Brisket Burnt Ends

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A Kansas City specialty, the burnt ends of a barbecued brisket are fit for a royal feast. Barbecue novices may shy away from these extra-crusty, extra-chewy little nuggets, but aficionados clamor for them. Any pit-smoked brisket has plenty of blackened surface to cut into ends, but we prefer to use the fatty top portion, sliced off in one piece and cooked again. If you don’t want to take the time for this on the same day you barbecue initially, freeze the meat and put it back on the pit when you fire up again.


1 fully smoked fatty top section of a brisket and your favorite BBQ sauce (we recommend a good Stubbs variety or make your own)


You should seldom trim the fat from meat before you barbecue it. The fat is a natural basting agent that helps to keep the meat moist and flavorful, particularly when it’s on the top side of the cut while it’s cooking. Much of the fat melts away in your smoker—just check the water pan or reservoir—and the rest can be trimmed before serving.

Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 200°F to 220°F.

Transfer the prior cooked brisket section to the smoker and cook it for 3 to 4 hours, depending on its size. Let the brisket sit at room temperature for 10 minutes and then slice or shred it. After you break through the coal-like crust, the meat will pull apart into succulent shreds with chewy, deep-flavored ends. Savor at once, with Struttin’ Sauce, Bar-BQ Ranch Sauce, or other tomato-based barbecue sauce on the side, if you wish.

Yield: 4-6 people

Time: 3-4 hours

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