My Poor Man’s Burnt Ends recipe is a great way to get all of the classic BBQ flavors you love in burnt ends without having to smoke a whole brisket. By using a chuck roast instead of brisket, these Poor Man’s Burnt Ends save you some pocket change as well as some time spent at the smoker (without compromising on flavor!).
What Are Poor Man’s Burnt Ends?
Burnt ends traditionally come from the fat-marbled point of a whole packer brisket. Slow smoked until they are nearly fall apart tender and then basted in finger-licking BBQ sauce, they are the best bite in the BBQ world.
I understand that not everyone has the time to smoke up an entire whole packer brisket to make burnt ends. When you are craving burnt ends but don’t want to break the bank, using chuck roast gives you a great flavor on a budget. I’ve also found that chuck roasts have a natural beefy flavor very similar to brisket, so the cut works amazing for making this burnt ends recipe!
For this recipe, I’m using a 3 pound chuck roast instead of a full packer brisket to make a version called “Poor Man’s Burnt Ends.” For classic burnt ends, a whole brisket is smoked and the top muscle (the point) is removed while the leaner muscle (the flat) is sliced and served. The point is loaded with fatty marbling and amazing flavor. To enhance the flavor of the meat, it is often cubed and tossed with BBQ sauce before being grilled to meat candy perfection.
Think of them as bite-sized pieces of beef that are perfectly smoked and exploding with BBQ flavor.
How to Make Poor Man’s Burnt Ends
The process for Poor Man’s Burnt Ends is very similar to smoking a whole brisket, but with the final intent of turning the whole cut of beef into BBQ burnt ends. This means more flavorful bark all the way around and often times more even cooking.
Here’s the step-by-step on making these delicious treats:
- Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F. I like to use hickory or oak pellets for my burnt ends as it beautifully complements the chuck roast.
- Season liberally. All you need for these burnt ends are salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Work that season into the chuck roast well to get them prepped for the smoke.
- Smoke that meat! Place your chuck roast on your smoker and smoke it until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. For me, it took 5 hours to reach this temperature, so adjust smoking time as needed.
- Wrap the roast. Wrap the chuck roast in butcher paper or foil and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees F (this takes about a hour).
- Rest, cut, and season. Allow the roast to rest for 15-20 minutes. Cut into small cubes and season with 1/4 cup brown sugar and BBQ sauce and place them in a foil baking pan.
- Place the pan on the grill , and cook for up to 2 more hours.
- Add finishing touches. Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar and the remaining BBQ sauce. Return to the grill for just a few more minutes until everything is heated through and well mixed. Serve hot.
Tips for Cooking Poor Man’s Burnt Ends
- Cook to temperature, not to time. Often we want a recipe to give us an exact cook time, but the best way to cook is always to temperature. Every cut of meat is different, and each will finish at a different time. If you cook to temperature instead of time, you will never miss! For these burnt ends, I used ThermoWorks remote thermometer, The Smoke, and it was fantastic! There was a probe for the meat and another for keeping track of the grill temperature. Plus, I could view these temperatures remotely which is so convenient!
- Don’t forget to wrap. This recipe works fine wrapped in either butcher paper or foil; however, I prefer to use peach butcher paper. Lucky for you, we have some awesome Hey Grill Hey Peach Butcher Paper in our store, Patio Provisions.
- Meat grade matters! Normally with brisket, burnt ends are made from the fattiest piece of the muscle, so when you are choosing a chuck roast, try to select one with as much intramuscular fat as you can. This doesn’t mean you buy a roast with big, white chunks of fat in it. Rather, look for meat with small, white flecks of fat within the muscle.
Poor Man’s Burnt Ends vs. Brisket Burnt Ends
Poor Man’s Burnt Ends tend to be a cheaper option than brisket burnt ends, but you can often find meat that is relatively comparable in price. Both burnt ends turn out delicious and both have a unique, delicious flavor, so I recommend trying out each type to determine which one is your favorite.
Honest truth, the price in my grocery store for brisket vs. chuck roast was almost identical (about $3/lb), so I don’t know where the phrase “poor man’s” even came from. Despite this, I would definitely make these again any time I’ve craving burnt ends but don’t want to smoke a whole brisket.
A whole brisket typically costs $40-50 and this chuck roast was under $10. My chuck roast came in at about 3 pounds and was perfect for feeding my family.
More Burnt Ends Recipes
Ready to take on more burnt ends recipes? Check out these other tasty nuggets below!
Poor Man’s Burnt Ends Recipe
Follow the video below and I’ll show you step-by-step how I make these Poor Man’s Burnt Ends at home. I’m all about helping you make the best backyard BBQ of your life, so check out more of my smoking and grilling recipe videos on YouTube, Instagram, or our Facebook Page. Follow along and let’s make awesome food together!
Poor Man's Burnt Ends
- 3 pound chuck roast
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (your favorite brand/recipe)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
Simple Beef Rub
- 1 Tablespoon coarse Kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- Preheat your smoker for indirect grilling at 275 degrees F. Use hickory or oak wood for the most complementary smoke flavor.
- In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Season your chuck roast liberally on all sides with the rub mixture. When your smoker is to temperature, place the seasoned roast on the grill and cover.
- Smoke the roast until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (this took 5 hours on my smoker). You should have a fairly nice dark bark on the exterior of your roast at this point. Wrap in either butcher paper or foil and return to the grill until the internal temperature is 195 degrees (this took just over an hour).
- Remove the wrapped roast from the grill and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes. Cut into 3/4 inch cubes and transfer to a foil baking pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup brown sugar and drizzle with most of the BBQ sauce, reserving a couple of tablespoons for later. Toss gently to coat all of the pieces in a little of the sauce.
- Place the pan on the grill, close the lid and cook for an additional 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the sauce is bubbly and the cubed bits of beef are falling apart tender.
- Sprinkle with the additional 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar and the remaining BBQ sauce. stir gently and return to the grill for just a few more minutes until everything is well incorporated. Serve hot as a main course or on white bread/buns with pickles and white onions.