DIVAS ON A DIME: Start grilling season with twist on burnt ends

By Patti Diamond

Heaven on earth: Burnt ends on a toasted bun with bread-and-butter pickles and pickled onions.(Photo Credit: www.JasonCoblentz.com)

The Memorial Day weekend is a time for recognition and gratitude as we honor the veterans who have given their lives for our country. For many families, this remembrance weekend also signals the official beginning of grilling season.

My social circle is swarming with barbeque fanatics. When we get together, we usually slow smoke a whole brisket, and the most coveted of all pieces are the “burnt ends.”

I’ll explain: Burnt ends are the smokey, chewy, crispy edges cut from a slow smoked brisket. They’re from the fattiest, juiciest part of the brisket, coated with BBQ sauce then caramelized. It’s truly meat candy.

Back in the day, BBQ joints would collect burnt end trimmings from briskets during the week and serve them as a Friday night special. Well, it became such a hit many restaurants started featuring them on their regular menus. What started as scraps became the star of the show!

There are two problems with traditional brisket burnt ends: time and cost. So, we’re going to use chuck roast instead of brisket. Brisket can take up to 18 hours to cook, while chuck roast takes about five hours. Chuck roast and brisket usually cost about the same per pound, but a brisket will weigh between 10 and 16 pounds, and our recipe uses a 4-pound chuck roast. We’re going to satisfy our barbeque craving at a fraction of the time and cost.

This recipe starts on the grill or smoker, then to save time we’ll finish cooking in the oven. To make every bite into burnt ends we cut the cooked roast into small pieces, add barbeque sauce and return to the oven until everything is caramelized, chewy and falling-apart tender.



Yield: 4-6 servings  Time: 5 hours


1 (3 to 4 pound) chuck roast

Dry rub, your favorite or recipe below

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce


  1. Season your chuck roast on all sides with dry rub.
  2. Preheat your smoker or BBQ grill within the range of 200 F to 225 F. If smoking, use hickory, oak or mesquite wood. Place the roast in the smoker or grill over indirect heat until it reaches a temperature of 165 F, approximately 2 hours.
  3. At this time, preheat your oven to 250 F. Remove the roast and place in a disposable aluminum baking pan and cover with foil. Bake in the oven until it reaches 195 F to 203 F, approximately 2 hours. Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Raise the oven temperature to 300 F. Cut the roast into 1-inch chunks. Put it back in the baking pan and sprinkle with brown sugar. Drizzle 1/2 cup BBQ sauce over the meat and toss gently to coat. Cover the pan with foil. Put it back in the oven for 1 hour. Incidentally, this is what heaven smells like.
  5. Remove from the oven, add the remaining 2 tablespoons sauce, gently toss again, and return to the oven uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes to caramelize the sauce.
  6. Serve on toasted buns with bread-and-butter pickles and pickled onions. Grill some corn on the cob, make coleslaw, and call it good!




Per each pound of meat:

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper


In a small bowl, mix all ingredients.


NOTE: Cook to temperature, not to time. Low and slow gives us time to raise a glass in honor of those who gave their all for our freedom.


Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website “Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com


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