Poor Man’s Burnt Ends

One of my very favorite restaurants in Milwaukee is a place called Smoke Shack.  For living “up north” here in Wisconsin, we have quite a few BBQ places I’m happy to say, but Smoke Shack is by far the very best.  On one particular evening my favorite bartender there stated that they have a new item, not on the menu and asked if I would be interested in trying something new.  Of curse I immediately said yes as I have never been disappointed in anything I’ve ever ordered there.  To my surprise it was Burnt Ends!  Absolutely delicious, and since that late Wednesday night I’ve been trying to make my own version of this tasty treat.  I will never be able to duplicate it, but I can make my version.  By the way, if ever in Milwaukee, give Smoke Shack a try, and on the weekends they have an awesome brunch which includes Burnt Ends Benedict!

Typically, Burnt Ends are made from a beef brisket, or portions thereof.  I’ve made beef brisket and frankly can’t see making it any other way than this method for my Beef Brisket.  However, in the world of beef and the many different cuts available, I thought there had to be a way to make something similar to burnt ends using a less expensive cut of meat.

Enter one of my favorite websites called Date Night Doins where they posted a recipe called Poor Man’s Twisted Ends.  I had to give it a try and am happy that I did.  Great recipe, and like just about every recipe I try I make it my own by trying something a little different and using some different ingredients, as I hope all of you do with my recipes.  Here is my take on Ken and Patti Fisher’s Poor Man’s Twisted Ends.

As with just about all of my recipes, in case you have not noticed, they are not complex, they don’t require 42 steps and even more ingredients.  I started this blog for the “Average guy or gal who loves grilling in the backyard for family on the Weekend – or whenever we get the chance to”.  I’m not a Pit Master, don’t even have the urge to enter a competition, just want to keep it easy, enjoy grilling, being outside in the backyard grilling for family and friends and not working!

This recipe fit’s my Blog’s motto to a tee.  A few ingredients, a few steps, smoke it and eat it.

In Ken and Patti’s recipe they used stew meat, I opted for chuck roast only because it was on sale.  As mentioned earlier, this recipe is so versatile that you can pretty do what you want with either the ingredients that you already have or in my case, what you want to pay.  I used a chuck roast just over 3 #’s and cost just $18.00, which when I think of it, isn’t exactly cheap for chuck roast, but that’s what I used.  Below is a picture of exactly what I used.

Poor Man's Burnt Ends

First step is to brown your meat.  Since I opted for chuck roast instead of some already-cut-up stew meat, I cubed my chuck roast, covered them olive oil and browned them in the wife’s Food Network dutch oven that she rarely let’s me use.  You are not cooking them, just giving them a quick sear if you will to get ’em brown.

Poor Man's Burnt Ends

Next, start adding all of the ingredients into an aluminum pan.  This is where you really can get creative with using your favorite spices, hot sauces or in my case what I had available in my cabinet.  I used a can of beef broth, 2 large onions cut up into wedges, some minced garlic.  For the sweet I used a bottle of some awesome Sweet Bourbon Glaze that we picked up the last time we were in Door County, Wisconsin.  For heat, instead of using a few different hot sauces and spices etc, I opted to simply use one small can of  whole chilpolte peppers in adobo sauce.  I just put them in whole as they came in the can.  This may fine for myself but it turned out to be a little too spicey hot for my wife.  I didn’t realize that putting them in whole, seeds and all would bring on the heat like leaving the seeds from a jalapeno for instance.  I always think of chilpolte peppers as mild and smokey, but these babies had some heat!  Mix all that up and start grilling indirect or on your smoker at 225°.

Poor Man's Burnt Ends

This is what it all looked like while I was browning the meat.

Poor Man's Burnt Ends

I would come out and stir about every half hour.  I also used my SMOKIN WEDGIE to add a little more smoke flavor for the first two hours.

Poor Man's Burnt Ends

 

So, smoke it for two hours at 225° and then move the temp up to 300° for three more hours, again stirring every half hour, or as usual in my case, when you remember to.

Poor Man's Burnt Ends

This is about three or four hours in.  The longer you leave it on the darker it will get and the flavor will become more intense.

DSC00179

 

Remember, this recipe is called “Poor Mans BURNT Ends”; so this is the color you want!  It’s not burnt, but it’s dark, caramelized and incredibly delicious.  Sure, beef brisket would taste a smudge better, but seriously for chuck roast, or stew meat, you can’t make it tastier than this.  Be creative! I purposely didn’t give you an ingredient list because this recipe just screams for you to use your imagination.

Burnt Ends

Keeping it simple, we just added a quick veggie and some mashed potatoes.  It was also good the next day on a bun eating it like a sloppy joe.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you did different than I did, but more important, how you will improve it next time!  I already know that I will change it up a bit and use the leftover side muscle the next time I smoke a whole beef tenderloin; that sounds like a perfect use for that muscle you trim off a tenderloin.


  • Craig Brandon

    I think you may be missing the whole point and history behind Burnt Ends. They are typically made from the parts of a Full Packer brisket which includes the flat portion of the brisket, and the point portion. The point is the fatty heavily marbled and fatty portion on top that unless you are very good at smoking, sometimes gets thrown away or chopped. An alternative to chopping it all is to cube it after smoking and slicing, then putting it in a pan with additional rub, sometimes some sauce, then placing it back on the smoker to render down farther into little bite sized portions of meat candy. 🙂 I would never use a prime cut or a flat for burnt ends, but rather use the parts that are borderline edible. Hope this helps.

    • Thanks for leaving a comment Craig. I’m fully aware of burnt ends, believe me. My post is an alternative to the classic burnt ends. Cheaper cut of meat, much less time than preparing a brisket and then start smoking the burnt ends, etc. It’s simply an alternative.

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