Beef Birria Burnt Ends

Beef Birria Burnt Ends

Unless you live in a bubble, burnt ends and birria tacos are everywhere on the internet. It seems like I see them every other post. Well I went ahead and combined them into these beef birria burnt ends. We’re taking all the classic elements from both sides and mashing them together. These are an awesome appetizer or you can even turn them into a meal!

Overall the process is pretty simple. Smoke a brisket point until about 180 internal. Meanwhile, make the braising liquid (burnt ends sauce). Afterwards, combine the two and cook until super tender. Birria beef can be a little bit of a labor of love, but I promise you that it will totally be worth it!

Side profile beef birria burnt ends

What is Birria?

Traditionally, this dish is composed of stewed goat meat. For those of us who have not tried goat meat, it is typically very gamey and can have a very strong taste and smell. Especially for older animals. To counteract the goat meat, the seasoning and stewing liquid is made with an abundance of herbs and spices.

Nowadays, goat can be replaced with beef, pork or chicken but the seasoning and spice hasn’t changed. Birria queso tacos are all the rage, and for dang good reason because they are addictive!

What are burnt ends?

Burnt ends are credited to Arthur Bryant. He’s an African American pitmaster from Kansas City that ran Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque from 1946 to 1982. The dish is traditionally a brisket that’s been cubed up and then covered in a sweet BBQ sauce and cooked again until super tender. Just like birria, burnt ends are now served with many different meats but the sauce component has remained the same.

Burnt ends with Birria liquid

Beef Birria Burnt Ends Cooking Tips

  • Chose your meat – I like a brisket point for this recipe but a chuck roast will work just as well. Just make sure to pick a well marbled cut of meat!
  • Seasoning the meat– If you have already peeked below, I have a rub recipe that works really well. But if you don’t want to go through the hassle you can add some clove, cinnamon and cumin to a premade BBQ rub. It will be dang close.
  • Smoking the brisket – I will scream from the hills that 265 is the best temperature for smoking. Smoke the meat until it hits around 180 internal and has a nice bark.
  • Braising liquid – This is where the birria and burnt ends come together. This is part sweet BBQ sauce and part traditional birria stewing sauce with dried chilies and plenty of spice.
  • PRO TIP – These really need time to rest when they are finished. You can either put them in a cooler or my preferred method of an oven on the warm setting. This part is key and don’t skip the resting step!
close up beef birria burnt ends

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Beef Birria Burnt Ends
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Beef Birria Burnt Ends

The mashup of two classic dishes you didn't know you needed.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
Resting Time2 hours
Total Time8 hours 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: birria, brisket, burnt ends
Servings: 8 servings
Cost: $35


  • 4-5 pound brisket point optionally you can use a chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

For the rub (see notes for a cheat)

  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 6 whole cloves (then ground) or 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon (the ground) or 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the "braising liquid" (Burnt Ends Sauce)

  • 4 cup beef broth
  • 6 dried chilies (seeds and stem removed) I used a combination of guajillo and ancho (3 a piece)
  • 1 whole white or yellow onion roughly chopped up
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 whole chipotle peppers or 2 tablespoons of already chopped up chipotle peppers
  • 2 tablespoons reserved BBQ rub
  • 1 cup your favorite BBQ sauce I always love head country


  • Combine all rub ingredients and mix to combine. Reserve two tablespoons of the rub for the braising liquid. Season the brisket with salt and then the rub. Apply at least thirty minutes before smoking. I usually like to do this the night before and then wrap and place in the refrigerator.
  • Set up smoker for 265°. Smoke the brisket until it hit an internal temperature of about 180° and his a nice bark.
  • While the brisket is smoking, place a sauce pan over medium heat with a couple tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic, onion and dried chilies. Sautee for about 5 to 10 minutes or until everything is softened and starting to get some color.
    Add the beef broth along with the chipotle peppers and reserved rub. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. At this point the dried chilies should be very soft.
  • Add the mixture to a blender and blend on high for about 2 minutes. Strain the mixture back into the original pan (you will probably need to use a spatula to get it to strain nicely. Add the bbq sauce and mix to combine.
  • Cube up the brisket and place in a foil pan. Pour the braising liquid over the cubed meat and cover tightly with foil. Smoke for another 2 hours or so or until the meat is very tender. Rest for a minimum of two hours before serving. (rest in a cooler or an oven on the warm setting. Garnish with onion and cilantro along with a cup of braising liquid for dunking.


FOR THE RUB – you don’t have to make you own rub  if you would rather use a premade bbq rub I recommend adding some ground cumin/clove/cinnamon to get a more authentic flavor.  You will also need to adjust how much salt you use as premade rubs usually have salt.   Start with about a teaspoon of each until it tastes about right.  You can always add more.