Pork Belly Burnt Ends
Pork Belly! One of the most popular cuts of meat right now. It is the same cut of pork that bacon comes from but preparation is completely different from bacon. It is not cured like bacon and it can be cooked so many different ways. It is very tender and has a thick fat cap on it that renders beautifully over the meat.
Now, burnt ends generally refers to the cap of a beef brisket that is removed from a smoked brisket and placed back on the smoker for quite a bit longer until the outside is really dark and a bit crispy but the meat is still tender. Pork belly burnt ends are prepared differently but — O. M. G. — they are so good! Although they take a bit of time on a smoker, they are super simple to make and your guests will love them.
Slab of pork belly (generally about 4-6 pounds)
Approximately 1 cup of a BBQ dry rub. I make my own dry rub and you can too! This is very forgiving but I generally add a bit more brown sugar in the rub for this than I would for a brisket.
Drizzle of oil to help adhere the rub
BBQ Sauce (or use your favorite bottled sauce – don’t skimp though – buy a gourmet sauce)
4 T butter
4 T honey or 2 T molasses
Aluminum foil pan and aluminum foil
How to make pork belly burnt ends:
Get your smoker going and steady at 215-225 degrees. Soak some apple or cherry wood chips and get them smoking.
If your pork belly has the skin on it still, trim that off and some of the fat underneath. Don’t take all the fat as that will render and baste the meat. Cut the pork belly into cubes about 2 inches in size.
Drizzle the pork belly cubes with the oil and rub generously with the BBQ rub. Place them on the smoker and cook for 2-3 hours (varies depending on the size of your chunks of pork belly). They should get a deep color as in the picture above.
When a good bark has formed, remove the pork belly and place in an aluminum foil pan with the BBQ sauce, butter and honey. Cover with foil and return to the smoker until the temperature of the pork belly is 200 degrees. Total cooking time will be between 4-5 hours.
Serve immediately and be sure to grab one for yourself as they won’t last!
Tip – if using a gas grill, all you need is a smoke box. Place the wood chips inside the box and over the direct heat of your grill. Place the pork belly on the indirect heat side and Voila, a smoker!