Burnt ends are flavorful pieces of meat cut from the "point" half of a smoked brisket. When brisket muscles are separated, the lean "first cut" or "flat cut" is the deep pectoral, while the fattier "point", also known as the "second cut", "fat end", or "triangular cut", is the superficial pectoral. A traditional part of Kansas City barbecue, burnt ends are considered a delicacy in barbecue cooking. Either the entire brisket is cooked whole, then the point end removed and cooked further, or the point and flat are separated prior to cooking. Due to the higher fat content of the brisket point, it takes longer to fully cook to tender and render out fat and collagen. This longer cooking gave rise to the name "burnt ends". Sometimes when the flat is done, the point is returned to the smoker for further cooking. Some cooks re-season the point at this time.
Kansas City style burnt ends are usually served cubed with sauce either on top or on the side. A "proper" burnt end should display a modest amount of "bark" or char on at least one side. Burnt ends can be served alone (sometimes smothered in barbecue sauce) or in sandwiches, as well as in a variety of other dishes, including baked beans and gumbo.
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