Pork Belly Burnt Ends
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
There are really two types of burnt ends. If someone refers to burnt ends without specifically saying pork belly burnt ends or pork burnt ends, 9 times out of 10 they are referring to brisket burnt ends. Oddly, not so long ago, burnt ends were one of the cheapest pieces of meat and barbecue joints could hardly give them away. Now, they are coveted to high heaven and typically sell out every day at popular barbecue restaurants. How times have changed. That said, if you haven’t tried burnt brisket burnt ends, go out immediately and find a good barbecue place and get there early to give them a try.
All that said, this recipe has nothing to do with brisket burnt ends. So, now that I have you salivating over something I don’t have a recipe posted yet for, I’ll get you salivating over what we are actually here for today, pork belly burnt ends!
Like their brother from another mother, pork belly burnt ends are exactly what they sound like. These are the crispy, salty edges of a smoked pork belly that are then sauced with any kind of barbecue sauce you like and further cooked to reduce into a thick, saucy, salty bite of deliciousness. Cool part is, we can mass produce these from a pork belly by cutting them into individual cubes and smoking them.
There’s hardly a better appetizer for a good barbecue than pork belly burnt ends. So, let’s get to it…
Cut: Pork Belly
Weight: 3 Pounds
Heat Source: Wood Pellets
Type of Wood: Apple Wood
Estimated Cook Time: 4 hours
Actual Cook Time: 4 ½ hours
Time of Cook: 2:30 PM
Estimated Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees
Actual Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees
Location of Purchase: Costco
Cook Date: August 29, 2020
3 pound pork belly
½ - 1 cup Sweet Rub for Poultry and Pork
2 tablespoons olive oil
BBQ Sauce of choice
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup honey
Thermometer - These are critical tools to have there are two main types. First, instant read thermometer like this one or this one. The Thermapen is worth its weight in gold and one I use almost every day. I know the price tag seems excessive but it's the best in the business for a reason. If you're looking for a dual temperature thermometer for both grill temperature and meat, this is the way to go. I use my Smoke for longer more specific cooks such as this.
Step 1: If your pork belly has skin, which is relatively uncommon, remove the skin.
Step 2: With a sharp knife, cut your pork belly into 1 ½ inch cubes.
Step 3: Place all cubes in a mixing bowl, add the olive oil and rub, mix thoroughly ensuring all pieces are covered
Step 4: Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees.
Step 4: On a wire rack, arrange the pork belly cubes fat side up (important!). Fat side needs to be up as the fat will render and help keep the cubes of deliciousness nice and moist.
Step 5: Smoke undisturbed for 2 ½ hours. This will be your first check on the burnt ends. They should be dark red and have a little bark on the outside of them. If not, cook another 30 minutes.
Step 6: Transfer the burnt ends to your aluminum pan and add your BBQ sauce, honey and butter, mixing thoroughly. Cover with aluminum foil and return to the smoker for another hour (60 minutes).
Step 7: After an hour covered, check the temperature of some of the cubes using your thermometer. You are aiming for a range between 200-205 degrees. Continue cooking until you reach that temperature range. You can bump the smoker temperature to 250 to expedite the process if you are behind schedule.
Step 8: Upon reaching the range of 200-205, reach the aluminum foil lid and smoke uncovered for 10-15 minutes to help the sauce thicken.
Step 9: Remove the burnt ends and serve! I suggest serving with toothpicks to help keep your guests relatively clean.
Lessons Learned (Note: I will update this section to include your lessons learned from the comment section)