Meat candy. We’re talking burnt ends — the sweet, smoky, crispy end pieces of a brisket that are mouthwateringly good.
And with the Kansas City Chiefs heading to the Super Bowl, it seems only fitting to pay homage to these savory treats that hail from the team’s hometown.
Originally, burnt ends were simply the burnt crusty trimmings cut off the brisket point, according to Steven Raichlen, cookbook author and founder of Barbecue University.
“They were served for free to customers at the head of the waiting line at Arthur Bryant’s in Kansas City,” he said. “In other words, free scrap food.”
That free food became popularized by the Kansas City smokehouse.
“Today, Kansas City pit masters cut the point off the flat ends of the brisket and barbecue them separately,” he said, “adding lots of sweet barbecue sauce, which turns burnt ends into a sort of smoky meat candy.”
In butchering speak, the whole brisket is a large flat muscle that has a triangle shape. The broader square end is called the flat and is a leaner section. The other end of the triangle is known as the point. It is more tender because it contains a bit more internal fat marbling. And, in addition to the tenderness that fat provides, it also adds flavor, which makes it a desirable sweet bite-size burnt ends snack.
Burnt ends arrived in Springs in 2005 when Randy Price, founder of Rocky Mountain Restaurant Group, opened Slayton’s Barbecue & Creamery in Rockrimmon. Having grown up in Kansas City, he knew how to get the job done.
“We smoked the brisket for 12 to 15 hours on apple and hickory wood at Slayton’s,” he said.
When the brisket was removed, the ends were cut off, weighing about a pound each. Those pieces went back in the smoker for another three to five hours, then were removed and cut into cubes. The cubes were cooled and reheated, then tossed with Slayton’s house-made barbecue sauce — a recipe of molasses, Worcestershire, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and other spices.
Price moved Slayton’s downtown in 2007 and turned it into an Urban Egg in 2014. So, on Super Bowl Sunday, he said he may head over to Slinger’s Smokehouse & Saloon, 5853 Palmer Park Blvd., for some burnt ends.
Jay DesRoches, one of Slinger’s owners, is the pit master who smokes brisket daily. The menu has the Burnt End Jar, “everyone’s favorite snack,” he said, and a burnt ends sandwich with pickles and onion straws.
If you have your own smoker, there’s no better time to fire it up for some serious Kansas City burnt ends — even if you’re not rooting for the Chiefs. Following is Raichlen’s recipe from his “The Brisket Chronicles” cookbook.
The recipe is based on one by Tuffy Stone, a French-trained chef turned “BBQ Pitmasters” reality TV star. Raichlen says no one makes burnt ends better than Stone.
“Tuffy’s burnt ends are a triumph of the new style burnt ends, fusing the perfect ratio of smoke and spice, meat and sweet into a morsel you can eat in a single bite,” Raichlen writes in his cookbook.
“But one thing is for sure: you can’t eat just a single one of his burnt ends.”
Price gets the final words: “Go Chiefs!”
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This content was originally published here.