Originally Posted by kcquer
We're obviously running into some regional differences in what defines a burnt end...
I think regional
is the key work here. The story I've heard in Texas was that they were a way to sell the scraps from the slicing table, and later on the points were used too because of demand. I'm like you and prefer them with a lot of meat from the point, but the scraps go in mine too. I also reduce them in sauce, and that is not always the case in Texas, where they may be served with sauce on the side.
For other points of view, here are a few words from Bill Wight's FAQ:
Jeff is from New England, and Danny is from the Southwest. I am not familiar with Jim McGrath.
Jim McGrath and Danny Gaulden--
The burnt ends of a brisket come about two ways. As stated above:
"...You can now trim the fat off the point and chop up the point meat, or you can return the point to your smoker and continue smoking it for 4 to 6 more hours to render the fat". This will produce the very intensely smoke-flavored "burnt ends". (EDIT - the sentence above was from earlier in the article, they are not implying 2 cooks) They can be made on purpose by returning the point to the smoker for another 4-6 hours and they can result from the thinner parts of the brisket's flat getting overcooked during the smoking process. The burnt ends are usually rather dry and very smoky tasting. These can be served thinly sliced with lots of BBQ sauce or chopped up and used in dishes like chili, stews and soups.
I asked Jake, at Jake's Boss BBQ, certainly one of the best establishment Q'ers in New England, what was his definition of burnt ends. Here's what he said: "Traditionally, in Texas, the first cut on the flat and the point were not considered good sandwich or serving pieces. Those pieces were put away until quite a few briskets had produced enough 'first cuts' to chop and mix with BBQ sauce. One day a week, the menu would then feature 'burnt ends'. . . and the price was right!" Then he went on to say: "Nowadays, because of the popularity of burnt ends, the whole brisket is used. Both the flat and point are roughly chopped and sizzled in a large pan over very high heat for a few
minutes before adding BBQ sauce."
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