RecipesCooking Techniques

Burnt Ends with Bourbon Sauce

Burnt Ends with Bourbon Sauce

The crispy, caramelized "burnt" pieces of a smoked brisket are often the best part because the flavor is concentrated and the texture is pleasingly chewy. This recipe creates an entire baking tray of crispy pieces, so there are plenty to go around.


Horn Rub
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Bourbon Sauce
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) bourbon
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
Burnt Ends
  • 1 (4-pound) beef brisket point, fat cap trimmed to 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Horn Rub
  • 1 ½ cups Bourbon Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • White sandwich bread slices (optional)


Make the Horn Rub:
  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Set aside.

Make the Bourbon Sauce:
  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a medium saucepan until well combined. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and reduces by half, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside.

Make the Burnt Ends:
  1. Sprinkle brisket evenly with salt. Sprinkle evenly with Horn rub, gently massaging into brisket to adhere. Let stand at room temperature until ready to use.
  2. Prepare a charcoal fire in smoker according to manufacturer's instructions. Place oak chunks on coals. Maintain internal temperature at 250°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Smoke brisket, covered with smoker lid, until a thermometer inserted in center of brisket registers 150°F, about 4 hours. Remove brisket, and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Return brisket to smoker, and smoke, covered, until a thermometer inserted in brisket registers 185°F, about 2 hours.
  3. Remove brisket from smoker; unwrap and cut into 3/4-inch cubes, discarding any large seams of fat. Place brisket cubes in a deep 13- x 9-inch aluminum foil baking pan; add bourbon sauce, and stir to coat. Drizzle brisket evenly with honey.
  4. Increase smoker temperature to 275°F, adding more hot coals and wood chunks as needed. Place baking pan with brisket in smoker, and smoke, covered, until liquid has reduced and caramelized, 2 to 3 hours. Remove brisket from smoker, and serve immediately with white bread, if desired, and additional Bourbon Sauce, or cover and keep warm up to 30 minutes.

You Might Also Like...