Believe it or not, burnt ends are considered a delicacy in the world of barbecue. That’s real barbecue, by the way. Slow-cooked, smoked, and sauced-up — not the burgers-on-the-grill that we call a barbecue here in New England. Burnt ends originated in Kansas City, where they’re serious about all things barbecue. Basically, the end pieces of the smoked brisket are cut off, tossed together, and slow-simmered in a rich, piquant sauce. Served on a platter or in a sandwich, they’re a treat for any true-barbecue lover.
Fortunately, you don’t have to travel to Kansas City to try this regional favorite. Blue-Ribbon Bar-B-Q, in Arlington and West Newton, makes a delicious Kansas City burnt-ends sandwich. Slow-simmered barbecued beef is drenched in a zippy, rich sauce (not the super-vinegary North Carolina–style sauce) and cooked a second time. You might think this would result in tough beef, but instead it’s fall-apart tender. When you order a sandwich at Blue-Ribbon, you receive a heaping mound of shredded beef atop a soft sandwich bun. It’s served with zesty coleslaw, smoky baked beans, and homemade pickles on the side. If you really want to be authentic, spoon some of the coleslaw on top of the burnt ends. The crisp bite of the slaw is a great contrast to the sweet and tangy barbecued meat.
Who needs Kansas City?
Available for $5.95 at Blue-Ribbon Bar-B-Q, 908 Mass Ave, in Arlington; and 1375 Washington Street, in West Newton. Call (781) 648-7427 and (617) 332-2583, respectively.