Are Brisket Burnt Ends Fatty? [A Look At What They Are & Popularity]

Brisket burnt ends are said to be the very best part of the brisket. What began as an off-cut from the brisket has gained popularity as a tasty treat. But, while brisket burnt ends are truly something special, are brisket burnt ends fatty, and what exactly is a brisket burnt end anyway?

Brisket burnt ends are tasty pieces of meat cut from the point section of a smoked brisket. Originally discarded as they were considered too fatty, burnt ends are now considered a delicacy. Burnt ends are fatty, but the fat is necessary for making the burnt ends delicious and juicy.

are brisket burnt ends fatty

The brisket is a thick, tough, rich cut of meat that must be cooked with care and skill to produce tasty, tender meat. If the brisket is cooked well, there is no cut of beef better. 

The burnt ends are a large part of what makes the brisket so delicious. So let’s take the time to understand brisket burnt ends.

What Are Brisket Burnt Ends?

Brisket burnt ends are the crispy pieces of meat at the pointed end of the brisket that have been slightly charred during the smoking process. 

Smoking brisket takes a very long time, and the outer layer of the brisket becomes somewhat burned and crispy. Burnt ends are pieces of the burnt outer edges of the brisket.

They were originally off-cuts from processing the smoked brisket that was given away as tasters, snacks, or scraps when the brisket was cut for serving. 

The burnt ends have now become one of the most coveted and craved portions of the brisket. 

So whare makes good brisket burnt ends? What should they taste like, and what makes them so iconic? 

Before telling you what they taste like, you first have to understand where they come from and what has become of brisket burnt ends today.

The History Of Brisket Burnt Ends

Kansas City barbeque restaurants first developed brisket burnt ends. During the smoking process, the pointed end of the brisket would become charred, heavily caramelized, and crunchy, resulting in the burnt ends being considered unpalatable and tossed in the trash. 

Counter men in these barbeque restaurants realized how tasty these burnt ends were and began to cut the burnt brisket ends off the meat. Then, when slicing the brisket for serving, chop them into cubes, and hand them out to waiting for customers to pique their appetites.

Slowly but surely, customers in these restaurants began to enjoy the brisket burnt ends even more than the meals they ordered, and people would come in solely for the burnt ends.

The restaurateurs noticed this and began to sell the burnt ends as choice pieces of tasty meat. 

Soon, the demand for burnt ends overcame the supply, and the pitmasters had to develop a way to intentionally cook brisket burnt ends without relying on them being small off-cut sections of burnt brisket.

Thus, barbeque brisket burnt ends were born and have become not only a favorite but a delicacy among pitmasters and all lovers of barbeque.

This video from Meat Church BBQ talks about how they were started and the best way to make the perfect burnt ends.

Modern Brisket Burnt Ends

Since then, barbeque joints have been refined to become the brisket burnt ends that we know and love today. Modern burnt ends are specifically smoked to be burnt ends and are no longer off-cuts from a whole smoked brisket. 

The smoking process for producing burnt ends is similar to smoking an entire brisket. The only differences in the process are:

  • a slightly higher heat to render more fat and make the bark more burnt and crispy 
  • the resting time does not need to be as long for modern brisket burnt ends as for a whole brisket.

Are Brisket Burnt Ends Fatty?

A frequently asked question regarding brisket burnt ends is whether or not these delectable bites of meat are very fatty? 

Brisket burnt ends are fatty. However, some are fattier than others. The trouble with brisket is that the meat is incredibly thick, dense, and tough. Therefore, the meat is not inherently juicy and tender until after smoking.

One of the main reasons briskets are as juicy and tender after the smoking process is due to the meat’s high-fat content, especially the brisket’s point cut, which is the portion of the brisket used to make burnt ends.

The point cut of the brisket is filled with intramuscular fat that melts and renders during the long smoking process. It is covered in a layer of top fat. That crisps up under the bark of the brisket when smoked.

This fat content means that brisket burnt ends are fatty, and without this higher fat content, the burnt ends would not be nearly as good as we know them to be.

However, some barbeque restaurants remove more fat from the brisket than others, resulting in less fatty and, therefore, less crispy and tasty burnt ends. 

Let’s take a better look at both of these types of fat on the brisket burnt ends, and learn a little more about why they make the burnt ends so good.

Are Brisket Ends Healthy?

Because of the high content fat level, the fatty ends are not as healthy as the rest of the brisket. That said, you can still enjoy eating them, as long as they are eaten in moderation.

The Top Fat Layer On Burnt Ends

The top fat layer on brisket burnt ends is a major part of making the burnt ends so good. This fat layer on the point cut of the brisket used to make the burnt ends aids in protecting the meat from the intense heat within the smoker.

The thick layer of brisket fat keeps the meat moist and prevents burning. The fat also melts and renders into the meat, which helps to keep the meat juicy and tender.

The bark that builds up on the outside of the brisket binds to the outer layer of fat as the fat melts and renders, which means that without this thick layer of fat, brisket burnt ends would not have as much flavor, nor would the crust on the burnt ends be as crunchy and pleasant.

Intramuscular Brisket Fat

The intramuscular fat present in the point cut of brisket gives the burnt ends their flavor. This fat is also called marbling. It renders and melts within the meat while the brisket smokes, increasing the meat’s tenderness and significantly increasing the flavor.

This internally rendered fat makes the meat tender, juicy, flavorful and contributes to making the burnt ends as good as they are. Without the fat in a brisket, the burnt ends would not be anything special but would rather be very tough, dry, and almost inedible.

Final Word

Brisket burnt ends are fatty, but they would not be nearly as tasty and popular without the fat. 

Brisket burnt ends need the fat to render within to add flavor and moisture and the fat as an outer layer of the meat to protect it from the heat and promote the formation of good bark.

Burnt ends were once a slice of off-cut meat people threw away. But are now highly coveted and delicious morsels of the best barbeque beef in the world. 

There is nothing as good as brisket burnt ends if done right.

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