Kansas City Burnt Ends
April 29, 2012
In the early days, burnt ends were exactly what the name implied – the slightly overcooked end pieces that had been removed from restaurant briskets before the brisket was sliced and served. Instead of throwing the unused portion away, Kansas City pit masters would instead cube it up and either use them for beans or other side dishes or re-season, sauce and serve to customers.
Today the popularity of burnt ends as a stand alone dish has led cooks to prepare portions of the briskets exclusively for the bark covered beefy morsels. And while preparation methods may vary with some cooks opting to cube them, the end result is almost always a small bit of nirvana.
When seeking to make your own burnt ends, start with a full packer brisket (the “flat” of portion which is normally used for brisket slices as well as the fattier point) with all hard fat removed. Season well with your favorite dry rub and smoke at 225-230 degrees for approximately 1 hour per pound until the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees. Remove the brisket and separate the point from the flat.
While the flat is now ready to be sliced and served, the point should be coated with a fresh dusting of dry rub and returned to the smoker until it reaches 200-205 degrees internal temperature (note that while some cooks prefer to cube the point before returning to the smoker, my preference is to cook it intact, thereby a nice balance of moist and tender beef and crunchy external bark). Once the desired temperature is reached, cut the point in to 1 inch by 1 inch cubes, toss in a pan with a generous coating of your favorite sauce and return to the smoker for approximately 10 minutes until the sauce has set.
Serve immediately either as an appetizer or as burnt end sandwiches.
- Clint Cantwell, Grilling.com Guest Editor