Thursday, November 18, 2010

Recipe: Faux Burnt Ends

As promised after my rant about our trainee at the restaurant that cut off the burnt ends of the brisket and put them in the scrap pile (breathe, Julie, that's it, inhale, hold it, exhale....), here is a recipe for "faux" burnt ends.

If you see burnt ends listed on a restaurant's menu, by the way, I'll betcha ten bucks they aren't the real deal. Do the math. Giant 8-12 pound brisket, with two bitty ends that everybody wants. Well, many of us do. There is a reason why we don't offer brisket burnt ends at Smokin' Pete's. I regularly steal them for my lunch.

There has to be a perk for all this, right?

Faux ends are quite tasty, and a great way to use the fattier part of the brisket, the point, or deckle.

The process is simple. Cut up a chilled brisket, or the deckle portion of one into end-sized chunks. If you smoke the whole packer, separate the deckle or point to chill fully before you cut up into pieces. Trim the larger channels and caps of fat. (If what I just said doesn't make sense to you, here's a review of brisket terminology).

The shot below is of a half chilled brisket, right at the midway where grain of the point runs opposite the flat. If you have difficulty carving a brisket, try practicing on a chilled brisket. The meat grains and fat channels are so much clearer when it's cold, that it can be a great learning tool.

Lightly re-season the pieces with a rub of your choice. Let me repeat, lightly, and I would suggest you use no salt in your rub, especially if there was salt in the rub from the first round. The first time I tried to make faux ends, they were way too salty. Toss in a thin barbecue sauce. Again, go light on the sauce. Otherwise the pieces won't get a crispy crust like the real deal.

Put the brisket pieces in a foil pan and put back in the smoker for about 2+ hours. Stir once after about an hour. Keep the smoker on the low side of slow- about 180 degrees, but get it good and smoky.
Remove once the bits are a little bit crispy like the ends you love.
Burnt ends are excellent with slaw on a sandwich, or a perfect flavor punch to chili and stews.
I prefer to snitch at them with my fingers.

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