Poor Man’s Burnt Ends are here and they’re anything but poor. This Poor Man’s Burnt Ends recipe is made with cuts from a chuck roast, instead of the traditional brisket burnt ends. They cook in about half the time of brisket burnt ends and still give us that deep, rich flavor we all know and love. I fired up some Cowboy Charcoal and seasoned the burnt ends with my very own Tennessee Smoke seasoning.

As the kids would say, the flavoring was “on point!” 

Post Sponsored by Cowboy Charcoal

Poor Man's Burnt Ends

Who You Calling a Poor Man

As I continue to get older, I realize that being poor is really more of a state of mind than anything else. That’s another chat, for a different blog, at another time.  

Burnt ends are classically made with the point end of a beef brisket, they are delicious but you do have to work for them.

This recipe is perfect for indulging in the delicious flavor of burnt ends without having to smoke an entire brisket. Our cut of meat for this recipe is a chuck roast.

These burnt ends also take half the cook time as classic burnt ends do. Smoked chuck roast burnt ends take around 6.5 hours, whereas a brisket can take anywhere from 10 to 12 hours. Lastly, this recipe is a great way to enjoy the flavorful, tender burnt ends without shelling out a pretty penny for an entire brisket.

Yeah, lots of reasons to give this recipe a try. 

Poor Man's Burnt Ends placed on the smoker.



  • Chuck Roast – We’re using a 3-4 pound chuck roast for this recipe. Look for a good marbled chuck roast with plenty of fat content. We want that intramuscular connective tissue to make the meat nice and tender. 
  • Tennessee Smoke Seasoning or your favorite BBQ seasoning – We’re using this as a dry rub to coat the roast and add a layer of flavor to the burnt ends. 
  • Canola Oil – This coats the chuck roast pieces and allows them to crisp up in the smoker. 


  • Ketchup – The main ingredient in any barbecue sauce. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Adds a bit of acidity and tanginess to the sauce.
  • Bourbon – Use your favorite bourbon. Provides a smoky depth of flavor to the sauce.
  • Hot Sauce – Adds a slight kick without being too overpowering. 
  • Brown Sugar – Adds a hint of sweetness to the sauce and creates that “meat candy” effect. 
  • Garlic Paste – This blends much easier into the sauce than minced garlic. 
  • Worcestershire – Delivers an umami flavor to the roast. 
  • Salt to taste

If you want even more burnt ends recipes, try these Smoked Bologna Burnt Ends, Smoked Hot Dog Burnt Ends, or Maple Bourbon Pork Belly Burnt Ends!

How to Cook Poor Man’s Burnt Ends

To start, get a chuck roast and cut it into cubes. I placed all of my burnt ends in a large bowl because it makes it easier to season them. Drizzle oil across the top of the burnt ends and use your hands to mix.

Next, reach for that Tennessee Smoke seasoning and started splashing it across the top of the burnt ends. Mix the seasoning in by hand and add more seasoning until each cube has an even coat of seasoning on all sides.

Then, I used a cooking sheet with a slightly raised grid insert to set the burnt ends on.

Setting the tray on the smoker.

This Poor Man’s Burnt Ends

Up next comes the smoking part of the recipe. For these Poor Man’s Burnt Ends, I used my offset smoker, fueled and powered by Cowboy Charcoal’s Lump Charcoal. It burns hot and clean, so it’s a natural choice every time.

I dumped two charcoal chimneys worth of hot orange coals into the charcoal chamber and let the smoker preheat to 275F. Once the smoker becomes preheated, add the Poor Man’s Burnt Ends to the smoker and close it up for the next 2.5-4 hours. 

Sometimes I get asked why I like using Cowboy Charcoal for smoking. Like I said above, it just burns really clean, giving a pleasant smoker flavor. This also really helps in creating an even temperature so that I do not have a ton of fluctuation while cooking.

Lump charcoal is ideal for all of that. Plus if you want some extra flavor, just add some Cowboy hickory wood chunks!

Since we all like to be efficient with our time, let’s get to work on the spicy bourbon barbeque sauce while the burnt ends are cooking. I added a grill grate insert over the hot coals in the charcoal chamber and added a small cast iron skillet.

After the skillet becomes hot, add all the habanero hot sauce ingredients and whisk them together. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens a bit, then remove from the heat. 

Poor Man's Burnt Ends right before adding the BBQ sauce.

When it All Comes Together – A Hallelujah Chorus

Continue to let these Poor Man’s Burnt Ends cook until they reach an internal temperature of 165F. Then, remove them from the cooking sheet and toss them in a deep aluminum foil tray. Set that tray (the the burnt ends) back into the smoker.

Now, grab that spicy bourbon barbecue sauce and pour it across the top of the Poor Man’s Burnt Ends. I then mixed the burnt ends around to make sure they all received an even coating of the barbecue sauce. Coating the ends in the sauce helps the pieces to form a nice bark on the outside. 

Let the burnt ends cook for another 2.5 hours, until they are tender. You should be able to tear them apart with little effort.

We're in the final stages of cooking.

Then, remove them from the smoker and place them on a serving dish. Right before serving them, I used a spoon to glaze them with a bit more of the barbecue sauce and gave them a light dusting of some more Tennessee Smoke.

Now, time to eat. This delicious meal is best enjoyed with friends and family! Cheers!


Check the internal temperature of the meat using a meat thermometer. For these poor man’s burnt ends, we’re looking for at least 165F.

Use a foil pan for the final stages of cooking. They have high rims and are good for mixing all the ingredients. They also let all those flavors melt and fuze together.

For more on the smoker recipes, check out my Smoked Ribs with Bourbon Mop Sauce, Hot Honey Garlic Wings, Smoked Garlic Jalapeño Beef Ribs and Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich.

How to Store Leftovers & Reheat

Store any leftover burnt ends in an airtight container for 3-4 days. To reheat your burnt ends, pop them into the microwave in 30-second increments to avoid overcooking them. Alternatively, heat up in a skillet on the stovetop until warm. 

More burnt ends recipes

What to Serve with Poor Man’s Burnt Ends

Serve up these delicious poor man’s burnt ends with some potato salad, French fries, cornbread, and some freakin’ delicious mac and cheese!

Poor Man’s Burnt Ends Recipe FAQs

What’s the difference between traditional burnt ends and Poor Man’s Burnt Ends?

Traditional burnt ends are made from the point end of a brisket. On the other hand, chuck roast burnt ends are made from cutting up a slab of chuck roast into 1-inch cubes. The “poor man” name comes down to the price of the meat. At the grocery store, a whole brisket can set you back around $40-$50, whereas a 3-4 pound chuck roast may only be $10. 

Another distinction between brisket burnt ends and Poor Man’s Burnt Ends is the time. Brisket has a much longer smoking time than a chuck roast. A brisket may take 10-12 hours, but a chuck roast takes around 6-7. 

Check out some of our favorite brisket recipes: Smoked Brisket, Texas Smoked Brisket Recipe and Mesquite Peppercorn Lager Smoked Brisket.

How can I prevent tough burnt ends?

Make sure your smoker is at a low temperature for smoking the burnt ends. Too high of a temperature can result in tough, chewy pieces of meat. 

How do I know when my Poor Man’s burnt ends are done?

Using a pair of gloves, pick up a hot burnt end and slightly squish it between your fingers. If it doesn’t break apart, it’s not done. If it breaks apart slightly without completely crumbling, it’s done!

Poor Man's Burnt Ends plated and ready to serve.

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Poor Man's Burnt Ends

Poor Man’s Burnt Ends

Poor Man’s Burnt Ends are here and they’re anything but poor. They're rich in flavor and cooked until they fall apart. Delicious!
Author:Derek Wolf
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 People



Spicy Bourbon BBQ Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1.5 tbsp Hot Sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • ½ tbsp Garlic Paste
  • ½ tbsp Worcestershire
  • Salt to taste


  • Cube your chuck roast into 2” size cubes and place in a bowl.
  • Lather with canola oil and then season generously with Tennessee Smoke Seasoning or your favorite BBQ seasoning.
  • Place the cubes onto a baking tray with about ½” separation between each cube.
  • Preheat a grill or smoker using a two zone fire with Cowboy Charcoal to 275F. Add some hickory chunks or chips for added smoke flavor.
  • Place the beef onto the smoker to cook for about 4-5 hours until they begin to soften and develop a good outside bark.
  • As the beef smokes, heat up a medium high fire for the BBQ Sauce.
  • Add a skillet with the bourbon to simmer for 30 seconds.
  • Next, add the rest of the ingredients for the BBQ sauce and let simmer until thickened.
  • Once warm and well incorporated, pull the BBQ sauce off the heat to cool.
  • After 1.5 hours on the smoker, pull the beef off and place into a medium size foil bin.
  • Top the burnt ends with the BBQ sauce and mix around.
  • Cover the bin with aluminum foil and place back on the smoker to cook for another 2 hours.
  • Add more BBQ sauce if needed so that there is a decent amount of liquid in order to break down the burnt ends.
  • Once the burnt ends are tender and can easily break apart, pull them off and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Toss the cooled burnt ends in some of the foil bins sauce, season with a little more BBQ seasoning and enjoy!



Calories: 574kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 155mg | Sodium: 743mg | Potassium: 947mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 5mg

Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Have to say Brisket is cheaper than chuck lots of places. Just get the brisket, trim it up, and wrap/freeze the excess in smaller bundles.

    1. I agree. Here in Dallas I just bought a couple briskets for $1.69/pound. Sometimes that chuck does go on sale cheap though, so this is a sweet back up idea, especially when comparing cook times. It’s a great idea for an impromptu get together that wifey drops on you at the last minute.

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe!
    Brisket is currently over $5/lb. here in California… thank you Biden…Chuck roast is $4/lb. and nobody wants to buy a packer and lop off a chunk of it to deal with later.

  3. I made this last night. I smoked the cubes on my pellet smoker and then transferred them to a dutch oven. I finished it off in the oven set at 275 degrees. I and my guests enjoyed it immensely.

  4. That’s funny the comments on the person in California about the price of brisket is 5 dollars a pound I live in Pa and the price here per pound is 9 dollars

    1. A lot of food is actually less expensive here in CA, your getting it from the source and not having it shipped in.