I have been seeing these Costco burnt ends on my trips to the store every now and then but have been ignoring them. Finally, I couldn't help myself and bagged a box.
Considering that I know quite a bit about BBQ I felt that it was only fair to give you some insight into what this product is really like!
OK, I know that everyone refers to them as Costco's burnt ends but there is something that I want to clear up real quick - this refrigerated item is actually known as Mission Hill Bistro burnt ends. This product is simply found in the chain store.
Each package here consists of smoked brisket burnt ends meat pouch and barbecue sauce packet.
In case you aren't familiar with burnt ends, they are flavorful, tender meat that are taken from the point half of a smoked beef brisket.
If I am being honest, I wasn't impressed by what I saw when I unpacked the packaging. While it is an eye catching BBQ product, there isn't much in the way of quantity when it came to the number of burnt ends.
It is meant to serve four people but it may be better suited to two people, with plenty of side dishes to complete the meal. The good news, however, is that you do get plenty of BBQ sauce to go along with the brisket burnt ends.
Contrary to popular belief, these aren't Costco frozen burnt ends. To store Costco burnt ends, simply keep them refrigerated.
As such, there is no need to thaw Costco burnt ends - you can simply reheat them right out of the gate.
Once you have removed the cardboard packaging, pierce the plastic covering. Place in the microwave and heat on high heat for two and a half minutes. Take it out, separate the burnt ends with your fingers, return to the microwave and then heat for another two and a half minutes.
Plate the burnt ends and then add the barbecue sauce.
I was quite excited to try out the burnt ends - not only does smoked brisket take ages to make but you can usually only get authentic burnt ends in proper barbecue joints in Alabama. So, the idea of being able to enjoy this delicious brisket point anywhere that I liked was quite appealing.
Having said that, I wasn't completely impressed with the burnt ends.
On the one hand, the smoky flavor is true to form so I will give them credit there. You also get the nice beef flavor that you associate with barbecued brisket.
However, what I did immediately realize, though, was that these weren't authentic burnt ends. This is because the because they are clearly made from the flat part instead of the point. As such, these are leaner cuts of meat.
The texture of the meat is a bit chewy but I can't necessarily blame the product. This is more probably the result of microwaving the meat. Furthermore, when meat has been packaged and stored like this, you really aren't going to get the best texture.
You can make this on the stovetop as well and I would suggest opting for this method as it will doubtlessly yield a better texture.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the sauce, though. Typically, these are an overly sweet affair and tend to have a strange chemical aftertaste. This wasn't the case with this sauce at all, though.
Instead, there was a good balance of sweetness, acid, and even a little heat. The overall tanginess was a nice touch.
No, these burnt ends aren't exactly healthy. Now, the high fat and sugar levels aren't surprising. After all, it isn't like burnt ends from certain BBQ restaurants are all that healthy. No one is counting calories or nutrients when eating brisket.
That being said, I was pretty surprised at the sodium content here. It is quite high. Not only is this not too good for you, but the excess salt limits how much of the brisket you can actually eat.
These burnt ends cost $11.99 a pound. This isn't exactly cheaper considering the small portion. At the same time you can rationalize that this dish would cost you a lot more in restaurants. Still, I won't say that you are getting bang for your buck.
Well, one of these packages weighs 1.5lbs, but this is including the barbecue sauce. It is meant to feed four people, so a single pound may be enough for three people, although this is unlikely.
So, what is my final conclusion about this item?
Well, I don't love it and if you are a fan of good or great barbecue, then I would say that you wouldn't particularly enjoy this fare. However, if you are looking for something quick and have a hankering for brisket but not urge to make it yourself, this may fill the void.
At the very least, this is better than the Costco pulled pork, so that is something.
If you do want my advise, though, I would heat the meat up on the stovetop as it is bound to taste better. Smothering it in the sauce may also make up for what these burnt ends lack!