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Poor Man’s Burnt Ends

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This recipe for Poor Man’s Burnt Ends features succulent chuck roast cubes generously seasoned and slathered in BBQ sauce, resulting in a rich and flavorful dish.

Our Poor Man’s Burnt Ends recipe is perfect for those days when you’re craving that smoky, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of burnt ends but don’t want to commit to a whole brisket. But let me tell you, there’s nothing “poor” about the flavor you’re about to experience! t’s rich, it’s flavorful, and it’s downright addictive.

Now, the biggest pro to this recipe? Cost! Chuck roast is a lot friendlier on the wallet than brisket, which is why they call it “poor man’s” burnt ends. Also, using a whole brisket can be a bit intimidating, especially for beginners. There’s the trimming, the seasoning, the long hours of smoking—it can feel like a big undertaking.

With chuck roast, we’re keeping things simple and approachable. Unlike brisket, which can take a good 10-12 hours to cook, our poor man’s burnt ends recipe is a lot faster. We’re talking around 3-4 hours from start to finish.

So, whether you’re looking to save a few bucks, simplify your smoking game, or just indulge in some downright delicious barbecue, give this recipe a try. Trust me, your taste buds—and your wallet—will thank you.

So grab your chuck roast, fire up the smoker, and get cooking!

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • TENDER & FLAVORFUL – The low and slow smoking process results in tender, juicy beef with a delicious smoky flavor that’s infused throughout the meat.
  • SWEET & TANGY SAUCE – The combination of BBQ sauce and brown sugar adds a sweet and tangy glaze to the cubed beef, enhancing its flavor and providing a delicious finishing touch.
  • EASY – While smoking meat requires time and patience, this recipe is relatively simple to prepare with just a few ingredients and straightforward steps.

What Are Poor Man’s Burnt Ends?

Poor man’s burnt ends are a budget-friendly alternative to traditional burnt ends, which are typically made from beef brisket.

To make “poor man’s burnt ends,” we used chuck roast. This cut is typically cheaper than brisket and is delicious when cooked low and slow.

Just cube the meat into bite-sized pieces, season them with your favorite dry rub or barbecue seasoning, and then slow-cook until they are tender. You can cook them in a smoker, on a grill, or even in the oven at a low temperature.


  • Chuck Roast
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Soul Dust soul food seasoning or Your Favorite BBQ Seasoning
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Your Favorite BBQ Sauce
  • Brown Sugar
  • Wood, for smoke

Note: Experiment with different types of wood to customize the smoky flavor of your roast. Pecan, oak, and hickory are great options.

Recipe Variations and Substitutions

  • Different cuts of meat: Instead of chuck roast, you can use other cuts of meat such as brisket, pork belly, bologna, or even hot dogs for a different flavor and texture.
  • Dry rub variations: Customize the dry rub seasoning to your taste preferences by adding or omitting spices.
  • Homemade BBQ sauce: Instead of store-bought BBQ sauce, try making your own homemade version. We like this vinegar based barbecue sauce recipe using ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and spices.

How to Make Poor Man’s burnt Ends

  1. Preparation: Preheat your smoker for indirect grilling at around 275°F. Use some pecan or oak wood to infuse your meat with that irresistible smoke flavor. Then, prepare your chuck roast. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut the roast into 1- to 2-inch bite size cubes.
  2. Seasoning: Take the chuck roast cubes and slather them up with a good ol’ coat of yellow mustard. Sprinkle on your Soul Dust soul food seasoning (or your favorite BBQ seasoning), making sure every inch gets some love.
  3. Smokin’ Time: Once your smoker is ready, carefully place those seasoned cubes onto a wire rack and transfer the rack to the grill. Close the lid and let ’em smoke until they are the perfect color and bark, which usually takes about 1.5 hours. Oh, and don’t forget to flip them halfway through!
  4. Incorporate Sauce Mixture: Transfer your smoked chuck roast cubes to a foil baking pan and sprinkle with brown sugar. Add in the unsalted butter and give everything a drizzle of BBQ sauce. Now, gently toss the cubes until they’re coated.
  5. Back to the Smoker: Cover up your pan with foil and add them back to the grill. Let the meat continue cooking to tender perfection. We’re aiming for an internal temperature of around 205°F, which should take another 1.5 hours or so.
  6. Finishing Touches: Once your burnt ends reaches the desired temperature sweet, uncover the pan and sprinkle on the remaining brown sugar and BBQ sauce. Give it all a good stir, making sure every cube is coated. Pop it back onto the grill for just a few more minutes.
  7. Serve and Enjoy: Now comes the best part—serving up those delicious Poor Man’s Burnt Ends! Enjoy them hot, sandwiched between soft white bread or buns, and don’t forget to pile on the pickles and onions.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Choose the Right Cut: Make sure to select a well-marbled chuck roast for optimal flavor and tenderness.
  • Patience is Key: Smoking takes time, so be patient and allow the roast to cook low and slow to develop a delicious smoky flavor and tender texture.
  • Maintain Temperature: Keep an eye on your smoker’s temperature to ensure it stays around 275°F (135°C) for even cooking. Fluctuations in temperature can affect the cooking time and result in unevenly cooked meat.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer: Invest in a good quality meat thermometer to accurately monitor the internal temperature of the roast. This will help you determine when it’s ready to move to the next step.
  • Keep it Moist: If you notice the cubed roast drying out during the final cooking stage, you can add a little extra BBQ sauce to keep it moist and flavorful.

What to Serve with Poor Man’s Burnt Ends

  • Pickles and onions: Serve sliced pickles and white onions alongside the smoked beef for a tangy and crunchy contrast.
  • Bread: Serve the smoked beef on toasted buns or white bread for a classic barbecue sandwich. You can also offer dinner rolls or garlic bread on the side.
  • Coleslaw: Our creamy and crunchy BBQ Coleslaw is a Southern-inspired side dish that brings the perfect blend of textures and flavor.
  • Potato Salad: Our potato salad has the best creamy texture and tangy flavor, with ingredients like dill pickle relish, mustard, hard-boiled eggs, and seasonings.
  • Baked Beans: Flavorful baked beans with ground beef is a classic barbecue side dish that’s as convenient as it is delicious. Made with canned beans, seasoned beef, bell pepper, onion, and seasonings, these beans are perfect with pulled pork.
  • Cornbread: Our soul food cornbread recipe is easy to follow and yields a moist, tender crumb. It combines the rich tang of buttermilk with classic ingredients like butter and sugar for a delightful side dish that complements any meal.
  • Mac and Cheese: Our recipe features cheddar, Monterey jack, and mozzarella, and is made without a roux. It’s decadent and comforting, and an absolute must-try for anyone looking to savor a taste of the South.


How long does it take to smoke chuck roast?

The time can vary depending on your smoker and the size of the roast. It’s best to use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature and adjust the cooking time accordingly. It took us XX minutes/hours.

What dry rub seasoning should I use?

You can use your favorite store-bought dry rub seasoning or make your own blend. Our favorite store bought seasonings include Fire & Smoke Society’s Cherry Cola BBQ Rub, Thundering Longhorn Beef Rub, and Hot for Peach Smoked Peach Rub.


Whether you’re aiming to save on costs, simplify your smoking routine, or simply savor some mouthwatering barbecue, this recipe for Poor Man’s Burnt Ends is sure to hit the spot. With its shorter cooking time and wallet-friendly ingredients, it’s a win-win for both your taste buds and your budget.

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Poor Man’s Burnt Ends

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Category: main course, dinner
  • Method: smoking
  • Cuisine: american, barbecue, southern


This recipe for Poor Man’s Burnt Ends features succulent chuck roast cubes generously seasoned and slathered in BBQ sauce, resulting in a rich and flavorful dish.


  • 23 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Soul Dust soul food seasoning or your favorite BBQ seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar


  1. Preheat smoker for indirect grilling at 275°F, using pecan or oak wood for smoke flavor.
  2. Slather chuck roast cubes with yellow mustard, ensuring an even coating. Liberally season all sides with Soul Dust soul food seasoning or your preferred BBQ seasoning.
  3. Place seasoned cubes on a wire rack. Once smoker is up to temperature, carefully place wire rack on smoker and close lid. Smoke until roast achieves desired color and bark, about 1.5 hours. Flip halfway through.
  4. Remove meat from smoker and transfer to a foil baking pan. Sprinkle ¼ cup of brown sugar over cubes, add unsalted butter, and drizzle with BBQ sauce. Gently toss cubes to ensure they are evenly coated in the sauce mixture.
  5. Cover pan with foil and return it to the grill. Continue smoking until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 205°F, about another 1.5 hours.
  6. Once meat reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the smoker and uncover the pan. Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar and BBQ sauce over cubes. Stir gently to incorporate everything well. Return pan to the grill for a few more minutes.
  7. Serve poor man’s burnt ends hot and enjoy them sandwiched between white bread or buns with pickles and onion.


  1. If this is what poor men have to eat, I’m happy never being rich! The amount of flavor packed into these burnt ends is insane. I was shocked at how juicy chuck steak can be when cooked properly.

  2. Burnt ends have always been one of my favorite bbq picks and this recipe is super tasty! I paired it with the mac and cheese, baked beans and cole slaw recipes and it was a hit for Sunday night dinner!

  3. I love the simplicity of this recipe and my whole family loved the flavor! My burnt ends came out just perfectly following your recipe. Thank you!

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