Beef Burnt Ends

  • By: Jack Mancuso

Beef Burnt Ends - Cuso Cuts

My beef burnt ends recipe creates an incredible bite-sized appetizer. It’s sticky, sweet, savory, and sumptuous. While you can use any type of beef for this dish, I use traditional brisket. You could get fancy with wagyu burnt ends, or go for a “poor man’s” version of burnt ends with chuck roast, but nearly everywhere you go, brisket is king. 

Burnt Ends Background

The wonderful world of burnt ends began in the 1970s. Barbecue restaurants in Kansas City were making brisket sandwiches all the time. When chiefs cut the meat, there would be oddly shaped smoked bark-bits left on the cutting board. Being clever, they gave them out as an appetizer. People loved them, and so onto the menu they went. 

Tremendous Tastes

You can’t skimp on the slow smoking for burnt ends; that’s what makes them so special. By returning it to the smoker for two hours, you get all the intensity of smoke with your barbecue sauce, rounding it all out. The flavor profile is rich, slightly crispy, and satisfying. The fat of the brisket pieces keeps the ends from drying out. 

Tip: If there are leftovers from this recipe, I like to smush them up into sandwiches with various condiments, or add them to chili. 

Beef Burnt Ends Ingredients

  • Beef Brisket (½ pound per person for main dish portions)
  • Mayo
  • Salt
  • Pepper.
  • Butter
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Chimi Churri Sauce
  • Sesame seeds


  1. Bring up your smoker to 225F. Pecan wood is a good choice for this recipe.
  2. Tenderize your meat using a meat mallet.
  3. Remove any silver skin from the meat. This makes it tough and deters the smoke from getting into the entire piece.
  4. Cover it lightly with mayo, followed by salt and pepper
  5. Place it in the smoker until it reaches 180 degrees F in the thickest part.
  6. Remove and rest for 10 minutes or until you can handle it safely.
  7. Using a Chef’s Knife or cleaver, cut it into approximately 1 ¼” cubes going against the grain.
  8. Toss the cubes with your favorite barbecue sauce (a hickory or bourbon sauce is ideal)
  9. Add enough Chimichurri sauce to lightly cover the meat. 
  10. Place everything in a disposable aluminum pan.
  11. Make sure, once again, that the beef burnt ends are evenly coated.
  12. Put the pan back in the smoker to braise for 2 hours. 
  13. Have napkins handy!

PitMaster Memo

It’s rare that people report they have enough beef burnt ends to stash them away. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you can wrap them and refrigerate them for up to 5 days. Otherwise, put them in a freezer-safe food storage bag, removing as much air as possible. This has a shelf life of three months. 



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