BBQ Brisket Burnt Ends (Kansas City Style)

March 8, 2018

My BBQ brisket burnt ends recipe comes straight from the pit masters in Kansas City’s biggest BBQ joints. Slow smoked brisket point is cubed and braised in a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce for the most tender, melt in your mouth bites of meat candy.

Burnt Ends

What are Burnt Ends?

Burnt ends originally began as a Friday special at BBQ joints after the restaurant had collected the crispy ends of their sliced brisket throughout the week, sauced them up, and served them on bread. They became such a phenomenon that lots of restaurants started putting them on the menu.

The place where the burnt ends tradition really took hold was in Kansas City, Missouri and that’s where I went behind the counter to learn the ins and outs of how to cook burnt ends the right way. Burnt ends aren’t the leftovers anymore, they are now a headlining item! Today’s burnt ends are made specifically from the point end (also called the deckle) of a brisket.

This cut comes from the pectoral muscle of the cow and is exceptionally tough because the cow uses it so frequently. It is also well marbled with fat, so when the meat cooks low and slow over a wood fire those tight connective tissues break down and gelatinize as the fat melts and moisturizes the meat. At the end of the cooking process, you are left with these little nuggets of tender beef with some of that signature smoky bark in every bite.

How to Make Burnt Ends

How to Make Burnt Ends (the most awesome Brisket Burnt Ends EVER!)

This whole process starts with a brisket. These brisket burnt ends are made from the brisket point only, opposed to smoking a whole brisket and then separating and cubing the point later. this technique is pretty unique to Kansas City, but it is definitely preferred for making the perfect burnt ends because you end up with more smoke and bark on the entire surface area of the brisket point.

Most people don’t have the opportunity to purchase just a brisket point (if you do, then you can skip on past this part) so the first step is to separate the point of the brisket from the flat. I’ve got a full video showing the process if you are more visual and want to scroll down a little to watch how it happens.

Essentially, a large strip of hard white fat separates the two muscles. I like to trim the excess fat from the sides of the brisket first so I have a better view of where that strip of fat runs. Make sure the brisket is on a large, stable cutting board with the fat cap down. Use a sharp knife (I have this Shun filet knife that works great) to cut through the fat, working your way down at a wide angle toward the cutting board. Lift the flat away from the point as you work your knife through. You should be able to cut along that layer of fat the entire way through. If you start to hit any muscle, readjust your knife and just stay within that fat as much as possible.

Once your point and flat are separated, trim any remaining hard fat from the bottom of the point and then trim the fat cap at the top to an even 1/4 inch thick. You can save the flat and cook another day (maybe cure it for some corned beef or pastrami!) or you can smoke it alongside your point for tasty sliced brisket!

Burnt Ends Recipe

The key to great burnt ends is low and slow cooking. I keep my smoker at 225 degrees F and use oak as my wood. The cooking process is very similar to cooking my Texas Style Brisket.  The seasoning is simple to start, just salt, pepper, and garlic powder on all sides, then the brisket point hits the smoker until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F. At this point, I’m usually happy with the progression of the bark, so I wrap it tightly with peach butcher paper to retain as much moisture as possible. Return that wrapped meat to the smoker and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees F.

It’s finally time to cube that pretty smoked brisket and make some burnt ends! Remove the smoked point from the butcher paper and cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes. At this point, these little morsels are technically edible, but to bring out that true Kansas City style burnt ends experience, we need to add some sweetness and sauce to finish the process. Once I cube and sauce my brisket point, it’s time for the final kiss of smoke and heat on the smoker. Finish cooking the burnt ends in a pan uncovered for another 1-2 hours or until those burnt ends have soaked up that sweet sauce and are just about falling apart.

Now dig in!! All of that time and effort will all seem worth it once you take the first bite. There is nothing like Kansas City Style Burnt Ends.

Tools Used to Make Burnt Ends

Grill: Camp Chef SmokePro SG Pellet Grill
Knife: Shun Cutlery 7-inch Fillet knife
Wrap: Peach Butcher Paper
Thermometer: Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 (mine is orange!)


Burnt Ends Video

Burnt Ends Recipe

bbq brisket burnt ends

BBQ Brisket Burnt Ends

These Kansas City Style BBQ Burnt Ends are meat candy! Smoky, tender, and melt in your mouth delicious!
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time : 30 mins
Cook Time : 12 hrs
Total Time : 12 hrs 30 mins
Servings : 8 people


  • 1 6-8 pound brisket point (also called the deckle)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce ((link in recipe notes))
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar


  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F using oak wood.
  •  If you are starting with a whole packer brisket, separate the point from the flat by running a knife through the vein of hard white fat between the two muscles. Trim up your brisket point by removing any remaining hard fat and trimming the top fat cap down to 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Combine the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Shake liberally on all sides of the brisket point.
  • Place the seasoned brisket point on your smoker, close the lid, and smoke until the internal temperature of your meat reads 165 degrees F. This step typically takes 6-8 hours, depending on the size and thickness of your meat. Spritz with the 1 cup of beef stock every hour during this initial smoke period.
  • Once the brisket reaches 165 degrees F, wrap tightly in peach butcher paper and return to the smoker. Smoke until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees and then remove to a cutting board. This typically takes another 3 hours.
  • Unwrap from the butcher paper, draining any liquid from the paper into an aluminum pan. Cut the brisket point into cubes, about 1 1/2 inches thick. 
  • Place the cubes into the aluminum pan and toss with the BBQ sauce and brown sugar. Work quickly during this step to prevent your brisket from cooling down too much.
  • Set the uncovered pan of burnt ends back on the smoker and close the lid. Continue smoking at 225 degrees F for 1-2 more hours, or until the burnt ends have started to absorb the BBQ sauce and caramelize on all sides and are very tender.
  • Remove the burnt ends from the smoker and serve with a slice of white bread for an authentic experience.
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68 thoughts on “BBQ Brisket Burnt Ends (Kansas City Style)

  1. Hi Susie! I’m definitely trying this! What is the advantage of the butcher paper versus just wrapping in foil?

    1. I find that the paper allows for more smoke flavor to penetrate the brisket while it’s wrapped. It also encourages a darker bark. Foil tends to soften the bark, in my experience, but it does help with moisture retention.

  2. The burnt ends printed instructions tell us to empty the juices from the pink paper into the foil pan before adding bbq sause…however your video does not mention that…. which way do we go. Do not want to dilute the bbq sauce do we?

    1. The juices in the pink paper are going to be pretty minimal since it is porous. It won’t be enough to diluting the sauce, it just adds a little bit of richness.

        1. I just accidently released at least half a cup of grease on my kitchen counter and still had at least that much more that went in the pan so not really so porous afterall. This was all from just a 4½ lb, grass fed, free range brisket point. Probably could have trimmed off a little more fat.

  3. A question for Hey Grill: I plan to use your burnt ends recipe and smoke the flat alongside the point. Do you just use the same rub for both?

  4. I LOVE burnt ends…. can I use the whole dad-blasted brisket to make burnt ends, or can I ONLY use the deckle?
    Obviously, I would separate the two pieces first, but would the flat turn out just as good?

  5. O.M.G. we made a small batch last weekend. “Only thing i did different” was make a double batch the next day!!! These were absolutely awesome … thank you so much for this recipe. And the sauce was a fabulous complement to the meat. Did not change a thing. The aromas were mouth watering. 2nd round we also smoked our k.c. ribs and some chicken …. yum! Be patient … it takes a while, but so worth it – 1st batch we started early afternoon and had to put in fridge after 1st round of cooking. Next day we cut into cubes and continued… just as good as the 2nd round of ends. These chunks of meat fall apart in your mouth. And thank you for explaining the logic and reasoning throughout the recipe.

    1. Do you have to let the point rest after you pull it off at 195 degrees before you cube it and put it back on?

  6. Two separated packer briskets finishing up today after cold smoking then in Sous Vide and followed with a flamethrower to sear and create bark. The points will be turned into burnt ends and use your custom BBQ sauce that I made yesterday and is in the fridge. AWESOME taste!! Can’t wait to see the reactions of our dinner party tonight with the burnt ends! I chose to only include the paprika to the sauce because a number of our guests don’t like the heat of pepper or chili’s. Thanks for the recipe…it will be a regular addition to our creations! Cheers!

  7. Hi Susie,

    I love this burnt ends recipe, can’t wait to make it.
    Question if I separate the point an flat and want to smoke the flat at the same time, can I just follow your how to smoke a brisket video?

      1. Great thanks!
        Sorry for the duplicate comments. I didn’t realize you replied.
        I’ll keep you posted how it comes out 🙂

  8. Hi Susie,
    This recipe looks fantastic!
    Can’t wait to make burnt ends.
    I have a question if I separate the point and flat can I still use your how to smoke a brisket recipe for the smaller flat?


  9. These look delicious! I was just wondering if you are flipping the meat each time you are spraying it with beef broth or if you don’t flip it and just spray the top each time? Thank you!

  10. Hi Susie! I tried this recipe with just a point to rave reviews a couple of weeks ago (thanks!!). I’ll be doing a whole packer for a party in the next few weeks for burnt ends and sliced flat for sandwiches. My question is whether or not to separate the flat and point before or after I smoke it. This recipe says to separate before and smoke them separately but your burnt end sandwich recipe ( ) says to separate them after smoking. I’m worried that the flat may dry out if I smoke them separately. I know I’m probably overthinking things again but would welcome your thoughts. Thanks, Chuck

    1. Chuck, I’ll defer to Susie but, pending her answer, I can say that I discivered this delicacy at an establishment named Murky Waters. They cook the whole thing together and cut the point off for further processing as burnt ends afterwards. I have only ever cooked the point primarily because I like to cure the flat into corned beef which I sous vide for 48 hours. I think you can do it either way.

  11. Thanks so much for this, are there alternatives to using peach paper (could you use foil?) also – are you able to vacuum pack and freeze?

  12. Third brisket I’ve done. 15 pounds. Bad Byrons butt rub 3 hrs on trimmed packer. BGE with bbq guru Cyber Q. BGE charcoal lump and LARGE hickory chunks x 10. 175 pit temp for 4 or 5 hours smoke. 225 pit temp to stall 165 degrees. 165 stall wrap with Peach butcher paper. 250 pit temp to 202 temp (@total 21 hr cook) 2 hr towel/ cooler soak. Absolutely phenomenal, fell apart. This site has superb information.

  13. Hey, Grill, Hey

    Just got a new grill. It’s “smoker side’ is a pellet smoker. Is there going to be much difference when I use the pellet process for smoking?

  14. I’ve sampled bbq all over the South. I’ve never had anything that tasted as good as these burnt ends that I cooked at home using your recipe. Took 12 1/2 hours on my New pellet grill start to finish.

  15. I’ll be making these tomorrow and will have leftovers & plan on bringing some to work. What’s the best way to reheat them without drying them out? TIA

  16. What would cause the meat to be chewy? Should I have cooked it longer? Followed the time and temperature that you recommended. Meat had great flavor and a awesome smoke ring. Suggestions for next attempt?

  17. The ABSOLUTE BEST!! Got compliments from everyone and was told we could make a fortune making and selling it!! it will be a regular part of our smoking routine!!

  18. The ABSOLUTE BEST!! Got compliments from everyone who tried it and was told we could make a fortune making and selling it!! It is going to be a regular smoking routine!

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