Learn how to make Crock Pot Burnt Ends right in the comfort of your own kitchen using your slow cooker! With a perfectly seasoned brisket and a touch of barbecue magic, you’ll make the best-tasting burnt ends without a smoker!
If you've ever been to a BBQ restaurant, you may see burnt ends on the menu. Burnt ends are essentially the flavorful, caramelized gems that come from the pointed end of a smoked brisket. These meaty bites are known for their crispy, charred exterior and tender, juicy interior. They're rich in flavor and have a sweet and savory taste. Traditionally, burnt ends are made by smoking the brisket until it's tender, then cutting the point into cubes, seasoning them, and returning them to the smoker for that irresistible smoky finish.
And while you may not have a smoker (or the time) to make burnt ends from scratch, the crock pot is an excellent tool for achieving perfect burnt ends with much less effort! Simply season a brisket point, slow-cook it until tender, cube it, and then toss those heavenly bites in BBQ sauce and brown sugar for a familiar caramelized finish.
Enjoy them as a savory appetizer, piled high on a sandwich for a hearty meal, or even as a topping for loaded baked potatoes. Whether you're hosting a backyard BBQ, a game day gathering, or just craving some BBQ comfort food, slow cooker burnt ends are the perfect addition to any occasion!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- With a crock pot, you can effortlessly create mouthwatering burnt ends without the need for a smoker or constant monitoring.
- These burnt ends are a perfect blend of smoky, sweet, and savory, making them a crowd-pleasing favorite for anyone who enjoys the taste of barbecue.
- With just a handful of simple ingredients and minimal hands-on time, you'll be rewarded with tender, caramelized beef bites that are perfect for any occasion.
- Whether you prefer them as an appetizer, sandwich filling, or a flavorful topping, this recipe offers endless possibilities for enjoying.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Brisket Point - (also called the deckle) serves as the main protein source, offering rich, marbled meat that becomes tender and flavorful during the slow-cooking process.
- Salt & Pepper - Provide the essential foundation of flavor, enhancing the taste of the brisket and balancing the sweetness of the BBQ sauce and brown sugar.
- Garlic Powder - Adds depth and a mild garlicky aroma, contributing to the overall savory profile of the burnt ends.
- Mustard Powder - Lends a subtle tangy and slightly spicy note, elevating the complexity of flavors in each delicious bite.
- BBQ Sauce - Brings the iconic smoky-sweet flavor that burnt ends are known for, creating a luscious, sticky glaze as it caramelizes during the final stage of cooking.
- Brown Sugar - Complements the BBQ sauce by infusing the burnt ends with a sweet and sticky richness.
How To Make Burnt Ends In The Crock Pot
Prepare the brisket: If using a whole brisket, you’ll need to detach the point from the flat. Use a sharp knife to slice along the tough white fat seam that divides these two muscle sections. Eliminate any residual hard fat and reduce the thickness of the upper-fat cap to approximately ¼ inch.
Mix the dry rub: In a small bowl, add black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and mustard powder. Whisk until well combined. Rub the mixture onto all sides of the prepared brisket point.
Cover and cook: Add the seasoned brisket to the bottom of the crock pot. Add the lid on top and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or until the brisket reaches 195℉ internal temperature.
Add BBQ sauce: Remove the cooked brisket and let it rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes. Use a sharp knife to cut into 1 ½ inch cubes, then add them back into the crock pot. Pour the BBQ sauce in and toss to coat fully. Cook for an additional 60 minutes.
Remove and serve: Once the BBQ sauce caramelizes onto the meat, remove from the crock pot and serve with your favorite side dishes and a slice of white bread. Enjoy!
- When selecting a brisket point, look for one with a generous marbling of fat, as this fat will render down during cooking, keeping the meat tender and flavorful.
- Use a meat thermometer to accurately monitor the internal temperature of the brisket. Remove it from the crock pot when it reaches 195℉ for optimal tenderness.
- Resting the cooked brisket for 5 minutes before cubing it allows the juices to redistribute to keep it moist and tender.
- When cutting the brisket into cubes, aim for 1½-inch pieces. This size provides the perfect balance between caramelization and tenderness.
- Consider using your favorite homemade BBQ sauce for a personalized touch, or opt for a store-bought variety that suits your taste preferences.
- While the burnt ends are in the crock pot for the final hour, stir occasionally to ensure that the sauce evenly coats each piece, creating a glaze.
- Serve your crock pot burnt ends with classic BBQ sides like coleslaw, cornbread, or baked beans for a well-rounded and satisfying meal.
- Add a dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce to the BBQ sauce mixture for a fiery twist on your burnt ends.
- Substitute brown sugar with pure maple syrup for a unique and slightly sweet maple-infused flavor.
- Replace mustard powder with honey mustard for a tangy-sweet alternative that adds depth to the dish.
- Mix in some chipotle chili powder and smoked paprika for a smoky, spicy flavor profile.
- Enhance the sweetness by incorporating fruit preserves, such as peach or apricot, into your BBQ sauce mixture.
- Swap out brown sugar for molasses to create a deeper, richer, and slightly bitter flavor profile that pairs wonderfully with the smokiness of the burnt ends.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: To store leftover burnt ends, place them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. When reheating, you can either use the microwave for a quick warm-up or pop them back into the crock pot on low until heated through.
Freezing: Arrange cooled burnt ends in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Then, transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer-safe bag or container, separating layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking. They can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. When ready to use, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and reheat as desired.
While the brisket point is traditionally used for burnt ends due to its rich marbling, you can experiment with other cuts like chuck roast or pork shoulder for a unique twist. Just adjust the cooking time as needed.
While a leaner brisket may not yield the same level of richness, you can still make burnt ends. Just be sure to monitor the cooking time carefully, as leaner cuts can become dry if overcooked. Basting with BBQ sauce during the cooking process can help retain moisture.
Crock pot burnt ends can be prepared in advance and reheated before serving. Just store them in the refrigerator and gently reheat them in the oven or a crock pot on low to ensure they stay tender and flavorful.
Crock Pot Burnt Ends
- To prepare a whole packer brisket, detach the point from the flat. Do this by carefully slicing along the tough white fat seam that divides these two muscle sections. For the brisket point, eliminate any residual hard fat and reduce the thickness of the upper-fat cap to approximately ¼ inch.
- In a small bowl, add black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and mustard powder. Whisk until well combined. Season all sides of the brisket point. Then, place the brisket in the crock pot.
- Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until the brisket reaches 195℉ internal temperature.
- Remove brisket and let rest for 5 minutes. Then, cut into 1½-inch cubes. Add back into the crock pot along with the BBQ sauce and brown sugar. Toss to coat.
- Continue to cook for 1 additional hour.
- Remove the caramelized burnt ends from the crock pot and serve with your favorite sides or over a toasted piece of white bread.
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.