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BBQ's Black Sheep: The Burnt End

a close up of food

How did the Burnt Ends become famous?

When people talk about BBQ, you hear plenty about the usual suspects. Brisket, Pulled Pork, Sausages, Ribs, Chicken, and of course, sides.

But today, I want to highlight the quiet kid in the corner who brings 'em in droves. Imagine you pack all the flavor you can into little bits that don't look good enough to Instagram, and you get the burnt end.

Burnt ends are the bringing together of two forces. The first force is waste. BBQ is the food of poor people, so they committed to using every bit of protein they could. The second force is profit. Any BBQ restaurant owner needs to maximize any product that people may want to buy.

The history of the burnt end starts in both the southern states and Kansas City. Every brisket gets set up the same way on a cutting board. You slice through the brisket, and the burnt ends would be the pieces around the edge that had gotten harder. In the old days, they would be discarded.

Eventually, some people got smart. They started to hand out those burnt ends to the people that were coming up in line so they would get a taste. This kept the customers from getting bored standing there watching the guys in front of them get their mix. So that's how it started.

Then the burnt ends became famous! After nibbling on them in line, everybody wanted to get the burnt ends. So then BBQ restaurants started making them specifically by taking that big part of the point muscle (the big 'V' that the people at the factory left on there for us) and cutting that off.

It's beautiful meat! It's so marbled and rich. So, we'll trim the fat off that and make little inch-and-a-half cubes out of it. And then we'll just salt and pepper it the same way we do the brisket. And, of course, since they're smaller, the whole process is accelerated, so it doesn't take us as long to make burnt ends. But that's the piece of that brisket that's up on top and part of it kind of sticks up so if you don't take it off and put it in the pit, it'll just burn up because it's too thin. There are a bunch of pieces and issues with it, but if you do what we're talking about, then it becomes this wonderful unique item that you can provide to people.

So that is the history and process behind the burnt ends. Once again, the story of BBQ is a story of taking something tough and discarded and turning it into something beautiful.

Stop by and see us soon, and don't forget to think about BBQ2U for your next catered event. You won't regret it, and your guests won't be able to stop talking about it.

In a good sense, of course…