Pork Belly Burnt Ends is a recipe that takes a while, but there’s a TON of flavor to make up for it!! It’s really simple to make, and you’ll earn a whole tray of thick, tender smoked meat. There’s nothing quite as scrumptious as beautifully rendered, mouthwatering smoked pork burnt ends!!
I think my favorite thing about a smoked pork belly burnt ends recipe is that it can be made with leftovers! There’s nothing going to waste – every inch of a smoked pork belly is unbelievably delicious!!
When I smoke pork belly, my family always knows what’s on the menu the next day — and they’re just as excited as I am!
Pork Belly Burnt Ends
Tender, sweet, and smoky, a batch of pork belly cubes smoked to sticky perfection really can’t be beat. These saucy burnt ends can be enjoyed just as they are, but they make a fabulous sandwich — with a healthy extra dose of Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, of course!
Ingredient Notes and Swaps
- Pork Belly – This cut of pork is particularly fatty, but fat is where the flavor comes from!
Generally, a pork belly from the grocery store will weigh somewhere between 4 and 8 pounds. If you need a smaller cut, the butcher may be willing to cut it down for you.
- Sweet BBQ Rub – This is a dry rub of my own design!
Brown sugar for a caramel-like sweetness, New Mexico Chili powder for some fruity heat, and a handful of other seasonings for a salty and savory balance.
Ultimately, you can use any dry rub you like, but this one is definitely my favorite!
- Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce – A smooth, thick BBQ sauce that you can make right on your stovetop.
Again, any brand will do, but you won’t find one that’s quite as tangy, smoky, and downright delicious.
Tips for Making Pork Burnt Ends
Use the BBQ sauce sparingly.
Don’t add too much sauce to the pork belly cubes before transferring them to the smoker.
If the coating is too thick, the sauce could burn, ruining the texture and flavor all at once. You can always add more sauce for serving!
Want to customize the flavor?
You have a lot of control over the flavor when you make a pork belly burnt ends recipe from scratch.
You can add whatever seasonings you like to either the dry rub or the BBQ sauce!
Mix hot sauce into the sauce or sprinkle in extra chili powder to the seasoning mix for extra heat, for example.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Pork burnt ends typically keep well for about 4 days in the refrigerator.
One fantastic thing about pork belly burnt ends – They’re just as delicious when you reheat them the next day!
To reheat, spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet. Then, place them in the oven at around 350°F until they’re warm through the center.
You can also microwave them, but do so in short bursts to avoid overcooking, which will dry them out.
Pork Belly Burnt Ends Recipe FAQ
Absolutely — smoking for too long dries out the pork belly cubes, leaving them tough and rubbery.
So, be sure to keep your smoker around 225°F and don’t add too many wood chips at one time, as excessive heat from the burning wood will definitely dry the meat.
Well, pork belly is a fatty cut of meat, so yes.
However, most of the fat renders down during the smoking process, so it isn’t as though you’re biting into huge pieces of fat!
Instead, the fat melts and flavors the pork, while also keeping it super moist and tender.
Smoked pork belly burnt ends are already cooked once you get into the second half of the process, so at that point it’s really just about the texture and exterior.
Ideally, you want a sticky coating of barbecue sauce on each pork belly cube. Once that’s been achieved, get ready to dig in!!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Fantastic Smoker Recipes
Pork Belly Burnt Ends
Smoked Pork Belly
- Remove the pork belly from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Use paper towels to pat completely dry on all sides.
- Place the pork belly, fat side up, on a rimmed baking pan. Use a sharp knife to score the fat horizontally in both directions, creating a diamond pattern. *Be careful not to cut into the meat.
- Use 1 cup of sweet BBQ rub to cover the pork belly on all sides and edges. Allow meat to sit another 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Choose your favorite wood, I am using my favorite blend of oak, maple and hickory on my pellet smoker.
- Place directly onto the grill plate of your preheated smoker, fat side up. Smoke for 4 hours, spritzing every hour with apple juice. When properly cooked, the internal temperature of the pork should be 160°F.
- Once the pork belly has reached 160°F, place the meat, fat side down, on an aluminum foil lined baking pan and add 1/2 cup of apple juice to the meat. Wrap the pork belly tightly in foil and smoke for another hour, or, until the internal temperature reaches 190-195°F.
- Keep wrapped and allow meat to rest for 15-30 minutes.
Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- After the pork belly has been smoked, cut the ends (or as much as you desire) into about 1-inch cubes or 2×3 inch pieces. Arrange in a single layer in an aluminum foil pan.
- Sprinkle the dry rub evenly over the cubed meat and toss to coat.
- Pour the BBQ sauce over the ends and toss again. Use just enough BBQ sauce to coat the meat. If you use too much, it’s likely to burn.
- Place in smoker, uncovered, at 225°F for about 1 hour, tossing half way through cooking time. Remove from the pan and place on the grate directly above the pan, so it can catch drippings. Smoke for an additional hour so BBQ sauce can become sticky on the outside. Serve with more BBQ sauce.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published August 2022
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