. Mix the extra coarse pepper and BBQ rub of choice together then use the mix to coat all sides of the brisket with seasoning. (The coarse black pepper is an homage to Texas BBQ and it adds texture to the bark.)

Set brisket on smoker: Place the brisket fat cap side up with the thicker side toward outer walls of the smoker where the heat will be higher. You’ll want to have a thermometer that measures both the smoker temperature and the internal temperature of the meat.

Monitor temperature: Check the heat about every 30 minutes or so to ensure smoker stays between 225 and 300 degrees; adjust heat as necessary. Check the water pan once or twice and refill if necessary. It's hard to say how long the smoking will take, but plan for at least 12 hours and up to 18. It’ll go faster if you stay in the 300 range. Keep checking the smoker temp and the internal temp of the brisket as you go. You want the internal temperature of the brisket to reach between 195 and 205 degrees.

Wrap brisket in butcher paper and let it rest: Once brisket reaches temp, remove it from the smoker and wrap it in butcher paper. Let it rest in a cooler with the lid propped open or in a cold oven with the door shut for at least 2 hours or up to 5 hours. It’s amazing how hot it remains and how juicy and tender it becomes when you have the patience to let it rest.