If there is one thing that is hot right now in BBQ, it’s Pork Belly Burnt Ends!
These tender little nuggets of deliciousness come from a cut of meat that we all eat more regularly than we realize, pork belly.
Bacon is also made from pork belly but sliced much thinner after curing or smoking.
Pork Belly Burnt Ends are a great appetizer for your next party whether you’re watching the big game or having an open house.
Follow the recipe below to end up with flawless burnt ends.
Choosing Your Pork Belly
Costco has a great selection of pork bellies with various sizes and prices. I used a 9 lb. pork belly for this recipe.
The nice thing about pork belly is that it is relatively cheap and it will go a long way.
When choosing your pork belly, make sure to pick one with as uniform of a fat layer as possible.
This will ensure that each piece renders its fat consistently with the others and you’ll be left with uniform pieces in the end.
Cubing Your Pork Belly
Cut the pork belly into 1”x1” cubes. Do this by slicing the pork belly as shown in the photos below.
Again, try to keep your cubes as uniform as possible. This ensures consistency in the cook. If you need to cut a small amount of fat away to maintain similar fat thickness, go ahead and do so.
Seasoning Your Pork Belly
It’s important that you season your pork belly liberally. Some people will set out their pork belly after they’ve cubed it and season each cube individually.
Ain’t nobody got time for that!
I either toss them in a bowl with the seasoning or leave them on cookie tray as show below and toss them as I’m seasoning them.
You can use whatever seasoning you like when doing pork belly burnt ends but I tend to use a sweet rub because pork pairs so well with sweetness.
Smoking Your Pork Belly
After you’ve seasoned your pork belly cubes, place them on a wire cooking rack, fat side down, ensuring that they aren’t touching.
I recommend using a small grid wire rack so that they have as much stability as possible and won’t tip over because the grate is too wide.
Place the racks of pork belly cubes in your smoker set at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
They will take roughly 3 hours (sometimes more or less because of ambient temperature).
Spritz your pork with apple juice or apple cider every 30-45 minutes or when it looks dry.
Once your cubes reach an internal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit, remove them from the smoker and place them in 2 aluminum pans.
Season them one more time with your rub then pour one cup of your favorite sweet BBQ sauce (I enjoy Traeger Apricot sauce), several pats of butter and ¼ Cup of honey over your cubes and toss to ensure they are well mixed.
Place them back in your smoker for about an hour or until the sauce tightens (thickens) and you’re left with sticky, sweet pork belly burnt ends.
Let cool for 15 minutes and enjoy!
Preheat smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit
Cube Pork Belly into 1”x1” cubes
Season cubes liberally with your favorite sweet rub
Place cubes fat side down on wire rack and place in smoker
Spritz with Apple Juice every 30-45 min or if pork looks dry
Cook until internal temp reaches 190 degrees F
Remove pork belly at 190 degrees F and season again with sweet rub
Pour 1 Cup sweet BBQ sauce, several pats of butter and ¼ C honey and toss evenly
Place back in smoker for 1 hour or until sauce tightens and caramelizes
Let cool for 15 minutes
Ingredients for 9 lb. Recipe
Pork Belly 9 lbs.
1.5 Cups Sweet Rub
2 Cups Sweet BBQ Sauce
1 Stick Butter
½ Cup Honey
¼ Cup Apple Juice or Apple Cider
Traeger Timberline 1300
Small Grid Wire Rack
Sharp Knife and Cutting Board
2 Medium Size Aluminum Pans
How To Make Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- Pork Belly 9 lbs.
- 1.5 Cups Sweet Rub
- 2 Cups Sweet BBQ Sauce
- 1 Stick Butter
- ½ Cup Honey
- ¼ Cup Apple Juice or Apple Cider
- Preheat smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cube Pork Belly into 1”x1” cubes
- Season cubes liberally with your favorite sweet rub
- Place cubes fat side down on wire rack and place in smoker
- Spritz with Apple Juice every 30-45 min or if pork looks dry
- Cook until internal temp reaches 190 degrees F
- Remove pork belly at 190 degrees F and season again with sweet rub
- Pour 1 Cup sweet BBQ sauce, several pats of butter and ¼ C honey and toss evenly
- Place back in smoker for 1 hour or until sauce tightens and caramelizes
- Let cool for 15 minutes
Tools Used: Traeger Timberline 1300 Small Grid Wire Rack Cookie Sheet Sharp Knife and Cutting Board 2 Medium Size Aluminum Pans