Smoked pork belly burnt ends may be new to the grillin’ game, but they’re already a classic for good reason. Tender pork belly is grilled low and slow before slathering in a rich BBQ sauce. Pork burnt ends will quickly become one of your favorite smoker recipes.
Smoked Pork Belly
Smoked Pork belly recipes are derived from the iconic beef belly brisket burnt ends recipe. Instead of using beef brisket, we’re subbing in pork belly which provides a much softer bite. Like our famous Prime Rib, these smoked pork belly burnt ends are melt-in-your-mouth fantastic.
When shopping for pork belly, to make burnt pork belly ends, don’t grab a package of pre-sliced pork belly. You want it in roast form so you can cut 1″ pork belly cubes. We’re looking for pork belly bites, not bacon.
Ideally, you want skinless pork or else you’ll have to remove it yourself. Costco pork belly is a great option as the quality is usually high.
Pork Burnt Ends Ingredients
There isn’t a long list of ingredients required to make this recipe for burnt ends:
- Pork Belly Slab- Cut into 1″ pork belly cubes
- BBQ Rub – 1/2 batch of our popular BBQ Dry Rub (or use your favorite dry rub).
- BBQ Sauce – Use your favorite Texas-style BBQ Sauce. We tend to use homemade barbecue sauce, but will go with Sweet Baby Ray’s if we’re not in the mood to make our own.
- Butter – Adds richness to the sauce.
- Honey – Adds sweetness to the sauce, along with the brown sugar in the dry rub.
How to Make Burnt Ends
Making burnt ends is one of the easier grilled recipes to master, thanks to the cubed fatty pork belly. You can use a smoker, gas grill or charcoal grill to make smoked pork belly burnt ends; we provide instructions for all methods. Just make sure you have the supplies called out below.
- Gas Grill – Turn your burners on low. If you find it going over 225° F, turn off a burner or two to get it as close as possible. Create smoke by using a smoker box filled with wood chips/chunks. Or you can omit the smoke all-together if you’re not into a smoky flavor.
- Charcoal – Pre-heat the coals and dump them in the center of the grill. Open the vents as needed to maintain the temperate at 225° F. Create smoke by placing wood chunks directly on the pre-heated coals, right before cooking.
- Pellet/Electric Smoker – Pre-heat your grill to 225 degrees F. Follow the manufacture’s instructions to get an even smoke. You can’t go wrong making pork belly burnt ends Traeger style! Traeger burnt ends for the win!
- Grill Basket or Grill Mat– The pork needs to be placed inside a grill basket or on a grill mat as they will fall in between the grill grates.
- Energy Source – The smoker pork belly burnt ends will be on the heat for hours so make sure you stock up on your selected energy source: charcoal, pellets, propane, gas, etc.
- Smoking Wood (Only Needed If Smoking) – Chunks, chips or pellets.
- Aluminum Pan – Use a disposable aluminum pan, if you don’t have a cast iron pan, when making smoking burnt ends.
- Thermometer – Always use a thermometer. Always. Our go-to digital thermometer is the Thermaworks Dot. It never fails.
- Water Bottle – Use it to spritz the smoked burnt ends with water, or even apple cider vinegar, while cooking. We use inexpensive spray bottles from Amazon.
- Smoker Box – You’ll need one to impart the smoke flavor if using a gas grill. We’ve used this one from Amazon in the past. Again, this isn’t necessary if you prefer to grill the pork belly vs smoking it.
What Type Of Wood Is Best For Burnt Ends Pork?
- Freeze the pork belly for 30 minutes to make it easier to cube.
- Use your favorite BBQ rub if you have one! Or, when mixing ours from scratch, play around with the levels of spice. Like some heat? Add in some extra cayenne pepper. Don’t love sweet BBQ? Half the brown sugar. It’s all good when making bbq burnt ends!
- This pork belly burnt ends recipe will keep in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. Make sure to let them cool before transferring to the fridge.
- Poor Mans Burnt Ends – Poor man burnt ends is made with beef chuck roast instead of pork belly. Still delicious, but not as tender. This recipe will not work with a chuck roast, as it’s more labor intensive and requires a higher temperature setting. Recipe will come soon, so stay tuned!
- Hot Dog Burnt Ends – Instead of using seasoned pork belly cubes, use hot dogs! BBQ sauce + hot dogs is a fabulous combination and is less expensive than the pork burnt ends recipe. Just cut down the initial smoke time to 1 hour.
What To Serve With Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends
Here are a few ideas to serve with recipes for burnt ends: dill pickle pasta salad, sous vide corn on the cob, Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Ensalda de Papa (Puerto Rican Potato Salad), Smoked Queso or Ensalada de Coditos (Puerto Rican Macaroni Salad).
Drink Pairing Ideas
Wine – Prosecco, Dry Rosé or Pinot Gris
Beer – Pale Ale, Amber Ales, Brown Ales and Dark Lagers
Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- Pre-heat your smoker or grill to 225°F.
- Slice the pork into 1" pork belly cubes and toss with the BBQ rub. Transfer the rubbed pork to a grill basket or grilling sheet. Smoke for 3 hours at 225°F.
- Transfer pork belly cubes to a disposable aluminum pan and toss with the barbecue sauce, honey and butter. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and smoke for 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 203°F.
- Remove the aluminum foil cover and smoke for an additional 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve immediately for best texture.