Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends are a big hit in the world of barbecue. These tender, flavorful pork belly cubes are smoked and glazed with a sweet and savory sauce that will leave you craving more.
What is Pork Belly?
A pork belly is a cut of meat taken from the belly area of a pig. It’s known for its generous layers of fat and meat, with the fat usually interspersed within the muscle. The marbling of this cut contributes to its rich taste when cooked properly. It’s widely known for its ability to become tender, juicy, and flavorful when cooked low and slow. Read more on our pork.
Why use a smoker for Pork Belly Burnt Ends?
Using a smoker as a cooking method is the best way to prepare pork belly burnt ends. The smoker’s low and slow cooking environment allows the pork belly to render fat slowly, resulting in a tender and melt-in-your-mouth texture. This extended cooking time also allows the flavors of the dry rub to penetrate the meat, resulting in a deliciously seasoned product. Additionally, the gentle heat of the smoker, combined with the smoke from wood chips or chunks, infuses the pork belly with a distinct smoky flavor that elevates the overall taste and aroma.
No Smoker, no Problem – Use indirect heat on your grill!
Using indirect heat on the grill is a fantastic alternative to smoking, especially if you don’t have access to a smoker or prefer the convenience of your grill. When using a charcoal or gas grill for indirect cooking, the heat source is positioned to one side while the pork belly is placed on the opposite side, away from direct heat. This setup creates a gentle, indirect heat that mimics the slow cooking environment of a smoker and allows you to achieve similar tenderness, flavor, and caramelization results as you would from a smoker.
Setting up your grill for indirect cooking:
- For a charcoal grill, light the charcoal and let it burn until it forms a layer of white ash. Once the charcoal is ready, push it to one side of the grill, creating a hot zone and a cooler zone. Place a drip pan on the cooler side to catch drippings and prevent flare-ups.
- For a gas grill, preheat the grill with all burners on high for about 10-15 minutes. Then, turn off one or more burners to create an indirect cooking zone. Place a drip pan over the turned-off burners to catch any drippings.
When your grill is ready for indirect cooking, follow the recipe instructions for seasoning and smoking the pork belly cubes. Instead of placing the pork belly directly over the heat source, position it on the cooler side of the grill, opposite the hot zone – this allows the pork belly to cook slowly through indirect heat.
Maintain a consistent temperature of around 250°F (120°C) inside the grill by adjusting the airflow or burner settings accordingly. The cooking time may vary slightly from the smoker method, so monitor the progress of the pork belly cubes and adjust the cooking time as needed.
When the pork belly cubes have achieved a nice color and bark, remove them from the grill and proceed with glazing and finishing them according to the recipe instructions.
So, whether you opt for a smoker or utilize indirect heat on your grill, you can enjoy the delightful indulgence of pork belly burnt ends. Embrace the flavors, savor the tenderness, and relish in the joy of mastering the art of barbecue.
Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends Recipe
- 2 LBS pork belly
- 1/4 cup Full Boar BBQ Rub
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup Tony’s Sweet & Sassy BBQ Sauce
- 2 tbsp butter
- Preheat your smoker or grill to 250°F (120°C). If using a charcoal grill, set it up for indirect grilling.
- Trim any excess fat from the pork belly. Cut the pork belly into 1-inch cubes, ensuring they are relatively uniform to promote even cooking and consistency in the final dish. You can skip this step by having our butchers trim it when you buy from Tony’s! One of the many perks of buying from Colorado’s Best Butcher!
- Place the seasoned pork belly cubes on a wire rack or directly on the grates of the smoker or grill. Smoke the pork belly cubes for 2 to 2½ hours or until they develop a beautiful color and a desirable bark.
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir in the honey and barbecue sauce until well combined. Let the glaze simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After the initial smoking, remove the pork belly cubes from the smoker or grill and transfer them to an aluminum foil pan. Pour the glaze evenly over the cubes.
- Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil to create a sealed environment. Return the pan to the smoker or grill and cook for 1½ to 2 hours.
- Remove the pan from the smoker or grill, being cautious of the hot steam when uncovering the foil. Allow the pork belly burnt ends to rest for a few minutes, allowing the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. Serve the burnt ends hot as an appetizer or as a main dish. For an extra touch, you can garnish them with additional barbecue sauce if desired.
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