In our search for a perfect brisket recipe, we naturally also encounter burnt ends. We have already made different recipes for burnt ends from bacon, and you should definitely try them out, but for the real thing, you make burnt ends from brisket.
The burnt ends are then cut from the fat part of an entire brisket. That is the pointed part of the brisket. They also call this part the brisket ear because the shape is somewhat reminiscent of an ear.
So this is a brisket ear. It looks a bit like an ear. An ugly ear, but still. You see that it is an excellent fat piece of meat. Exactly as we want it. The only parts of fat that we cut away are the harder pieces on the outside of the meat.
This fat ensures that the dry rub cannot adhere to the meat. The rub will wash away with the melting fat. That would be a shame, so we cut it away.
If the brisket ear is clean, we sprinkle the meat with a nice layer of dry rub. This dry rub is sweet and salty. That’s what you want for burnt ends. These will soon be delicious sweets.
We will first smoke the brisket ear at around 120°C (250F) with some oak. Make sure you put a digital thermometer in the meat. We first go to a core temperature of 65°C (150F). At this temperature, the so-called stall starts, which ensures that the meat won’t get warmer until all surface moisture has evaporated.
This is what the brisket ear looks like after 4 hours of smoking. The entire garden smells fantastic, and the neighbors wonder what you have to hand out later. This is the moment that you start packing the meat. Take 2 large pieces of aluminum foil and wrap the meat in such a way that no moisture can run out.
The package now goes back on the barbecue, and you put the thermometer back into the meat through the foil. This is how you cook the brisket ear to a core temperature of 90°C (195F).
When unpacking, pay attention that the moisture stays in the foil. You will need this later.
Now cut the meat into cubes of approximately 2 to 3 centimeters (1 inch). They must be bite-sized chunks that you can eat with a cocktail stick.
Take a large aluminum tray or an oven tray and put the cubes in there. Pour in the remaining moisture and a quarter liter of barbecue sauce. Take a sweet barbecue sauce. If it is not yet sweet enough, add a few more scoops of brown sugar.
Mix the brisket cubes well with the sauce and put the tray back on the barbecue. The temperature can now be raised a bit because you want the sauce to caramelize. Caramelization starts at a temperature of 160°C (320F). Pay attention that the sugars do not burn. That would be a shame for all the work.
This is how you want the burnt ends to look. The sauce has become sticky. The blocks are now 90-95°C (195-200F) and deliciously soft with a dark exterior.
- 1 kilo Brisket ear (2 pounds)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp coarse salt
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce
- 200 ml ketchup (3/4 cup)
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp corn syrup or sugar beet syrup
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- Prepare a barbecue with an indirect zone at 120°C (250F).
- Mix the brown sugar, salt, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
- Cut away the solid pieces of fat that are on the outside of the meat.
- Sprinkle the meat with the dry rub.
- Place the brisket ear on the grid and place a core thermometer. We first cook the meat at a core temperature of around 65°C (150F).
- When the meat has reached the core temperature, wrap the meat with aluminum foil, and cook the meat further up to 90°C (195F).
- Mix all ingredients for the sauce.
- Unpack the meat and save the moisture. Cut the brisket ear into cubes of 2 to 3 cm and place them in an oven tray.
- Pour the collected moisture with the barbecue sauce over the cubes of meat. Mix everything well and put the oven tray back on the barbecue, and let the temperature inside the barbecue rise to 160°C (320F).
- Allow the sauce to thicken and caramelize on the meat. When the cubes are beautiful and dark and the meat soft, you’re done.