You won’t be able to eat just one or two of these perfectly caramelized and sticky Poor Man’s Burnt Ends. Your taste buds can’t decide whether to savor each bite or to rush and get another one as these are tender and melt in your mouth.
If you have ever made burnt ends with brisket, hot dogs, bologna, or pork belly, you know these smoked chuck roast burnt tips are packed with flavor and it’s hard to resist eating just a couple. Using a chuck roast can often times *but not all* bring down the cost of making burnt ends depending on where you live or what the meat prices are running in your area.
Either way, these little smoked beef bites stand beautifully on their own.
🍽️ Why This Works
Flexible | Depending on the size of the chuck roast you prepare, you can make a large batch of burnt ends for game day or a block party or make a smaller, two pound roast that will serve a couple of people (yes, that sounds crazy until you try these puppies and then there is no sharing) on a lazy Saturday night.
Versatile | There are so many ways to mix this up using the same base recipe. The magic is really in the sauce. As long as the sauce has a good amount of sugar to help make it sticky, create a combination that you and your family will love.
Smoked Chuck Roast
Chuck Roast | Look for one that has a lot of fat cut off but still has good marbling. The size of the beef will determine how long this is going to take. A smaller roast will take less time to smoke than a larger one, obviously. If you are serving a lot of people, consider buying two smaller roasts to cut down the cooking time.
Smoked Burnt Ends
Smoked Chuck Roast | Using the roast you just smoked.
Butter | If you are sensitive to salt, grab the unsalted variety.
Brown Sugar | Either light or dark will work. The dark has more molasses in it so it will be a darker and more richer flavor.
BBQ Sauce | Use whichever variety you like for this. Choose your favorite homemade or jarred version. You won’t be using a ton but make sure you love the flavor.
Honey | This makes it sticky and gooey but is optional, if you want to leave it out.
Soy Sauce | The soy sauce will give it a little bit of a punch that will offset the sweetness.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Smoker | We cranked up our Big Green Egg for this one, but this recipe works the same if you have a Traeger, Char Broil, Camp Chef, Masterbuilt or Weber. It is really flexible.
Internal Thermometer | Make sure that you keep an eye on the temperatures as you don’t want to pull this too soon and it also helps you gauge when you have reached the magic 205 degree mark. We love using wireless thermometers but if you have a regular meat version, that works great too as long as it can reach 205 for the burnt ends.
Disposable Aluminum Pan | These 8×8 pans are used when cooking the burnt ends. You won’t want to use anything in your kitchen as this is going to get messy and nasty for clean up.
Pink Butcher’s Paper | I buy a large roll of this and keep on hand for wrapping meats on the grill.
Step One: Heat up smoker to 250-275°.
Step Two: Sprinkle a generous amount of your favorite BBQ rub on the chuck roast. Place it on the smoker and close the lid. Let it smoke for about three hours to start. Every time you open the lid, the temperature drops and it will take longer, so be patient!
Note: While I do include times in the recipe, you should shoot for the temperatures instead of the time. I have had roasts cook much more quickly, and much more slowly. It is the temperatures that should drive this.
Step Three: If the outside of the roast is getting dry and hard looking, spray it with some apple cider vinegar. Ours was nice and juicy.
Step Four: Once the roast has developed a bark (which should be when the meat reaches 165-170°), wrap it up in pink butcher’s paper and put it back on the smoker. Don’t change the temperature of the smoker and let it continue to cook until it reaches 195°.
Step Five: Remove the wrapped roast and allow to rest 15 minutes. Cut it into one inch pieces and place them in the aluminum pan. Add in the butter, brown sugar, honey and enough BBQ sauce to coat (but not to make the meat swim in sauce). Start with ¼ to ⅓ cup of sauce. Stir to combine it all and cover with foil.
Step Six: Take the aluminum pan back to the smoker and continue to cook until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 205°. This time can vary from 50 minutes to 120 minutes. Stir it occasionally to make sure the meat remains evenly coated.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
If you are short on time, cut the chuck roast up into one inch squares and place them on a baking sheet with a baking rack on it. This technique will cut down the smoking time considerably and allow you to get to the making the sticky sauce portion of the burnt ends much faster.
Don’t put in too much sauce as it will stay soupy.
Make sure to cut the pieces around the same size so they cook uniformly.
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
If there are any left after you smoke these bad boys, store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days (that won’t happen!) in a sealed container.
Reheat in the microwave on 30 second intervals as there is a lot of sugar which splatters when it gets too hot in the microwave. Make sure to cover it for easy clean up.
Additions and Substitutions
For the sauce, add in beer, cola, Worcestershire sauce or a few splashes of hot sauce. This is always fun to customize based on your family’s taste preferences.
I will note that the Worcestershire sauce is one of my favorite add-ins. It really helps the sauce develop a deep flavor profile and makes this extremely rich and tasty.
Meat | This same concept can be used with brisket or pork belly.
Sauce | The possibilities are endless here. Making your own Dr Pepper Sauce, Beer BBQ Sauce or Smoked Bourbon BBQ Sauce is a perfect way to make this one off the charts but never discount a good jarred sauce like Stubbs or Sweet Baby Ray’s.
Rubs | Always choose a rub that you love or feel free to start testing some out. Homemade rubs can’t be beat like the ones we have done on our Smoked Chuck Roast, All Purpose Rub or the Beer Can Chicken Rub.
These smoked burnt ends are amazing to serve on their own as a full meal, as a snack while watching movies, or a special treat for a game day.
Game Day and Tailgating
Block Party, BBQ or Cookout
❓ Recipe FAQ
This comes from the bark of the brisket point. These usually carry more fatty content and will take longer to smoke. The longer time suggested a term of “burnt ends” so people cut them off and make them into burnt ends by making a sticky BBQ sauce mixture that will end up tasting like candy.
Many people also refer to them as BBQ nuggets.
Traditionally, they are made from the point end of brisket but BBQ fans love to turn hot dogs, chuck roasts, bologna and pork belly all into burnt ends.
After smoking the meat of choice, start by cutting them into one inch cubes, top with 4 oz of sliced butter and drizzle BBQ sauce on top. Stir to combine. Make sure it is not too wet as it’s difficult to get it to caramelize.
This is also the time where you can make your own BBQ sauce, use your own favorite homemade rubs and add in hot sauce, habanero sauce or anything you like.
Cover the chuck roast with a dry rub. Heat up the oven to 275°. Place the chuck roast (or brisket) on a sheet pan with baking rack in the oven for about three hours, look for an internal temperature of 170°.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool and then cut into one inch chunks. Place them in an aluminum pan. Add in the butter, sauce and other items and stir. Place in a hot oven of 400-425° and cook for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until they are crispy and sticky.
The best way to do this no matter which meat you choose is to cut the meat into 1 to 1.5 inch chunks and place them on a quarter baking sheet raised with a baking rack and allow to smoke this way until they are crispy. Then proceed to put them in the aluminum foil pan with the butter, sauce and anything else you like. The remainder of the recipe will stay the same.
We like to use a half sheet or quarter sheet pan + baking rack for this purpose and keep one set just for our grilling and smoking.
These are done at 205°. This high temperature allows all the connective tissues to break down and result in an extremely tender meal.
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Poor Man’s Burnt Ends
- Pink Butcher's Paper
- Disposable Aluminum Pans
Smoked Chuck Roast
- 3 lb Chuck Roast
- ¼ cup BBQ Rub your choice
Smoked Poor Man's Burnt Ends
- ⅓ cup BBQ Sauce your choice, might want a bit more
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar
- 2 tbsp Honey
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 4 tbsp Cold Butter sliced
- apple cider vinegar optional, only if roast appears to be drying out
- Heat up the smoker to 250-275°. Add your favorite wood chips.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of your favorite BBQ rub on the chuck roast. Place on the smoker and close the lid. You may want/need more than the ¼ cup. Use your judgement to fully cover the roast.
- Place on the smoker and smoke for 2.5-3 hours and check on it.
- If the outside of the roast appears dry, spray with apple cider vinegar. Don't do this if the outside of yours IS NOT dry. Ours had a lot of fat and was wet but if yours is dry18, spritz it a bit.
- Once the roast has developed a bark (which should be between 165-170°), wrap it up with pink butcher's paper and put it back on the smoker. Don't change the temperature of the smoker. Smoke this wrapped until it reaches 195°.
- Remove the wrapped roast and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Cut into one inch pieces and place them in the disposable aluminum pan. Add in four tablespoons of butter, ¼ cup of brown sugar, 1-2 tbsp of honey and enough BBQ sauce to coat. Adding too much will make it soupy. Start with ¼ to ⅓ cup of sauce. Stir to combine it all and cover with foil.
- Take back to the smoker and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 205°. This time can vary from 50 minutes to 120 minutes.