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Home Recipes Beer-Braised Smoked Corned Beef Burnt Ends

What happens when you give an American classic like brisket a kiss of the Irish? You get these little melt-in-your-mouth nuggets of beer-braised corned beef burnt ends.

hand squeezing corned beef burnt end.

What is corned beef?

Corned beef is a brisket that has been cured in a brine of various pickling spices and pink salt – the ingredient that gives it its familiar reddish color.

You can find corned beef pre-cured at most grocery stores. It’s often pre-separated and sold as a flat or point. For this recipe, you want to be sure to select the point.

If you’re lucky, your butcher will have a whole corned beef packer, which includes the point and flat. That way you can make corned beef burnt ends and slices.

If you buy the whole packer, you will need to spend a little more time trimming it. I recommend separating the point from the flat and cooking them separately.

package of Certified Angus Beef Corned Beef.

Be sure to check out my No-Fail Way to Make Smoked Brisket recipe for more brisket tips.


What are burnt ends?

Burnt ends are traditionally made with the point muscle from a beef brisket. After it is smoked, the meat is cut into cubes and braised with barbecue sauce, sugar and butter, until the cubes are extremely tender.

These corned beef burnt ends are essentially cooked the same way, but the flavors are non-traditional, because we start with a corned beef brisket and finish with a beer glaze.

platter of corned beef burnt ends.

What rub should I use?

You actually don’t need a rub for this recipe. The pickling spices and curing salt provide all the seasoning you need. I don’t even add salt and pepper.

If your corned beef has a separate spice packet, rub it on the brisket. If the spice packet was pre-rubbed onto the meat, keep as many of those mustard seeds, cloves and peppercorns as possible on the meat. They’ll provide additional aromatics during the smoke.


What wood should I use?

I always start with a high-quality natural lump charcoal. Lump charcoal provides a mild smoke on its own. If you’d like to add more smokiness, cherry or oak pair beautifully with beef.

Whether you use a stick burner, charcoal, pellet or gas grill, this recipe is possible. Set your grill to 275F degrees with an indirect heat zone. Place the brisket point over indirect heat, fat-side-up and smoke to an internal temperature of 165F degrees.


What sauce should I use?

Burnt ends are traditionally tossed in barbecue sauce and finished on the smoker in a foil-covered pan. Regular barbecue sauce doesn’t really go well with the flavor of corned beef, so I concocted a stout beer glaze.


Ingredients

  • Corned Beef Brisket: If possible, just look for the point muscle. This is the part of the brisket used to make burnt ends. If you can’t find the point, select a whole packer corned beef brisket and separate the point from the flat.
  • Stout Beer: The beer will be used in the brisket wrap and in the beer glaze.
  • Butter: Butter will also be added to the wrap and beer glaze. Unsalted butter is best, since the brisket is already cured in salt.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: This provides richness and umami to the glaze.
  • Brown Sugar: This helps thicken and sweeten the glaze. I always use dark brown sugar because it has more molasses, but you can use light brown sugar, if you prefer.

Note: This recipe will not work with a brisket flat. You need to cook the point muscle.

How to smoke corned beef burnt ends

Heat your grill or smoker to 275F degrees with an indirect heat zone.

  1. STEP ONE: Remove the brisket from the packaging. Sprinkle the included spice pack on both sides.
Corned beef brisket removed from packaging.
  1. STEP TWO: Place the brisket on the smoker, fat side up.
corned beef brisket on smoker.

In this picture, I’m smoking a whole packer brisket, not just the point.

  1. STEP THREE: Smoke until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165F degrees. This can take 3-5 hours, depending on the size of your brisket.
Corned beef cooked on smoker.
  1. STEP FOUR: Once it reaches this point, it’s time to double wrap it in foil with butter and some stout beer. Place two sheets of foil on the counter and add 4 tablespoons butter. Then, fold up the edges of the foil to create a rim. Carefully pour 1/3 cup stout onto the butter and place the brisket on top. Wrap the beef brisket super tight, and return it to the smoker until it reaches 205F degrees.
  1. STEP FIVE: While the brisket is wrapped and smoking, pour the stout, Worcestershire sauce, butter and sugar in a pot with some salt and pepper. Let it reduce for a few minutes and set it aside, until you’re ready for the final stage.
  1. STEP SIX: Once the brisket reaches 205F degrees, pull it from the smoker, slice it into cubes and toss them in a pan with that glorious glaze. Cover and smoke for one more hour. The results are salty, beefy nuggets that will make your heart skip a beat.
corned beef cut into cubes in pan with beer and seasonings.

How to serve corned beef brisket burnt ends

You can pop ’em like candy, or you can smother the corned beef burnt ends with Russian dressing and sauerkraut on a pretzel roll.

corned beef burnt ends piled on pretzel bun with russian dressing.

What about that flat?

If you bought the whole packer, or you picked up a corned beef brisket flat with your point, smoke it following the first four steps above. While the point finishes cooking, let the flat rest in its foil wrap for an hour.

Then, slice it against the grain and enjoy.

pan of smoked corned beef brisket flat.

Storage

You can store corned beef burnt ends in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. They also freeze very well. Just vacuum seal them and freeze them for up to 6 months.


GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips

  • Use a corned beef brisket point to make burnt ends
  • Use the included seasoning packet as your rub
  • After the brisket reaches 165F degrees, wrap it to lock in moisture
  • Finish the cubed beef in a beer glaze in a pan, until it reaches 205F degrees

Frequently Asked Questions

What temperature do burnt ends need to be cooked to?

For tender beef nuggets, be sure to cook your brisket burnt ends to at least 205F degrees. If you’re using a wagyu brisket, aim for an internal temperature of 210F degrees. Wagyu needs a little bit more time to render the fat.

Can I make burnt ends with brisket flat?

No. You should only use a brisket point to make burnt ends. The brisket flat muscle doesn’t have enough marbling. The cubes will end up less juicy and more tough.

Can burnt ends be made in the oven?

Yes. Follow this recipe by roasting the brisket in a 275F-degree oven. However, you won’t get any of that charcoal smoke flavor. To help mimic the flavor, you can add a 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke to the wrap and glaze.


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4.41 from 55 votes

Beer-Braised Smoked Corned Beef Burnt Ends

Fire up your smoker to make beer-braised corned beef burnt ends. They're like little nuggets of brisket pastrami.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 Certified Angus Beef® brand corned beef brisket point
  • 4 tbsps butter
  • 1/3 cup stout beer

Beer Glaze

  • 12 ounce bottle stout beer
  • 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 2 tbsps brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions 

  • Remove the brisket from the packaging. If your package includes a seasoning packet, rub it on both sides. If it doesn’t, don’t worry. It will still have plenty of flavor.
  • Heat your smoker to 275F degrees. Place the brisket on the smoker, fat side up. Smoke until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165F degrees. This can take 3-5 hours, depending on the size of your brisket.
  • Place two sheets of foil on the counter. Add 4 tablespoons of butter on the foil. Fold up the sides to form an edge. Carefully pour 1/3 cup of stout onto the butter. Add the brisket on top. Wrap tightly with both sheets of foil, locking in the liquid.
  • Return to the smoker until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 205F degrees.
  • While the brisket is smoking, make the beer glaze. Add all glaze ingredients to a saucepot and boil for 10-15 minutes, until reduced by half.
  • Remove the brisket from the foil. Slice into one-inch chunks. Place in an aluminum pan. Pour the beer glaze into the pan with any juices collected in the foil, and toss to coat.
  • Cover with foil, and return to the smoker for one hour.

Nutrition

Calories: 316kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 16gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 1559mgPotassium: 368mgSugar: 3gVitamin A: 260IUVitamin C: 30.9mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 2.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to rate it, leave a comment and save it so you can make it again. Show off your awesome results on social by tagging @girlscangrill

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Hey BBQ Family

I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and top 10 category finishes. I’m an expert grill reviewer for BBQ Guys, and I have appeared on the Food Network and Ninja Woodfire Grill infomercials. I established this website in 2015 to share my BBQ tips and recipes.

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38 Comments

  1. I’ve called everywhere and can’t find point cut and don’t have enough time to braise my own before the weekend! So my question is, if this is just the flat would you still make the glaze and put it on the flat after it rests (or before) when normally the burnt ends would go back on for an hour??

    1. Unfortunately, the flat won’t be as succulent and it’s not as forgiving. I would recommend cooking the flat to about 200. Then, cube and smoke with the sauce, until it is probe tender.

      1. I would recommend against letting the internal temp get up to 200. At around 185 the proteins will begin to shrink and dry out, even if they’re in liquid. 200 and you’re looking at dry leather shoe laces. Likely much better to “hold” the temperature at around 180 (set your oven/smoker to 180) after the internal temp reaches that, and to keep the temp held there until what you’re cooking is tender.

        1. D, I’m curious…did you make this recipe before leaving this comment? Brisket flat needs to be cooked above 185F; otherwise it’s very tough.

          1. Yep. Along with literally hundreds of other briskets (and other cuts of beef and pork) in a professional kitchen. If it’s still tough, you aren’t keeping at the holding temp for long enough. Low and slow, as they say. Pretty sad though that you went straight to “you didn’t try it”. 🙄

          2. The reason I asked if you tried it is because I wanted to know how it turned out at 185. I’ve cooked a ton of brisket myself, and I’ve never had a successful brisket at a temp below 200. It ends up very chewy. To me though it’s more about probe tenderness than the actual temp. Sounds like you prefer the hot hold method to get it to that point.

        2. I would stick with Christie’s advise. Pulling a brisket at 185 is going to give you tough brisket, pretty much guaranteed. You have to let the connective tissue break down so it gets tender, typically in the 195-210 range. The magic number many pitmasters use is 203. You can pull at 185, cut into cubes and then put back into the smoker until probe tender, but I would not eat at 185.
          – From someone else who has smoked MANY briskets over the years.

  2. Have you hung the roast on the Barrel House Smoker? We are going to do 2 corned beef roasts in the 14D…one to slice and one, now that we saw the recipe, for burnt ends. Great idea! What flavor of smoke would you recommend?
    Thanks

    1. I stopped hanging large cuts of meat, because I’ve had a couple fall to the coals because of their weight. If you decide to hang them, definitely use multiple hooks. I recommend oak and cherry.

  3. Very dumb question from me here but I have to ask. Do I boil the corned beef first then smoke it or am I smoking it straight out of the bag. The corned beef came in a large liquid bag so I assume that liquid is the brine?

    1. No dumb questions here. Take it out of the bag. Rinse off the brine and smoke it. No need to boil it. The grill will do all the cooking.

  4. Going in the smoker now! I will send a pick in about 5 hrs. Thanks for the recipe. Just not sure which beer I’m gonna use. As I am a craft beer drinker..droits and porters

    1. I have not, but I’m sure any beer would work. The darker the beer, the richer the flavor.

    1. Absolutely. While they taste best eaten right away, you can make them in advance and store them in the fridge for a few days before enjoying them.