I love bacon. Shocking, right? I especially love smoked bacon. It's easy to make, and I'll devour a pound of it in one sitting. Seriously, I have no restraint. That's why when I found out about Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends, I HAD TO make them. If you love bacon, you'll love this pork belly burnt end recipe too!
What are Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends?
If you're new to BBQ, you might be wondering, "what are burnt ends?"
When I first got started with my Traeger, burnt ends were one of the first meals I made.
Traditionally, burnt ends are made from the point of a brisket. The point is the portion of the brisket that has a higher amount of fat, and when it's cubed up and tossed in sauce, it's delicious.
Any cut of meat that has a really high amount of fat will work to make burnt ends. In addition to making them with brisket, and pork belly, you can make them with pork shoulder too.
Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends are a little richer than beef burnt ends. They're great as an appetizer.
Where to Find Pork Belly
The first thing you'll need to get for this recipe is a good slab of pork belly. Most grocery stores don't have pork belly out on display. Ask the butcher if they have pork belly in the back, and you'll usually find success. You only need 3-4 pounds of pork belly to make burnt ends, but feel free to get more! You could always use a portion of the pork belly to make your own bacon.
Most of the time my local Costco does have pork belly, and that's where I usually get it. But if I can't find pork belly locally I order Pork Belly online as well.
Pork Belly Prep
Once you've secured a pork belly, you're ready to get smoking. First, you'll want to cube up the pork belly into 2x2 inch cubes. Place all of them in a large disposable pan.
Drizzle olive oil over the cubes of pork belly, and then toss them in your favorite bbq rub. I use my pork and poultry rub here and it works really well. You can purchase the recipe for my pork and poultry rub here.
Don't skimp on the rub. I use about a cup of bbq rub to make sure all of the cubes are coated.
Time to Smoke!
When you're ready to cook, set your smoker up to cook with indirect heat at 225 degrees. I use pecan or cherry wood for these pork belly burnt ends. If you're looking for other options, most fruit woods will pair well with this recipe.
Put your seasoned pork belly cubes on a grill rack, and place it in your smoker. Let the cubes smoke for about 3 hours. At the 3 hour mark open up the grill and peak at them, if you're satisfied with the bark, pull them off the smoker and throw them back in the disposable pan. If you want a little more bark let them smoke a little longer.
Saucing the Burnt Ends
Now that you've cubed up the pork belly, it's time to add a few ingredients to the pan to help build up your flavor. Cube up 4 tablespoons of butter, and place the cubes on top of the burnt ends. Drizzle a few tablespoons of honey over top, and then add about 1 cup of bbq sauce. I make a sauce here that give the burnt ends a really good flavor.
In a small jar combine a ¼ cup ketchup, a ¼ cup bbq sauce, ½ cup brown sugar, ⅛ cup apple cider vinegar, and 2 Tbsp of the bbq rub you used to season the pork belly. Put a lid on the jar and shake it a few times then pour the sauce over the burnt ends.
Cover the pan with foil and seal it tight. Throw it back on the smoker and turn the heat up to 250. Don't go much higher than 250, because you'll risk burning, and you don't want to burn the burnt ends just yet!
Check the temp of your burnt ends after an hour or so. You want the temp to get up to about 195 degrees. If you're there, great! If not, keep cooking until you do get there.
Remove the foil from the pan and let the pork belly cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more. This will crisp up some of the pork belly cubes, and give it that tacky finish you're looking for.
What to Serve With Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends
When the burnt ends are done cooking serve them alongside a good coleslaw and baked beans. I buy a broccoli slaw mix from the store and mix it with my Alabama white sauce to make a killer cole slaw.
I hope you make the decision to make this pork belly burnt ends recipe one day. They are so incredibly delicious, and way easier to make than I imagined!
Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- 5 lbs pork belly
- 1 cup BBQ Rub
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Burnt Ends Sauce
- ¼ cup Ketchup
- ¼ cup bbq sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ⅛ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp BBQ Rub
- Cube pork belly and toss with olive oil and bbq rub.
- Smoke the cubes at 225 for 3-4 hours. When the bark is where you want it pull them off the smoker.
- Toss the pork belly with the butter, honey, and burnt ends sauce.
- Cover the pan with foil and seal it up tight. Throw it back on the smoker and turn the heat up to 250. Don't go much higher than 250, because you'll risk burning, and you don't want to burn the burnt ends just yet!
- Check the temp of your burnt ends after an hour or so. You want the temp to get up to about 195 degrees. If you're there, great!
- Let the pork belly cook uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. This will crisp up some of the pork belly cubes, and give it that tacky finish you're looking for.