How to Make Burnt Ends Without a Smoker

Today, burnt ends are some of the best parts of smoking a whole brisket. With a bit of sauce and a few side dishes, these ends are considered a delicious meal and are even considered one of the many “candies” in an expert barbecuer’s range of recipes. As great as they are, not many people want to spend 10 hours smoking an entire brisket or they might not have a smoker, to begin with. 

There are different ways to make burnt ends at home and can change depending on your cut of meat or if you’re using a whole brisket. Recipes that just use the ends can only take 45 minutes at least, making them perfect for a special lunch or dinner. This article has everything you need to know on how to make burnt ends without a smoker. If you want to further customize the recipe with different sauces, you can look through our selection to pick one out.

What are burnt ends?

If you grilled a brisket before or haven’t visited a barbeque restaurant that offers them, burnt ends are quite literally the charred or “burnt” ends of a brisket. To be more specific, the burnt end is often the deckle or pointed end of a smoked brisket and is usually crispy and fatty but not fully burnt black. First made back in the 70s due to how it didn’t cut off well for sandwiches, burnt ends are now a delicacy in the barbecue world.

What you need to make brisket burnt ends

How to make burnt ends begins with getting the ingredients you want first. Depending on where you’re getting your meat, you can simply ask the butcher for the point cut if you want it. More often than not, it can be cheaper and easier to just get the point and grilling can become much shorter.

Additionally, you’ll need to get some powdered beef bouillon or beef broth to combine with your sauce. In a recipe that calls for an entire brisket, the sauce is often made or combined with the brisket’s drippings for flavour. With just the point, less juice and fat drip off so broth or bouillon is substituted for it instead. The end result is just as delicious, though!

The original sauce used to make burnt ends is a classic sweet BBQ sauce, but any other can also be used. A great alternative sauce for burnt ends should still focus on pairing well with the beef, much like BBQ sauce does. So, try out a fruitier sauce to cut through that richness or even a spicy barbecue sauce instead.

Ingredients for poor man’s burnt ends

Though they’re a much more budget friendly option compared to brisket burnt ends, poor man’s burnt ends are just as great an option for a get-together. Poor man’s burnt ends use chuck roast instead of the brisket’s deckle, and can often be easier to cook due to its lighter weight. Other than a shorter cooking time, many of the ingredients are quite similar to brisket burnt ends. 

If you do want to learn a more unique way on how to make burnt ends, mix your own rub or marinade by combining olive oil, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, brown sugar and smoked paprika. If you want to use this marinade for your brisket too, these are the measurements used for three pounds of meat:

  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

Adjust the seasonings as needed before covering your chuck roast with it and setting it to rest for at least 15 minutes. After marinating, all that’s left is to barbecue!

How to cook burnt ends on your grill

How to make brisket burnt ends is much of the same process as making a poor man’s burnt ends. With both recipes, start by preheating your grill to 300 degrees Fahrenheit before closing the lid. If you want to add a smokier taste to the meat, add some of your choice of wood chips to a smoker box or over your coals. Season your meat and let it rest until the wood chips start to smoke.

There are two different ways you can start to grill them; either cutting the meat into bite-sized cubes just before you season it or after it's been grilled for the first time. Grilling a whole brisket deckle can take much longer than a whole chuck roast and will take anywhere between five to seven hours or more depending on how heavy it is. A three-pound chuck roast, on the other hand, only needs 45 minutes to an hour.

Once your grill’s been preheated, put your meat on the grate and let it cook until the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit to be completely safe to eat. Do be aware that if you’ve cut your meat into cubes, the time to cook will be much closer to 45 minutes, regardless of what cut of beef it is. Though the method for how to make burnt ends requires some charring, the internal temperature still needs to be high enough.

After that, take the meat off and cut it into cubes if it isn’t already. Place the cubes in a pan and toss them with your sauce and broth before setting them aside for a few minutes. After that, wrap the top of the pan with foil and place it back onto your hot grill for 15 to 20 minutes. This will caramelize the sauce and add a bit more char to it, so keep an eye out for any excess smoke. Once it’s done, let the meat rest before serving.


Though many barbecuers use a smoker to make burnt ends, you don’t always need a smoker to make it. With a smoker box for a gas grill and a handful or so of wood chips, you can easily make great burnt ends without the need for a smoker and much quicker as well. Regardless of whether you’re making brisket or poor man’s burnt ends, cutting the pieces ahead of time can be a slight hassle but can definitely cut your grilling time down.