Originating in Kansas City, Burnt Ends have become a barbecue delicacy. From the classic Brisket Burnt Ends to the Pork Belly Burnt Ends that earned the nickname “Meat Candy”, the ability to pack so much flavor into a bite-sized piece of meat is always a fan-favorite.
These Hot Honey Salmon Burnt Ends put a seafood twist on the traditional idea of burnt ends that will change the way you think about fish forever!
Smoked Salmon Burnt Ends
I will be the first to admit that sometimes I forget about seafood when I’m deciding what to throw on the grill.
I naturally gravitate towards heartier options like beef and pork, but there is something really special about the amazing flavor that you can create with an open fire and good quality fish.
For this recipe, I recommend grabbing a piece of center-cut salmon if you can find it. If not, then filets will work too.
The goal is to keep your cubes of salmon as even as possible because salmon cooks quickly and smaller pieces will end up over-done before the bigger pieces finish if they’re not relatively uniform in size.
Lemon and Salmon: A Match Made in BBQ Heaven
There is a reason that so many salmon recipes incorporate lemon into them. The acidity and sour tang of lemon with the creamy, subtle flavor of salmon pair perfectly.
Making your own lemon pepper seasoning at home only takes three ingredients and really elevates this dish.
It does take a few hours, so if you are pressed for time you can use a store-bought lemon pepper seasoning but I highly recommend making your own.
The process takes a few hours, so you will need to make it ahead of time.
How to make salmon burnt ends
1. Cut the salmon into even cubes
You are going to start by chopping your salmon into cubes about 1-1/2” thick.
Do not remove the skin because it creates a good base to keep the fish together while it’s grilling.
2. Season the salmon
Add the cubes of salmon to a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Give the bowl a shake until each cube is coated lightly in olive oil.
Then, it’s time to season each cube with a bit of lemon pepper seasoning. The easiest way to season them is to take each cube in your hand and lightly season every side. This will ensure that each cube is packed full of flavor!
3. Place salmon cubes on wire rack
The salmon burnt ends are best cooked on a wire rack, also known as a “jerky tray”.
While you could put them directly on the grates of your grill, the skin of the salmon will stick when they’re cooking, so laying them out on a wire rack makes clean-up a breeze.
No one wants to deal with scraping fish skin off the grill!
Lay each cube of salmon, skin-side down, on the wire rack about 1” apart to allow plenty of air flow between them.
4. Fire up the grill
Pre-heat your grill or smoker to 250°F.
I smoked these on my Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 over Acacia wood lump charcoal.
If you decide to use a grill, then propane or charcoal will work just fine. If you prefer to use a smoker, then I recommend using a light wood like Pecan or Oak, so you don’t overpower the flavor of the fish.
The cook time is relatively short but adding a little smoke flavor will really take the salmon to the next level.
Place your wire rack onto the grill over indirect heat (the furthest point from the firebox if you are using a smoker).
Let them cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how you like your salmon cooked. According to the USDA, 145°F is the safe cooking temperature of salmon. I wouldn’t recommend going much higher than 155°F because at that point the fish is going to start drying out, but it’s all about personal preference!
5. Drizzle with hot honey for a touch of sweetness
This recipe calls for Hot Honey, which is essentially just honey with chilis added to it.
If you don’t like spice, then regular honey will work just fine.
The sweetness of the honey combined with the tang of the lemon pepper really creates a fantastic flavor combination.
Drizzle a bit of hot honey over each piece of salmon and then place them back on the grill for another 10 to 15 minutes. The honey will start to melt and create a beautiful glaze on the outside of the salmon.
When they’re done, you can add another drizzle of hot honey and a sprinkle of green onions for freshness, but then they’re ready to enjoy!
Love burnt ends? Give our poor man’s burnt ends a try next.
- 1 lb center cut salmon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 5 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
- 5 tbsp hot honey
- ¼ cup chopped green onions for garnish
For the lemon pepper seasoning
- 4 lemons
- 4 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
For the lemon pepper seasoning
- Peel the skin off your lemons using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Try to include only the yellow part of the lemon, leaving the white pith behind as much as possible.
- Bake at 150°F for 2 to 3 hours, or until the lemon peels are completely dehydrated.
- Throw the dehydrated lemon, pepper, and salt into a blender and blend on high-speed until the mixture is well combined and mostly smooth in texture.
For the salmon burnt ends
- Pre-heat your smoker to 250°F.
- Cut your salmon into 1-1/2” thick cubes and then coat each cube in olive oil.
- Season with lemon pepper seasoning, being sure to coat all sides then place salmon cubes on a wire rack or jerky tray and smoke for 20 minutes.
- Remove tray from smoker and drizzle hot honey on each cube of salmon.
- Place back on the smoker for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked to your preference. The USDA safe temp for salmon is145°F.
- Remove from smoker and top with a final drizzle of hot honey and a sprinkle of chopped green onions.