These Pork Belly Burnt Ends are butter-like and tender, covered in spices and sweet barbecue sauce. They’re smoked to a delicious crispness that’s addictively good.
Table Of Contents
When it comes to smoked meat, you can’t beat Pork Belly Burnt Ends. These delicious pieces of meat are incredibly flavorful and always a crowd-pleaser at my house.
- TASTE: Smoky and tangy with hints of sweetness, these burnt ends are packed with flavor. They’re seasoned and smoked with applewood or hickory pellets.
- TEXTURE: These Pork Belly Burnt Ends are tender and buttery. They have a crisp outside from the caramelization and smoking.
- TIME: This recipe takes 4 1/2 hours, but only about 8 minutes of active prep time.
- EASE: This is really easy to make and uses common pantry staples. With little prep time, this dish is a breeze to make.
What You’ll Need
- Pork Belly- This fatty cut of pork renders down in such a delicious way. We’ll be cubing it to get the perfect sized pieces.
- Olive oil- This helps the seasonings adhere to the meat.
- Brown sugar– This adds sweetness that caramelizes on the meat.
- Seasonings- We’ll be using a combination of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and paprika for great flavor.
- Bbq sauce– This adds sweet, smoky, and tangy flavor that’s perfect with Pork Belly Burnt Ends.
- Butter- This adds rich flavor and keeps the pork buttery and tender.
- Honey– This thick, sweet ingredient gives the barbecue sauce a syrupy texture.
Add-ins and Substitutions
- Substitute another meat- You can also make this recipe with beef brisket, chuck roast, or pork shoulder. Smoking these low and slow will make them tender and juicy.
- Add another sauce- Instead of bbq sauce, try this recipe with hoisin sauce, teriyaki sauce, or steak sauce.
- Make it tangier- You can add apple cider vinegar to the sauce for a tangier flavor. You can also use different bbq sauces for variation.
- Substitute other sweeteners- Depending on dietary preferences, you can substitute molasses, maple syrup, or other sweeteners in place of the brown sugar and honey.
How to Make Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- Make spice rub. Mix the brown sugar, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and paprika together in a bowl. Then set it aside.
- Trim the pork belly. Trim a thin layer of fat off the top of the pork belly. Then cut it into cubes, about 1 1/2-2 inches.
- Season it. Place the pork belly cubes into a large prep bowl and drizzle it with olive oil. Mix it to spread it evenly, then add the spice rub. Use your hands (in food-grade gloves) to distribute it over all of the pork belly.
- Smoke the pork. Fill your smoker with hickory or applewood pellets and preheat it to 250ºF. Place the pork on the smoker grill grates and smoke until the internal temperature of the meat is 165-170ºF (about 2-3 hours).
- Add the sauce. Use tongs to transfer the meat to an aluminum pan. Then add the bbq sauce, butter, honey, and brown sugar. Mix and cover with foil.
- Smoke, then rest. Place the covered meat tray on the smoker and cook at 250ºF until the internal temperature of the meat is about 200ºF (about 1 1/2 hours). Then remove the foil and smoke for another 15 minutes to thicken the sauce. Remove the tray and let the Pork Belly Burnt Ends rest for 15 minutes. Serve.
Pro Tip: If the sauce does not get thick enough, pour it into a sauce pan and thicken it over the stove, then pour it back over the burnt ends
- Pre-mix the seasonings- So they are evenly distributed on each piece of pork belly, pre-mix the seasonings. Otherwise, some pieces will get more of one spice or another.
- Preheat the smoker- To get a delicious crispness to the ends of the meat, put it into an already hot smoker, directly on the grill grate.
- Check for doneness- Different meats and smokers may vary, so look for soft butter-like texture when you prick it with a meat thermometer.
- Let them rest- Allow the meat to rest after smoking so the juices can be reabsorbed. Otherwise, the meat can become dry.
Yes, you will cut off a thin layer of skin from the top of your pork belly so the meat is extra tender when smoked. You can also have the butcher do this, but it’s simple and easy to do yourself.
In order for burnt ends to be tender, they need to be cooked low and slow. If you cooked them at too high of a temperature, then the fat and collagen won’t render down, leaving the meat tough and dry.
These scrumptious Pork Belly Burnt Ends are perfect with all kinds of sides, salads, veggies, and more. You can serve them with all your favorites!
- Meats: Enjoy these with other smoked dishes, like these Smoked Chicken Thighs, Smoked Chicken Wings, Smoked Ribs, and Smoked Beef Brisket.
- Salad: Serve them alongside Avocado Corn Salad, Pesto Pasta Salad (VIDEO), Potato Salad with Baked Salmon, or coleslaw.
- Sides: Pair these Pork Belly Burnt Ends with Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese, baked beans, or Crispy Air Fryer French Fries.
- Cornbread: This dish is delicious with some cornbread. Try it with Hot Water Cornbread, Cornbread Muffins, and Moist Buttermilk Cornbread.
Make This Recipe in Advance
Make ahead: You can pre-mix the seasonings and prep the pork belly, storing it in the fridge until you’re ready to smoke it. You can also prep the sauce ahead of time.
Storing: Store any leftover Pork Belly Burnt Ends in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat it in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the smoker until warmed through. Add some extra sauce if needed.
Freeze: Once cooled, these can be frozen for up to 3 months. Freeze them in a freezer ziplock bag or container. Thaw overnight and reheat when you’re ready to serve.
Watch Video Recipe Here
More Smoked Barbecue Dishes!
Full Recipe Instructions
- Make the bbq spice rub by combining 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp chili powder, and 2 Tbsp paprika in a bowl. Then set it aside.
- Trim a thin (top) layer of fat from the pork belly. Then cut it up into cubes that are about 1 1/2-2 inches big.
- Place the cubed pork belly into a large prep bowl and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top. Then mix it into the meat.
- Now pour spice rub over the oiled meat and rub it in evenly using your clean hands or use food-grade gloves.
- Fill your smoker with hickory or applewood pellets and preheat it to 250ºF. Place the pork chunks directly onto the smoker grill grates and smoke until the internal temperature of the meat is 165-170ºF(about 2-3 hours).
- Now use tongs to carefully transfer the meat into a foil roasting pan. Then add 1 cup bbq sauce, 4 Tbsp butter, 2 Tbsp honey, and 2 Tbsp brown sugar. Mix it all together and covet with foil.
- Place the covered meat tray on the smoker and cook at 250ºF until the internal temperature of the meat is about 200ºF. (About 1 1/2 hours). Note: different meats and smokers may vary, look for soft butter -ike texture when pricked with a meat thermometer.
- Now, remove the foil cover and smoke for another 15 minutes to thicken the sauce and create tackiness. (Tip: if sauce does not get thick enough, pour into a sauce pan and thicken it over the stove, and pour it back over the burnt ends).
- Lastly, remove the tray from the smoker, then rest for 15 minutes and serve.