Eater — a national network of blogs covering restaurants, bars and nightlife — is putting its spotlight on Kansas City barbecue, specifically burnt ends.
Its new “The Burnt Ends of Kansas City: A Guided Tour” looks at a dozen area smokehouses from Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque to Snead’s Bar-B-Q.
According to the article: “At their best, burnt ends are the crisped and charred ‘bark’ from the fattier corners of the brisket — beef crackling that has been blackened by smoke. Deemed too burnt and fatty to eat, traditionally these trimmings were set aside as the cook’s snack.”
But after “food-writing legend” Calvin Trillin wrote about burnt ends — treats that Kansas City barbecues were putting on the counter for free — demand outpaced production, Eater says. Burnt ends now fall into two camps: “dry and bark-like” or “moist and tender.” For ones with a crispy, crackling-like crust of “true burnt ends,” Eater recommends Gates Bar-B-Q and L.C.’s Bar-B-Q.
For Gates: “Their burnt ends knocked my socks off......the young carver behind the station held up a hunk of brisket and showed me the crispy corners that he was cutting off for my order. Using two cleavers, he chopped all of the burnt scraps into bits and piled them on white bread. The best way to describe Gates’ burnt ends is brisket feuilletine......and it’s marvelous. ”
For L.C.’s: You might “question whether throwing an unseasoned brisket into the smoker, stoking the flames, and then dousing it all with a hose is actually a recipe for success....but one thing you won’t question is L.C.’s burnt ends. When they are good, they are fantastic. Fresh out of the smoker, the blackened crust is bubbling and crisp, the meat is juicy and flavorful, with a generous amount of fat running throughout.”
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