Poor Man’s Burnt Ends Recipe 2023: Treat Yourself Like a King


Are you an earnest food lover yearning for an extravagant barbecue delight, but find yourself wrangling with a modest budget? You’re in luck! 

We’re serving up a recipe that transforms a humble cut into a feast fit for a king — Poor Man’s Burnt Ends. With the conventional choice for burnt ends being the pricier brisket, we’re taking a refreshing detour.

This incredibly flavorful and affordable cut is our secret weapon in creating a barbecue treat that marries luxury with thriftiness. This recipe is a culinary symphony that strikes the perfect chord between smoky, sweet, and savory notes, creating a textural and flavor experience that’ll make your palate sing. 

Are you ready to embark on an epicurean adventure that transforms an everyday cut into a treat of royal proportions? Hold onto your aprons, as we dive headfirst into the exquisite and budget-friendly world of the Poor Man’s Burnt Ends.

What are Poor Man’s Burnt Ends?

making poor mans

The term ‘Burnt Ends’ was born in the world of traditional Kansas City-style barbecue. This dish initially featured the flavorful ‘point’ end of smoked brisket, a section that, due to its high-fat content, would often get more ‘done’ or ‘burnt’ than the rest of the brisket.

Over time, these rich, caramelized chunks of meat became a delicacy in their own right, relished for their intense smoky flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. However, brisket isn’t the most budget-friendly cut of meat, and burnt ends, given their popularity and limited availability, tend to come with a hefty price tag.

Enter the Poor Man’s Burnt Ends, an ingenious twist on the classic that brings the heavenly taste of burnt ends within everyone’s reach. The secret behind Poor Man’s Burnt Ends lies in a simple swap — replacing the expensive brisket with a more affordable chuck roast.

The Difference Between Brisket and Chuck Roast

Both brisket and chuck roast are beef cuts, but they differ in terms of texture, flavor, and origin. The brisket, sourced from the cow’s lower chest, is a large, tough cut.

It possesses a deep, beefy flavor that’s drawn out through long, slow cooking methods like smoking or braising. Traditionally, the fattier ‘point’ end of the brisket is used for making burnt ends.

Conversely, the chuck roast comes from the shoulder region. Although also tough, it has a robust flavor and greater versatility.

Its intramuscular fat makes it a good fit for Poor Man’s Burnt Ends, achieving a crispy exterior and tender interior through the right smoking and cooking techniques.

What to Expect?

But don’t let the name fool you.  While the price might be ‘poor’, the taste is nothing short of ‘rich’. With the right techniques and flavors, you can coax a humble chuck roast into delivering all the smoky, caramelized goodness that defines burnt ends.

The process involves smoking the chuck roast, enhancing its flavors with a BBQ rub and smoke, then cooking it to tenderness with beef broth. The roast is then cut into cubes, further smoked with a generous coat of sugar, honey, and butter, and finally glazed with a tangy BBQ sauce.


meat for recipe

The first step towards our rich-yet-affordable barbecue delicacy involves gathering the ingredients. Below is a list of everything you’ll need:

  • 4 lbs chuck roast
  • Your preferred BBQ rub
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Unsalted butter

Rubbing and Smoking


Before we delve into the heart of our culinary journey, let’s unveil the secret behind the intense flavor profile of our Poor Man’s Burnt Ends: the BBQ rub. This simple yet transformative mixture is the foundation upon which we build the characteristic flavors of our barbecue.

Whether you opt for a store-bought blend or decide to create your own, this is your chance to infuse a signature touch into your burnt ends. How about a pro tip?

Combine equal parts of paprika, brown sugar, black pepper, salt, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder to create a rub that’s a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and savory. Once the chuck roast has come up to room temperature, massage the rub into it, ensuring every side is generously coated.

Then, it’s time for the magic of the smoker. Preheat your trusted smoker to 275°F (135°C), position the roast on the grates, and let the smoke weave its flavorful tapestry for approximately 3 hours.

Wrapping and Cooking

wrapping and cooking

By this stage, your chuck roast should be boasting a stunning mahogany hue, a testament to the flavor journey it has begun. Remove it from the smoker and nestle it onto a large sheet of aluminum foil.

Pour in the beef broth. This is not merely a step; it’s a flavor strategy, the broth acting as a tenderizing agent, accelerating the cooking while ensuring the roast retains its succulence.

Seal the foil snugly around the roast, and using the thermometer, ensure that the meat reaches an internal temperature of 195°F (90.5°C). This will help you achieve the perfect level of tenderness and doneness for your roast.

Crafting the Burnt Ends

Poor Man's Burnt Ends cutting

Once the roast has done its time, let it rest for 15 minutes, allowing the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. Then, slice it into 1-inch cubes and arrange these onto a large foil tray.

It’s time to elevate our flavor game: sprinkle the cubes with brown sugar, drizzle them with honey, and place dollops of unsalted butter over them. This trifecta of sweet, savory, and buttery will make your burnt ends irresistibly decadent.

Return the tray to the smoker for another 1-2 hours. By the end of this phase, you’ll be gazing at a tray of glossy, caramelized chunks, each one a testimony to your barbecue craftsmanship.

Final Glazing


The crowning glory of our Poor Man’s Burnt Ends comes with the final glaze. Remove the tray from the smoker and douse the caramelized chunks in your preferred BBQ sauce, ensuring each piece is lavishly coated.

Return the tray to the smoker for about 15 more minutes to let the sauce caramelize into a sticky-sweet glaze, the kind that makes these burnt ends truly unforgettable. There you have it!

With some patience, love, and the alchemy of smoke and spice, you’ve turned a humble chuck roast into a platter of exquisite, smoke-kissed jewels, a feast fit for a king, yet kind to your budget.

Making it Your Own

The true charm of the Poor Man’s Burnt Ends is its welcoming canvas, inviting you to impart your individual culinary flair. This is a dish that celebrates diversity and encourages you to play with flavors, making it uniquely ‘you’.

Are you a fan of heat that tickles your tongue and warms your soul? Bring in some chipotle powder to your rub, or swathe your meat chunks in a fiery BBQ sauce.

Each bite will then carry a spark of heat, igniting a flavor explosion in your mouth. Maybe your taste buds lean towards the exotic allure of Asian cuisine.

Why not add a dash of five-spice into the mix, and substitute the brown sugar with the sweet and savory notes of hoisin sauce? This fusion approach will add an unexpected but delightful twist, transforming your traditional barbecue into a multicultural culinary adventure.

But don’t stop here. The spectrum of flavors waiting to be explored is vast and thrilling. Ever thought of adding a touch of coffee or dark chocolate to your rub for a deeper flavor profile?

Or how about a hint of citrus zest for a refreshing aftertaste? The sky’s the limit.

In the world of barbecue, the Poor Man’s Burnt Ends is more than a budget-friendly feast; it’s a creative journey, an invitation to curate a flavor experience that resonates with your unique palate. And this creative freedom, my friends, is what makes every barbecue a memorable feast, every meal a celebration of your individuality.


Can I use a different type of meat for this recipe?

While the traditional Poor Man’s Burnt Ends recipe calls for pork shoulder, you can certainly experiment with other cuts of meat like beef chuck roast or even chicken thighs. However, keep in mind that the cooking time and seasoning might need adjustments based on the meat you choose.

Is it necessary to use a smoker for this recipe?

No, it’s not necessary, but using a smoker adds a wonderful smoky flavor to the dish. If you don’t have a smoker, you can achieve great results using the oven. However, if you’re a fan of smokier flavors, consider adding wood chips to your charcoal or using a smoking box for your gas grill.

Can I make the recipe in advance?

Yes, you can make the Poor Man’s Burnt Ends in advance. Once cooked, let them cool to room temperature, then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the oven or microwave when ready to serve.

Are there any side dishes that pair well with Poor Man’s Burnt Ends?

Absolutely! Some popular side dishes to accompany Poor Man’s Burnt Ends include coleslaw, baked beans, cornbread, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, and pickles. These sides complement the rich and smoky flavors of the burnt ends.

Can I freeze the leftovers?

Yes, you can freeze the leftovers. Place the cooled burnt ends in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag and store them in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. To thaw, transfer the container to the refrigerator overnight and then reheat as desired.

How can I ensure the meat stays tender and juicy?

To keep the meat tender and juicy, it’s essential not to overcook it. Be mindful of the cooking time and use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Once the pork reaches an internal temperature of around 195°F (90°C), it should be tender and succulent. Additionally, using a flavorful BBQ sauce and the basting liquid will help retain moisture and enhance the taste.

The Grand Finale

In a world where we often equate quality with cost, the Poor Man’s Burnt Ends stands as a testament to the fact that flavor isn’t about price tags; it’s about passion, creativity, and a touch of smoke-infused magic.

So, as we bring this culinary adventure to a close, remember this: every budget is an opportunity, every meal a celebration, and every bite a chance to travel to unexplored flavor destinations. Embrace the journey, savor the flavors, and remember, in your hands lies the power to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Happy barbecuing!

Helen Cervantes

Helen Cervantes

Besides her brilliant talent, she has developed a massive interest in kitchenware and gadgets. You can entrust her insightful understanding of knives, can openers, cooking pots and many other kinds of stuff.
Related Posts