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Poor Man’s Burnt Ends

Have you ever heard of Poor Man’s Burnt Ends? If you LOVE the taste of slow-smoked BBQ, then this recipe is the recipe for you! I’m going to share all of my secrets for making a pan of perfect burnt ends, all on your Pellet Grill.

Poor Man's Burnt Ends

Poor Man’s Burnt Ends

Traditionally, burnt ends are made from the point of a whole packer beef brisket. We are using a good marbled chuck roast for this recipe, which are lovingly referred to as “poor man’s” burnt ends because the roasts that are used are typically less expensive than brisket.

I’m all about saving pennies and providing superior quality on a budget, and beef chuck roast fills the bill here. Depending on where you live, you can sometimes find prices for brisket that are comparable, but do your shopping comparisons and choose accordingly.

These Poor Man’s Burnt Ends can be one of your most sought after creations this summer. Easily becoming a tradition for all of your friends and family gatherings.

Check out all of my Traeger Recipes!

What is a burnt end?

Burnt Ends are just like they sound, crispy charred ends of the fattier point of the brisket, cooked for an extensive amount of time until this wonderful “bark” forms on the outside, then cut into chunks or chopped and slathered with BBQ sauce then cooked a little longer until the sauce “sets”.

Served as an open faced and piled high, you may want a fork handy because you’ll definitely want to savor every bite.

Tips for making the best poor man’s burnt ends

When choosing your beef chuck roast, look for a good cut with a lot of marbling. The fat content is key, lean cuts of meat tend to dry out if cooked for long periods of time, so you will want to use a fattier cut of meat.

Preparing your roast is simple. Grab your favorite BBQ rub and slather it on your roast. Don’t be shy. Rub it in. After your roast is done smoking, you will want your favorite BBQ sauce handy to slather on the chunks of beef to finish this dish. Here’s a recipe for my favorite Homemade BBQ sauce that works really well here!

What sides work well with bbq burnt ends?

Many flavors and textures compliment the savory taste of BBQ beef. Anything from a sweet crunchy slaw to a creamy serving of garlic mashed potatoes.

Poor Man's Burnt Ends

Featured Reviews from Readers

“First time making Poor Man’s Burnt Ends! So good! I will definitely make these again!”

Corena Underwood
Yield: 8 servings

Poor Man's Burnt Ends

Poor Man's Burnt Ends

These tender pieces of chuck roast are slow-cooked on the Traeger Pellet Grill over live fire and then get a barbecue sauce bath to finish them off and leave them fork-tender and full of flavor.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes


  • 2 pounds chuck roast
  • 1/4 cup Traeger Beef Rub (link below)
  • 1/8 cup Kendrick BBQ Rub (link below)
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce


  1. Cut your chuck roast into 1 1/2” squares, discarding excess fat, and place into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Pour about two-thirds of your rubs into the bowl and mix thoroughly. Make sure all the pieces of the chuck roast are evenly coated.
  3. Cover the bowl and place it into your fridge for 1 hour.
  4. Start your grill and pre-heat it to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  5. Place your chuck roast pieces onto the grill with at least 1/2” space between each piece.
  6. Let cook on the grill for approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat should be fork-tender.
  7. Pull your meat from the grill and put it into a disposable foil box or grill safe cooking container. 
  8. Shake the rest of the rub onto the meat and mix it up with a large spoon.
  9. Pour the barbecue sauce on top of the meat and mix it up with your spoon.
  10. Place it back onto the grill for 30 minutes or until it begins to simmer a little bit and the sauce just starts to caramelize.
  11. Pull from the grill and serve.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 557mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 16gProtein: 18g

Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate. If you are tracking these things for medical purposes please consult an outside, trusted source. Thanks!

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Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.

Kristin Wyatt

Sunday 14th of November 2021

Mine were turned into briquettes after 1 and 45 min. What happened?

Nicole Johnson

Sunday 14th of November 2021

Yikes! I'm not sure. It sounds like your temperatures might be off on the grill? At 275, that shouldn't happen to chuck roast. Did you check them periodically during the cook to see how they were doing? When you are talking BBQ, times are always approximate. I give them sometimes as a guide, but always always trust the meat. It is much more important to cook to temp and touch and how the meat is actually reacting to the cooking environment than the clock. I'm sorry this one didn't work out in your favor! I'd check your grill temp to see if things might be off there and maybe you were cooking hotter than the temp said, as the first order of business though!


Sunday 23rd of August 2020

Mine turned out tough. Did I cook them too long? What happened?

Nicole Johnson

Sunday 23rd of August 2020

Were they dried out? If they are undercooked, they can be tough because they didn't reach that magic 204-205° where the "fork tender" roast comes from. If they reached that temp and then got cooked for longer (usually a LOT longer and without enough liquid) they can dry out a get a bit tough. It is hard to say without more information which might have happened here. I've also occasionally gotten a low-quality chuck roast that just didn't shred the way it should've because of all of the gristle and a lack of marbling. Sorry that they didn't work out!


Friday 7th of August 2020

The ingredients says chuck roast but when you read the instructions it says pork belly. Does this recipe work? Thanks!

Nicole Johnson

Sunday 9th of August 2020

It sure does! Good catch! Sometimes, when the cooking methods are nearly identical between two recipes, I'll clone the recipe and change the relevant parts to fit the new version. In this case, Pork Belly Burnt Ends to Poor Man's Burnt Ends. Looks like I just missed one spot. The dangers of being your own editor, I guess. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. It is fixed!


Wednesday 6th of May 2020

I messed up and looked at a different recipe. My roast is on the grill, but it’s not cut up. I’m hoping I can adapt the recipe/time and salvage the meal!


Friday 6th of October 2023

@Jaime, I never cut my roast up first, I slow smoke to 165, wrap and slow smoke to 195-205. Then cut it up, use whatever BBQ SAUCE desired, I also ad couple pats of butter and drizzle with home, back on the grill for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. ALWAYS great

Corena Underwood

Monday 13th of January 2020

Wow! Such a great way to use a beef chuck roast! Simple, easy directions to follow and they turned out perfectly! My whole family loved them. I will definitely make these again. Thank you for sharing this recipe. ❤️

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