🥩 Brisket Burnt Ends 🥩 The first thing to note about brisket is that a whole brisket is actually made up of two distinct muscles. The flat and the point. Lean and fatty. To add to the potential confusion, you’ll oftentimes see flats sold as “brisket” or “brisket flat” and whole briskets sold as “brisket” or “packer brisket”. For burnt ends select a well-marbled whole “packer” brisket. This means selecting a USDA Choice or Prime because it truly is a case of garbage in, garbage out. The brisket can be tricky to cook properly, but having a well-marbled quality starting product is the first step toward reaching the pinnacle of barbecue — beef brisket burnt ends.

Recipe

Brisket and Rub

1 packer brisket (USDA Choice or Prime)
¼ cup Famous Dave’s steak and burger seasoning
¼ cup Famous Dave’s rib rub

Brisket Injection

2 cups beef broth
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp Accent (optional)

Burnt end sauce

1 cup beef broth
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup barbecue sauce

Technique

When done well, the brisket is as good as barbecue gets, done poorly it can be dry and tough. Follow these steps to get a great result every time. To have a great end result with brisket you need to start with a great product. Always choose USDA Choice or higher brisket. The first step is to trim the brisket down. There’s a large fat cap on top of the flat that should be trimmed to about ¼”. This leaves enough fat to protect the meat for over a long smoke but not so much that it’ll have to all be trimmed off when it’s time to eat. Flip the brisket over to the leaner side. Trim all the fat and silverskin from the flat. Some cooks will separate the point from the flat, it’s not really necessary and will be super easy later on after it’s cooked. Instead just remove some of the hard fat in the thick vein between the point and the flat without separating them. That gives a little more surface area on the meat for the rub and is less to trim later. To add additional moisture, I inject the brisket. Follow the recipe above and inject the meat every inch or two. Mix ¼ cup steak seasoning and ¼ cup rib rub 50/50. Spread the rub evenly on all sides of the brisket. You can do this prep the night before or before your smoke. Put the brisket in a large pan covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. In the morning give the brisket a light dusting of the rub and it’s ready to smoke.

The Smoke

Set up your smoker for low and slow smoking at 225°-250°. I recommend trying hickory or oak wood with this recipe. Put the brisket on the smoker fat side up. The general rule is that cooking time will be 1-1 ½ hours per pound of brisket. Every brisket cooks a little bit differenlty so it’s more important to pay attention to temperatures rather than time. A Thermapen or Meat Thermometer will come in very handy as we’re aiming for some specific temperatures. The first of those is 160°. At that temperature the brisket will hit “the stall” – a period of up to six hours where the temperature is held nearly constant due to evaporation.

The Stall

To counteract the stall, pitmasters often apply the “Texas Crutch”. That is, wrapping the brisket in tin foil or butcher paper. I use butcher paper, but there are tradeoffs with each of those approaches:

MethodProsCons
No CrutchDark, firm barkTakes longer to cook through the stall
FoilCooks quickerLess firm bark, less smoke
Pink Butcher PaperNice barkmedium bark and smokiness

After wrapping the brisket place it back on the smoker fat side up until your thermometer reads 203°

⏲ 10-12 hours
🌡 225°
🍖 203°

Finishing

Once the brisket hits the 203° a knife will slice through the meat like butter. Find the fat vein again. The point of the brisket should jiggle resting on top of that fat. With almost no effort you can slice through that fat and separate the point from flat.

Burnt Ends

Cut the point in ¾-1” cubes. Put the cubed meat in a foil pan with the burnt end sauce. Toss the meat in the sauce to get them covered. Finish them by brushing some barbecue sauce on the top and a dusting of the brisket rub. Put the burnt ends back on the smoker for 1 hour.

⏲ 1 hour
🌡 225°

Burnt Ends

The Flat

Wrap the flat back up in the butcher paper and put it in a foil pan. The flat needs to rest 1-4 hours to let the juices redistribute in the meat. Set the oven for 170° for 30 minutes. Don’t open the oven, just turn it off and let it rest the last thirty minutes. With this method the burnt ends and flat will be ready to eat at the same time.

⏲ 1 hour
🌡 170°

Slice and Enjoy

With a sharp slicing knife cut the flat against the grain. Each slice should be about ¼-⅜” in width, pull-apart tender and juicy. Pull the burnt ends from the smoker. They should be carmelized and just melt in your mouth. Enjoy!

Supplies Quick List

This is a quick list of everything discussed in this post

Brisket
Famous Dave’s steak and burger seasoning
Famous Dave’s rib rub
Beef broth
Worcestershire sauce
Accent
Western Premium BBQ Hickory wood chunks
Western Premium BBQ Oak wood chunks
Pink butcher paper
Meat Injector syringe
Meat Thermometer
Thermapen
Victorinox slicing knife


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