Knowing when and where to get burnt ends in DFW is like a secret handshake among barbecue hounds. Not every joint serves them, but the variety of burnt ends from those that do is astonishing. You've got your classics like at 18th & Vine, the bacon burnt end at Heim or the burnt end as big as your face at Pecan Lodge. There are places like Lakewood Smokehouse that serve them every day, and other spots like Lockhart's where you can only get them once a week.
Ten50 BBQ in Richardson has jumped into the burnt-end game with a Wednesday special of burnt ends, in limited quantities. We've been fans of Ten50 since they've opened, as it gives the suburbs a barbecue option that isn't Dickey's, plus they've got a full bar and okra that will put your grandma's to shame. Very few Wednesdays went by before we ventured up Central Expressway to find out how the burnt ends stack up.
Let's not bury the lead any further. We're happy to report that Ten50's burnt-end game is strong. It doesn't hurt that while we stood in the quick-moving line, a meat cutter proffered small samples of the burnt ends to the queue, which is brilliant marketing if we've ever seen it. Sold by the pound, a handful of burnt ends came to just over a third of a pound, which accompanied our pulled pork sandwich ($9) and five-cheese mac ($3) quite nicely. Then it's a matter of restraining further nibbling until you carry your tray to a table.
Ten50's burnt ends are everything we hoped for. The extra char to the outside bark is simple and delicious and shields a smoky brisket point that's turned a deep mahogany color beneath. Some of the bites were leaner, while others had a decadently rendered layer of fat that melted in each bite. Ten50's burnt ends come out of the smoker unsauced, but a splash of the house barbecue sauce that's conveniently bottled on every table added an extra layer of flavor complexity that we enjoyed, sauce snobs be damned.
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If there's one nit we have to pick about the burnt-end experience at Ten50 BBQ, it's the price. At $14.50 per half-pound, adding the smoked delicacy to your order is a pricey proposition, but in fairness, the price seems to be in line with the burnt ends from other spots in the area. Our third-pound handful set us back almost $11, and if you lunch like we did with a sandwich, a side and a drink, your tab can push close to $30 in a hurry.
That said, no one is eating three meals of foie gras a day, and we would argue that the same goes for burnt ends. Just think of Ten50's burnt ends as a luxurious treat for your mouth, and plan your budget accordingly. After all, it's the little luxuries that make life worth living.
Ten50 BBQ, 1050 N. Central Expressway, Richardson