BURNT ENDS aka: Meat Candy

BURNT ENDS aka:  Meat Candy

What are Burnt Ends (aka: Meat Candy) you ask?  These are tender, succulent bite-size chunks of brisket that are dry-rubbed, sauced, and cooked until the cubes are sticky, with crispy edges. They are delicious as an appetizer, on a sandwich, or as the stellar main course.

A pan of Burnt Ends aka: Meat Candy - cubes of tender brisket that's glazed with barbecue sauce until the cubes are sticky with crunchy caramelized edges.

I’m honoring the Kansas City Chiefs this Super Bowl Sunday, by cooking up a big batch of these incredible Burnt Ends.  I can’t describe how delicious they are…I mean, they’re called ‘meat candy’ for a reason.

I like to serve the burnt Ends with  Vinegar-based Coleslaw, Kansas City-Style Barbecue Beans, and a loaf of Cheddar Jalapeno Bread.


This recipe can be super easy or more of a project.  I love making my own dry rub and sauce.  To get the depth of flavor and really tailor the recipe to my family’s tastes requires a lot of different ingredients.  One way to save money on this step is to purchase the spices in bulk.  That way you can purchase a tiny amount for a few pennies.

Having said that, when I’m short on time or didn’t want to make my own rub and sauce, I’ve used both a store-bought rub and barbecue sauce with great success.  So if the long list of ingredients is scary to you, go for the convenience of the store-bought condiment and rub.  Everyone will still adore your ‘meat candy’.  If you’re using store-bought, jump to step 3 in the recipe below.

The next way to save a ton of time and effort is to buy disposable roasting pans.  You can use them to roast in the oven and again on the grill to glaze the meat cubes.  Trust me, for a few dollars you can spare yourself a major clean-up job.

The one area to not skimp on time is after cutting the meat into cubes and you begin to ‘candy’ them.  By taking the time to layer the sauce on the cubes, allowing each ‘layer’ to caramelize. 

A pan of Burnt Ends aka: Meat Candy - cubes of tender brisket that's glazed with barbecue sauce until the cubes are sticky with crunchy caramelized edges.

I hope your family loves this recipe as much as mine does.  They’re a big hit with everyone when I serve them!

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A pan of Burnt Ends aka: Meat Candy - cubes of tender brisket that's glazed with barbecue sauce until the cubes are sticky with crunchy caramelized edges.

BURNT ENDS aka: Meat Candy

  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Total Time: 7 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 - 8 1x


These burnt ends (aka: meat candy) are tender, juicy cubes of succulent brisket that has been glazed and caramelized with a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.



For the KC Dry Rub:

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the KC Barbecue Sauce:

  • ½ large sweet onion, finely minced
  • 5 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon espresso powder
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup yellow mustard
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup Worchestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Heinz 57 sauce (or any steak sauce)
  • ¼ cup dark molasses
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

For the burnt ends:

  • 4 pounds brisket points (I used 2 smaller pieces)
  • 11 ½ cups KC dry rub
  • 11 ½ cups KC barbecue sauce


  1. Make the dry rub.  In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until the sugar and spices are well incorporated.  Store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Make the barbecue sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and warm till shimmering, about 2 minutes.  Add the onions and stir to coat with the oil.  Cook, stirring often until translucent – 5-6 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir the chili powder, salt, pepper, cumin, celery seed, cinnamon, and espresso powder. Pour the spices into the saucepan and stir to coat the spices with the oil and allow them to toast for 2 minutes or until you can begin to smell them. Whisk in the ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Heinz 57 sauce, molasses, honey, and hot sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer the sauce for 45 minutes or until it begins to thicken. At this point, if you like a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender.  Leaving the small bits of onion and garlic makes for a more rustic, homestyle sauce. Allow the sauce to cool before pouring it into very clean glass bottles.
  3. Make the brisket.  Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Rub the brisket points all over with the dry rub.  Be sure to get all of the sides coated with the rub.  I used slightly less than a cup to generously rub both points.  Place the meat, fat side up into a roasting pan or disposable aluminum pans.  Cover the pan very tightly with foil.  Roast in the oven for 4 ½ – 5 hours or until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees.  The meat should be slightly undercooked.  Discard any accumulated liquid from the pan. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes and return to the roasting pan. Lightly dust the meat with the dry rub.  Stir to coat all sides of the meat while you dust it.  Return the pan to the oven, uncovered, and roast for another hour, slathering barbecue sauce on the cubes and stirring every 10 minutes or until the beef is tender, sticky, and the edges are crisp. Alternatively, you can finish the burnt ends on a grill.  Preheat the grill on high and place your roasting pan onto the grates. Cook, stirring, and slathering sauce every 10 minutes until done.  Serve warm with buns, slaw, and pickles.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 hours
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: burnt ends aka: meat candy, barbecue, Kansas City barbecue, burnt ends, brisket, barbecue brisket

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