What to Serve with Burnt Ends?

What Are Burnt Ends? How to Make Burnt Ends?

Burnt ends, a beloved barbecue delicacy, have gained immense popularity for their smoky, tender, and flavorful qualities. These delectable meat morsels have become a barbecue staple. In the blog below, we'll delve into the realm of burnt ends, exploring their composition, taste profiles, cooking methods, and more.

What Are Burnt Ends?

Burnt ends are savory meat chunks that are cubed and slow-cooked, resulting in a tender interior, caramelized exterior, and a tantalizing combination of flavors. They were traditionally derived from the pointed end of a beef brisket but have expanded to include other meats such as pork belly.

They have a burnt look due to their BBQ bark crust, which is chewy and tastes like meat and smoked spices. The combination of dry rub, smoke, and meat proteins causes a chemical reaction that results in the development of the flavorful "bark" which is known as BBQ bark.

Burnt Ends

What Are Burnt Ends Made Out Of?

Smoked meat's fatty cuts are used to make burnt ends. When the meat reaches its desired internal temperature, pitmasters coat it with Kansas City-style BBQ sauce which they smoke until it caramelizes.

What Do Burnt Ends Taste Like?

Burnt ends offer a sublime harmony of flavors. They possess a smoky essence from the slow cooking process, a rich meatiness, and a delectable caramelized exterior. The interior is tender, moist, and infused with the flavors of the marinade or rub used during the cooking process.

Type of Burnt Ends

Brisket Burnt Ends

What Are Brisket Burnt Ends?

Brisket burnt ends are pieces of point brisket that are cubed, sauced, and smoked. These sweet bites of succulent smoky beef are the classic and most common type of burnt ends. When smoked, the fatty brisket point cut crisps and is hard to slice. 

How to Make Brisket Burnt Ends

Make burnt ends by smoking cubed brisket point pieces low and slow, then slathering them in sauce, and giving them a final, caramelizing caress of smoke.

  • Step 1: Separate the brisket point from the flat.
  • Step 2: Trim leftover hard fat on the bottom of the point and the fat cap on top.
  • Step 3: Smoke the brisket with low heat over an extended cook time. Shoot for 1 to 1 1/2-inch cube sizes.
  • Step 4: Sauce the cubed meat in sweet Kansas City BBQ sauce.
  • Step 5: Smoke the burnt ends in an uncovered pan for another hour or two. When you take them, they should have absorbed the sweet sauce and will have a melt-in-your-mouth consistency.
Brisket Burnt Ends

Pork Belly Burnt Ends

What Are Pork Belly Burnt Ends?

Pork belly burnt ends are made from the fatty portion of the pork belly, known for its succulent and tender qualities. Pork belly burnt ends are cubed pieces of pork belly meat that are slow-smoked, sauced, and then finished to yield a caramelized, sweet, and buttery flavor. 

How to Make Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Pork belly takes 3 to 4 hours to smoke to pork belly burnt ends. 

  • Step 1: Buy pork belly meat that has a balanced fat-to-meat ratio, you can ask the butcher for the center cut of the belly. Pure fat cubes will not render. Discard them.
  • Step 2: Preheat the smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Step 3: Remove any remaining skin. 
  • Step 4: Cut the pork belly into 1 1/2 to 2-inch-sized cubes.
  • Step 5: Add dry rub or other seasonings.
  • Step 6: Put the pork belly cubes on a wire rack before adding them to your smoker. 
  • Step 7: Smoke the pork belly cubes for approximately 3 1/2 hours to cook them and imbue them with smoke.
  • Step 8: Take pork belly cubes out when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and sauce with Kansas City-style BBQ sauce or other sauces.
  • Step 9: Put them in a heat-proof disposable pan and smoke them until they reach your desired level of caramelization. 
  • Step 10: Let them rest covered outside of the smoker for an additional 15 minutes. 
Pork Belly Burnt Ends

How to Get Bark on Brisket

Brisket bark is a key element of scrumptious burnt ends. Here are steps to get the bark on brisket:

  • Step 1: Rub meat with oil before adding dry rub, the oil picks up smoke.
  • Step 2: Use a high-sugar dry rub (sugar can help build bark on brisket)
  • Step 3: Spray the brisket while it smokes 
  • Step 4: Once it reaches 165, wrap the brisket in butcher paper
  • Step 5: Then continue to smoke the brisket until it reaches the internal temperature of 203 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Step 6: Once it reaches 203 degrees Fahrenheit, unwrap and finish with a last kiss of smoke.

How to Reheat Burnt Ends

Reheat Burnt Ends in the Oven 

  • Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Step 2: Place the burnt ends in a disposable aluminum pan and apply a fresh coat of barbeque sauce. 
  • Step 3: Wrap the pan in aluminum foil, and warm it in the oven for 20 to 24 minutes.

Reheat Burnt Ends in the Smoker

  • Step 1: Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Step 2: Place the burnt ends in a heat-resistant disposable tray. 
  • Step 3: Lightly reapply your sauce and warm it for 30 minutes.

Reheat Burnt Ends on the Stove

  • Step 1: Seal them in a bag with a vacuum sealer. 
  • Step 2: Take a large pot and add 3 quarts of water for each pound of meat. 
  • Step 3: Bring the water to a boil. Place your vacuum-sealed bag inside the pot. 
  • Step 4: Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the hot burner. Let the burnt ends rest in the water for 15 minutes, then remove the bag. Step 5: Cut open the vacuum bag and remove the burnt ends.

What to Serve with Burnt Ends?

Burnt ends pair exceptionally well with a variety of accompaniments. 

  • Serve burnt ends between a bun as a sandwich. 
  • Serve burnt ends with Carolina-style red slaw. 
  • Serve burnt ends with roasted sweet potato. 
  • Serve burnt ends as the protein in a BBQ boat. 
  • Serve burnt ends in BBQ tacos. 
  • Serve burnt ends with mac and cheese. 
  • Serve burnt ends on kababs with grilled vegetables. 
  • Serve burnt ends with roasted Brussels sprouts. 
  • Serve burnt ends inside a bao bun. 
What to Serve with Burnt Ends?


Are Burnt Ends Fatty?

Yes, burnt ends tend to have a higher fat content. This is especially true for pork belly burnt ends, as pork belly is a naturally fatty cut. However, the fat contributes to the succulence and flavor of the dish, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth experience.

What Part of Brisket Is Burnt Ends?

Burnt ends are typically made from the point end of a beef brisket. The pointed end, also known as the deckle, is a fattier section of the brisket compared to the leaner flat portion. The marbling and fat content in this area contributes to the rich and tender qualities of the burnt ends.

Are Burnt Ends Pork or Beef?

Burnt ends can be made from both pork and beef. Beef brisket burnt ends are more common and well-known, while pork belly burnt ends have gained popularity in recent years. Both variations offer their unique flavors and textures, catering to different taste preferences.

Rib Tips vs Burnt Ends

Burnt ends and rib tips are not the same. The edges of a slow-smoked brisket covered in BBQ bark are called burned ends, and the short section that butchers remove to make squared-off rib cuts like St. Louis-style spareribs is where rib tips originate. These are different meat cuts from different animals, and they react to heat in different ways. Rib tips lose fat due to heat, but the ends that have burned absorb fat, leaving them with a more succulent texture and deeper flavor.

Burnt Ends BBQ Sauce

Here are some recommended sauces:

  • Kansas City-style BBQ sauce
  • Carolina Gold BBQ sauce 
  • North Carolina vinegar BBQ sauce 
  • Bulgogi sauce
  • Tamarind chutney


Burnt ends are a culinary delight, featuring smoky, tender, and flavorful meat cubes that have become a barbecue sensation. Whether crafted from beef brisket or pork belly, they offer a harmonious combination of textures and tastes. Experiment with different cuts of meat, seasonings, and glazes to create your own mouthwatering burnt ends masterpiece, and enjoy them alongside complementary side dishes. So fire up your smoker or oven, and embark on a delicious journey into the world of burnt ends!

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