Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends

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Burnt ends of pork belly are quickly becoming a BBQ favorite. This pork belly variation, inspired by the cooking procedure for brisket burned ends, yields sweet and delicious chunks of meat candy.

Cubed pig belly is dry rubbed and slow-smoked to develop a lovely outside bark before being wrapped in liquid and honey to braise and render into a melt-in-your-mouth meat nugget.

These may be served as a finger food appetizer or as part of a bigger meal for practically any occasion.

What are pork belly burnt ends

The name “burnt ends” varies by area, but it originates from the point side of brisket after it had been cooked low and slow.

On the exterior, the fatty brisket point produces a thick, textured bark, while the interior renders into a juicy, delicious bite.

The rich fat content and how it permeates throughout the meat throughout the low and slow cooking procedure is what makes burned ends so wonderful. The outside’s crunch and texture complement the moist, buttery interior.

The same logic applies to pork belly. Pork belly is the same piece of flesh used to make bacon, and if you like bacon, you’ll adore the burned end variation.

The substantial fat content of pork belly behaves similarly to the fat in brisket point, rendering down to a butter-like consistency.

Tips for buying pork belly

Pork belly is growing more popular, although it is still difficult to get in most grocery shops.

Pork belly burned ends need 4 to 5 pounds of pork belly with the skin removed and a meat-to-fat ratio that is balanced. The central cut of pork belly has the finest meat-to-fat ratio and produces delicious pork belly burned ends.

Small parts of pork belly are frequently available in the meat case at specialty grocers like full Foods Market or The Fresh Market, but if you phone ahead, you have a higher chance of acquiring a bigger, full cut of the belly.

Costco and Sam’s Club sell commercially packaged pork belly. Vacuum packs exist in greater sizes and are often sold in multi-packs. You may also purchase wholesale by the case at these shops. This is the most cost-effective option since it is offered at wholesale, and you can freeze any leftovers.

However, finding a local farmer or butcher with local connections is your best chance. Putting in the effort to identify a reliable farmer that raises happy animals in accordance with humane and ethical standards can pay benefits in terms of the quality of your final product while also helping your local economy.

If you can’t locate pork belly in your area, you may order it from online artisan butchers like Crowd Cow or Snake River Farms.

What you’ll need

Before you get started, ensure you have:

  • A smoker Im using a Backwoods Smoker Chubby 3400
  • At least 4lbs of pork belly
  • A good meat thermometer
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Honey preferably wildflower or locally sourced
  • Your favorite barbecue sauce for pork, or the stuff to create your own
  • Your favorite barbecue dry rub for pork, or the stuff to build your own
  • Wood chunks for smoking I used a mixture of hickory and applewood.
  • Lump Charcoal
  • 5 hours before you plan to eat

Prepare your smoker and pork belly

Preheat your smoker to 250F.

Make 1 2 cubes of skinless pork belly. Cutting the meat into cubes provides greater surface area for applying the rub and forming a crispy bark on both sides of each piece.

Season each individual cube well with your chosen rub, being sure to cover both sides. If you’re looking for an excellent pork rub, we have another recipe for you.

Remove the smoker grates and set the cubes on the grates, allowing room around each piece for smoke and ventilation.

If the gap between your smoker rack gratings is too large for the pork belly cubes, lay them on a cooling rack before placing them on your barbecue grates to hold them in place throughout the cooking process.

Cooking your burnt ends

It’s time to add wood on the hot coals now that the pork belly cubes are on the grates. You want enough wood to provide even smoke for at least the first three hours of cooking. I used two hickory pieces and one apple wood chunk.

Push the wood pieces into the hot coals with tongs or grill gloves and shut the firebox door or lid, depending on the kind of smoker you’re using.

Place the meat on the grates of your smoker. Smoke the pork belly cubes for three hours, or until the exterior of each piece has developed a rich mahogany bark.

Time to wrap

At this time, the surface of the pork belly has developed a black, even bark, and the fat has just begun to render. They should be malleable yet keep their shape when gently pressed.

If this is the case, remove the pork cubes from the smoker and raise the temperature to 300°F.

Place the pork belly on one layer of aluminum foil. Assemble the cubes into a single layer that is closely pressed against each other. Fold the foil edges up to create a package around the meat.

To avoid overcrowding, you may need to use additional sheets of foil. I produced two foil packets with the diced meat for 4 pounds of pork belly.

Drizzle the pork belly with 3 tbsp honey after pouring the apple juice over it. Toss everything together lightly, then wrap the foil securely over the meat, leaving no gap for air or steam, and return the foil packets to the smoker.

Packet vs Pan

Many recipes for burned ends, including pork belly and brisket, instruct you to conduct this stage in an aluminum skillet covered with foil.

This creates a pocket of air between the meat and the covered lid, resulting in the formation of steam. This steam softens the bark on the outside of the pork belly, causing it to melt away.

We don’t use a foil pan because we want to maintain the crunch and texture that the bark provides. The pork belly preserves its bark while being soft and juicy by being securely wrapped in foil with a little apple juice and honey for a braising liquid.

The Glaze

The cubes will be quite soft after 45 minutes to an hour at 300F covered in foil. Remove the foil packages from the smoker and open them to inspect the meat.

When lightly pressed, the pork belly cubes should virtually come apart, and their internal temperature should vary between 205F and 210F.

At this stage, divide a cup of your preferred BBQ sauce equally between the packets. Drizzle the remaining 3 tbsp honey over the tops as well.

Toss the meat lightly to coat, being careful not to rip the cubes.

Place the open foil packages back on the smoker once the meat has been uniformly covered with sauce and honey. Cook for another 30 minutes, or until the sauce has reached your desired level of tackyness.

Remove from the smoker and serve while warm.

The reward

That’s all! Your pork belly burned ends should be beautiful bits of caramelized meat candy if you followed this method.

In the great scope of BBQ, these charred ends are really simple and minimal upkeep. Serve them on a tray with toothpicks, or with slider buns for guests to build their own sliders.

The options for pork belly burned ends are almost limitless. You can include them into a keto or paleo diet as well, as long as your sauces and rubs are compliant.

Have fun, and don’t be afraid of this succulent piece of meat!

Try these other burnt ends recipes

  • Hot Honey Pork Belly Burnt Ends
  • BBQ Brisket Burnt Ends
  • Smoked Salmon Burnt Ends With Hot Honey Glaze
  • Poor Mans Burnt Ends: Smoked Beef Chuck Roast


How long does it take to smoke pork belly burnt ends at 225?

set the pork belly cubes on a wire cooling and baking rack, then set on the smoker and smoke for 2 12 to 3 hours, or until dark red and a good bark begins to develop.

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.

What temperature is pork belly burnt ends cooked?

These pork belly burned ends will smoke for 3-4 hours before reaching an internal temperature of 165-175 degrees F.

Can you smoke pork belly like a brisket?

Each slice is like a luscious, supple slab of smoked bacon, cooked slowly like a brisket. Wipe away the drool, and let’s get cooking! Low and slow cooking does not necessarily have to be difficult. This is where smoked brisket shines: a basic rub combined with a meticulous cooking procedure yields exquisite slices of exceptionally soft meat.

Should I smoke pork but at 225 or 250?

The ideal temperature for smoking a pork shoulder is 250°F, since this ensures that the flesh is sufficiently cooked and has plenty time to absorb smoky aromas without being too smoked. If you want a lighter smokiness, smoke your pork at a lower temperature (about 225°F) for a longer period of time.

Is it better to smoke pork at 250 or 225?

Smoking your pork shoulder at 225° produces soft, juicy meat but takes longer to cook. Smoking your pork shoulder at 250°, on the other hand, is speedier and produces somewhat tougher meat with a more smokey taste. Ultimately, both ways will provide delectable results!

Do you smoke pork belly fat up or down?

Yes, put it on the smoker with the fat side up. During the smoking process, the fat renders and self-bastes the pig, making it juicy and tasty!

Should I spray pork belly burnt ends?

To prevent the pork from drying out, spray it every 45 minutes to an hour. You may do this with either apple juice or water.

Should pork belly burnt ends be chewy?

Finally, don’t be afraid to simmer your charred pork belly ends for the whole 200-minute cooking period (3 hours 20 minutes). I know the meat will seem charred, but it will not taste burnt! Despite its black look, it’s excellent, chewy, crunchy, sweet, sticky, juicy, and fantastic.

How do you get crispy skin on smoked pork belly?

Scoring the skin of the pork belly will aid in the rendering of the fat and the creation of that crisp crackling. You’ll need an extremely sharp knife for this, and some people even use a carpet knife! With the tip of your knife, cut diagonal lines on the abdominal fat. You just want to score the top layer of fat, so don’t dig too deep.


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