Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Burnt Ends: It's Like Beef Bacon

Several years ago when I first started learning about BBQ, I had no idea what burnt ends were. Was it the stuff that you throw away, because it was no longer edible? Was it lumps of charcoal? To my knowledge, I don't know of any BBQ restaurants around LA/OC that serves burnt ends (or it's not advertised on the menu). Eventually I learned about burnt ends from watching television and, of course, on the Internet.

So when I started BBQ smoking, I originally thought burnt ends were strictly the 4 corners of the brisket (hold the laughter, please). I cut the pieces off, started chewing, and thought... this was it? While bursting with smoky flavor, it was terribly dry and chewy. Obviously, there was more to burnt ends, and it was right under my nose. I just had to take the additional steps.

First time making burnt ends

So if you're familiar with the cut of brisket, there are two sections of the brisket -- the flat and the point. As I mentioned in a previous post, the flat is what most people know, the larger part that is sliced and served. On the other hand, the point is a section of the brisket that has considerably more fat content, and is usually removed from the flat before serving. Well, what do you do with that point? Chop it up into cubes, season it even more (optional), and throw it back into the smoker or oven for another few hours.

The result is BBQ gold, a "delicacy" if you will, made famous by Kansas City. All that extra fat has been rendered off and will have a good, smoky charred bark on the outside, that's a bit crispy and crunchy in texture. On the inside, it should be tender and juicy. Then you can dip or slather the burnt ends with your favorite BBQ sauce. Simply delicious. Why is it so good? Well, I think it's the beef equivalent of bacon. I thought my first time making burnt ends was a mild success. Since I like spicy foods, I mixed in some Siracha sauce to give it a little kick. Burnt ends, I wish I knew ya earlier.