Pork Butt Burnt Ends

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One of the greatest gems of American barbecue is burnt ends. Many variants of the delectable snack have taken the barbecue world by storm throughout the years.

Brisket burnt ends, pork belly burnt ends, and even salmon burnt ends are available.

But, have you tried Pork Butt Burnt Ends?

Everything you love about slow-smoked pulled pork meets the sticky sweetness of a burned end in this sweet and savory take on a barbecue classic. This is the finest of both worlds.

How burnt ends came about

Pork Butt Burnt Ends

Kansas City was the birthplace of burnt ends. Originally, the brisket point would develop a thick bark (giving it the appearance of being burned), and that area of the brisket has a considerably greater fat content than the tip, making it unappealing to certain consumers.

Many restaurants used to throw the burned ends away for free before Calvin Trillin, a Kansas City native, popularized the piece of brisket in his 1972 Playboy article.

As time passed, the burned ends changed shape and were slathered in a rich, sweet, sticky sauce before being returned to the smoker for another hour or two to caramelize. The end product is a salty, sweet, and flavorful piece of meat that has become a barbecue specialty.

While many barbecue purists claim that a burned end should only be produced from brisket, others have begun making their own variations of a burnt end out of each and every form of protein conceivable.

What cut to use

For this dish, you may use either a boneless or a bone-in pig butt, but I prefer using a boneless pork butt if you can locate one.

The bone makes it difficult to chop the flesh into cubes, while a boneless pig butt is much simpler.

How to make Pork Butt Burnt Ends

Unlike a regular brisket burnt end, which is smoked whole, then diced into burned ends and smoked again, these pig butt burnt ends are chopped into cubes right from the hog butt itself.

1. Prepare the pork

Begin by chopping the pork butt into 1- to 2-inch thick steaks.

Then, take those steaks and chop them into equal-width cubes.

You’ll wind up with pieces that don’t exactly fit the cube shape, but you can still smoke them.

2. Seasoning

After cutting the pork butt into cubes, coat the meat with a binder. I used olive oil since that was what I had on hand, but you may substitute mustard if you want. Just a small sprinkle to give each item a beautiful, light covering.

It’s time to season the pork butt cubes. PS Seasoning’s Notorious PIG Pulled Pork Rub was used in this dish. It’s one of my favorite pulled pork rubs, so it goes nicely with this dish.

If you want to create your own rub, try these 7 Delectable Dry Rubs for Pork and Ribs.

Once the pork cubes are properly seasoned, place them on a jerky tray (or wire rack). They should be roughly 1-1 apart to provide for equal exposure to smoke on either side.

After laying them out on the rack, let them sit at room temperature for approximately 15 minutes, or until the flesh begins to sweat or seems wet.

3. The first cook

Fire up your smoker to 250F.

I used my Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 for this recipe. It’s a charcoal smoker that runs on gravity. I used B&B Charcoal Mesquite Lump charcoal for the charcoal.

While I usually smoke pork with Pecan, I’ve discovered that Mesquite can produce a very excellent smokey taste, and I wanted to amp up the smoke for this dish.

Once your smoker has reached 250 degrees Fahrenheit, just lay the wire rack with the pork butt burned ends on the grates.

You’ll let them smoke for roughly 2 to 3 hours.

4. Saucing up

First, get yourself an aluminum tray. You may use whatever oven-safe pan you like, but I use disposable aluminum trays since cleaning can be tough with burned ends and it’s much simpler to simply throw the tray away than it is to sit over the sink trying to scrub burnt sauce off of a pan, but you do you!

Combine the barbecue sauce and melted butter in a medium-sized mixing basin.

Transfer the charred ends to the metal tray (careful, they’re hot!) and then drizzle with the barbecue sauce and butter mixture. Shake them vigorously until each item is well covered in the liquid. Then, take some brown sugar and sprinkle it on top.

Wrap an aluminum foil sheet around the aluminum tray. This will contain the steam and moisture, preventing the burned ends from drying out during the latter stages of cooking.

5. The final cook

Return the metal tray to the smoker for a further 1-1 hour, or until the internal temperature of the pork butt burned ends reaches 200F.

I prefer to test the temperature of at least four to five of the charred ends, and if they are all over 200F, I know the entire batch is ready to go.

I prefer to use my Thermoworks ThermoPop for rapid temperature readings. It’s a very simple quick read thermometer that reads temperature practically instantly, so you don’t have to keep the smoker open for too long.

6. Let them rest

Pull your burned ends off and set them aside for 20 to 30 minutes after the interior temperature has reached 200°F.

This is partly to allow them to cool down (no one wants to put 200F meat in their mouth!) and also to redistribute the moisture in the meat, which is essential for optimal softness.

These may be served as a snack, an appetizer, or even as the main course. You can also shred them and make one of the most delicious, saucy pulled pork sandwiches you’ve ever had!

For more burnt ends inspiration, check these out:

  • Smoked pork belly burnt ends
  • Best Brisket Burnt Ends
  • Hot dog burnt ends
  • Hot Honey Pork Belly Burnt Ends
  • Poor mans burnt ends


What cut of pork is used for burnt ends?

Cubed bits of pig belly flesh are slow-smoked, sauced, then finished to provide a caramelized, sweet, and buttery taste.

Is pork shoulder good for burnt ends?

These pork shoulder burned ends are the ideal tiny mouthful of porky BBQ delight. They’re flavorful and slow-smoked, giving them a nice outside bark. Try these at your next party or weekend barbecue!

Are pork burnt ends good?

Unlike rib tips, burned ends may absorb just as much melted fat as smoky, crispy bark, resulting in an all-around great bite. When done correctly, they are a culinary exclamation point.

What cut of meat is good for burnt ends?

Brisket burned ends are formed from the brisket’s deckle (or point) cut. They first appeared in Kansas City in the 1970s, when barbecue restaurants served sliced brisket sandwiches. The brisket point was crispy, fatty, and well-charred, but it didn’t slice well enough for a sandwich.

What is a cheap meat for burnt ends?

When you want to satisfy your taste for burned ends but don’t want to break the cash or create a smaller piece, a chuck roast provides fantastic flavor on a budget. I’ve also discovered that chuck roasts have a natural meaty taste that is quite comparable to brisket, therefore the cut works well for this burned ends dish!

Can you overcook pork belly burnt ends?

Is it possible to overcook pork belly charred ends? Absolutely – smoking the pork belly cubes for too long dries them out, making them tough and rubbery. So, maintain your smoker at 225°F and don’t add too many wood chips at once, since too much heat from the burning wood will surely dry the meat out.

How do you not overcook pork shoulder?

According to BBQ Host, cooking around 205-210 degrees Fahrenheit produces wonderfully tender pork, however heating over 210 degrees causes the meat to dry up and toughen. If you’re the kind to set it and forget it when it comes to cooking pig, save the juices, fat drippings, or cooking liquid.

Why is smoked pork shoulder tough?

If the meat is cooked too rapidly, the fat, connective tissues, and muscle fibers will not have a time to break down, resulting in gristly and tough meat.

Why are burnt ends so expensive?

Pandemic-related shutdowns hindered portions of the manufacturing process. There aren’t enough people working in the plants or delivering the meat. High transportation gas costs. A drought, which results in less nutritious grass for calves to consume and hence fewer calves.

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