Burnt Ends: The BBQ Dish So Good They Made A Movie About It

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt |

© Photo by Morgan Cooper // Cooper Films and KCPT

I shouldn’t have to explain what burnt ends are. But even among the very barbecue-aware I’ve met, the dish has still yet to completely break through. That may change sooner than later, as a new documentary is now being rolled out just as the best burnt ends are selected: piece by piece.

Kansas City Public Television in collaboration with Flatland and Recommended Daily, has produced a five part series titled Burnt Legend, spotlighting a regional delicacy that was born of not wanting to waste a bit of brisket. A noble cause, to be sure.


For the unfamiliar, burnt ends are just that–the burn-y, crusty bits around the outside of a spiced and smoked brisket. They’re the concentrated morsels of salty, charred, meaty goodness that used to get thrown away. That is until KC favorite Arthur Bryant’s started putting them on the counter for hungry customers to snack on while waiting in line.

The ends proved so popular that Arthur Bryant’s added them to the menu, served up on a slice of white bread with sauce and pickles. After my introduction to the dish at the OG location, I’d say it’s not so much an open-faced sandwich as it is a mixed-media artwork that requires a Wonder Bread canvas to be fully appreciated. You might have ends elsewhere, but Arthur Bryant’s is where they begin.

Burnt Legend will post in chapters on Flatland over the next five Mondays and will air on KCPT as an entire documentary on Oct. 20.


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