Saturday, October 23, 2021

Burnt Ends

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Smokey, saucey and tender.

I love Instagram, and one day I scrolled and saw the same photo over and over for burnt ends.  I did some googling and today was our second attempt at this deliciousness!  When you look at recipes, many use brisket, pork belly, one even called for Waygu.  I made what is commonly referred to as Poor Man's Burnt Ends.  And frankly, the name sort of ticks me off.  I get it, chuck roast, which is what I used, isn't the most expensive cut of meat.  I wait for it to go on special at Whole that Prime discount, and I know it is thicker and better than a chain grocery meat counter.  It's a gorgeous hunk of meat, and in just a few hours, what a treat!

We have a couple Green Eggs, but when it comes to smoking, we really love this little bullet smoker from Home Depot. It's cheap and does a great job. We bought it when we needed more ribs smoked than the Green Egg coud handle, and now its the go-to smoker.  It's so easy to use, and any charcoal works for me.  While the little smoker was heating up, we basically rubbed the roast with dry rub.  I make my own, following a recipe from one of my favorite Insta accounts, Grilling 24X7.  This Dry Rub makes a great gift, and is delicious.  I skipped the cayenne and red pepper flakes as I am the only spice lover here.  

Smoker set up, we added a handful of applewood chips. 

Once the smoker was hot, 250 degrees is ideal, we put the meat on.  Our little smoker has the water in the bottom (add wood chips!) and a couple shelves.  We put the meat up top, and wiggled the vents to keep the heat constant.  It did get a little hot, and that isn't the way to cook this.  Low and slow so it falls apart is best.  I think that's the beauty of a chuck roast, there is a bit of fat, so it doesn't really get tough.  But, going slower and longer, it will fall apart, think pot roast....  It should smoke in there for a good 4 hours.  I only add wood chips at the beginning, if you use good charcoal it doesn't need more smoke in my opinion.  We may have gotten a little antsy, and hungry, so we pulled it after 2 1/2 hours.  It was cooked, but not perfectly tender.  Back on it went.  Be patient.  Pull it off at 4 hours and cool for half hour or so.  

This was 2 1/2 hours, we gave it a little longer....

The first time we made these, we wrapped it in foil after 3 hours and cooked it an hour more.  After reading opinions on this, I decided I liked the crispy exterior, and it gets lost when it's wrapped in foil.  Today we skipped the foil step and liked it better for sure.

This is one 3# roast, so the last stage goes faster in a single layer.

Cut the roast into cubes and put the meat in a foil pan with the sauce.  Many recipes suggest more rub at this point as well.  We did that the first time and felt like it was just too much rub, and we skipped that step today.  Most BBQ sauces have a fair amount of sugar, and will caramelize well, but I added a tablespoon of honey to speed up the caramelization, a little brown sugar would work too.  A good hour to 2 is best to really get the cubes crispy and shiney with sauce.  It'll be less time if they are a single layer in the pan like mine, we went an hour.  If you cook a couple roasts and fill a pan for the last step, leave them longer to get them coated with sauce.  We stirred every 15 minutes. You'll know if they're ready, you won't be able to stand it.  Also, take a fork to check it out! The chunks should be super tender. 

Burnt Ends

3# chuck roast. Rub well on all sides with dry rub.  Prepare smoker with a water reservoir and some wood chips if you like. Smoke the roast at 250 degrees.  No higher, for 4 hours.  Maybe a bit longer if there are 2 roasts in there.  Take meat off, it should be dark and crispy.  Cool for 15-30 minutes and cut into cubes.  Put the meat cubes in a disposable foil pan with BBQ sauce of your choice.  Add a bit of honey (1-2T) or brown sugar (2-4T) for additional sweetness and caramelization if desired.  Mix well and put back on smoker for 1-2 hours depending on quantity.  Stir every 15 minutes and remove when glossy and delicious.  

What are you waiting for?  Get out there and cook!