If you are looking for your next favorite food, look no further. Pork Belly Burnt Ends are going to make you forget about everything else. These sweet, sticky, gooey, yummy, smoky, beautiful bites of deliciousness are a must for any occasion. These make the perfect appetizer or gameday snack. Or use them as the entree and serve them over rice with this delicious easy sweet glaze. You're welcome!
What are Pork Belly Burnt Ends?
Burnt ends refer to the edge part of the brisket, that after being smoked for several hours gets a dark charred bark. It has a bit of melted rendered fat that is concentrated with seasonings and smoke. In a bbq house, we will slice those off the brisket and snack on them as we slice and serve the entire rest of the brisket.
Many times the burnt ends are slathered with bbq sauce and served as a sweet treat. Like meat candy, if that would be a thing. For many people, it is the best part of the brisket. Pork belly burnt ends are an easy way of achieving that awesome bite of classic brisket burnt ends.
Starting with smaller pieces and using less time, you get that flavorful bite without the time or financial commitment it takes to get the burn ends from the beef brisket.
Ingredients for Pork Belly Burnt Ends Recipe
Pork Belly - Pork belly is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. It is made from the fatty tissue of the pig. Pork belly is a great source of protein and fat, and it can be cooked in many different ways. Because of the large amount of fat, it does require a long cooking time which is perfect for smoking or braising.
Dry Seasoning Rub
Garlic Powder - I tend to prefer fresh garlic in my cooking, but here the dried garlic powder mixes well with the other dry spices to create a perfect blend for an even distribution of flavor.
Onion Powder - Onion powder should be a household staple. It adds a quick pop of flavor and new depth to each dish. It combines easily into many spice rubs and goes well with grilled and bbq flavors.
Smoked Paprika - Once of my favorite spice. Smoked paprika adds a beautiful smoky flavor. It is the staple in many of the dry rubs that I use. If you are planning to make a dish like this in the oven, you need to have smoked paprika to give you a hint of smoke in your dish.
Brown Sugar - Brown sugar has been minimally refined to retain some of the molasses. This results in sugar with a darker color and a richer flavor. Often used in baking, brown sugar can add a deeper flavor to recipes. It can also be used in savory dishes like this one to add a level of sweetness to the dish.
Salt and Pepper - When it comes to seasoning your food, salt and black pepper are the perfect pairing. Salt enhances the natural flavors of food, while pepper adds a bit of zest. Together, they create a balance that is essential for any dish. A must in any dry rub.
How Long to Smoke Pork Belly
Four and a half hours is the short answer. Because of the high-fat content, we are going to go low and slow here. We really want to render out a ton of the fat and make these bites super tender. Once the internal temperature reaches 165°F, these are safe to eat. But the flavor and texture won't be there.
We cook these in three stages. Three hours on the smoker at a low temp. Then we put them into a pan, cover them with foil and cook for another hour. Then we drain and add a glaze and cook for another 30 minutes. All of this builds up to a crescendo of amazing flavor. Believe me, it is worth the time. You'll love Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends.
How to Smoke Pork Belly Burnt Ends
Step One - Combine dry ingredients for rub into a bowl and mix well. Then cut the pork belly into 1.5 to 2-inch size cubes. 2.5 pounds of pork bell will give you 30 to 35 cubes. Add the cubed pork belly to the bowl of seasoning. Toss pork cubes and season until the cubes are all evenly coated with seasoning on all sides.
Expert Tip: It is easier to cube the pork belly if you put it in the freezer for 30 to 40 minutes before cutting. This helps firm it up so that you can get a cleaner cut. Be sure to use a sharp knife!
Step Two - Next, arrange the seasoned pork cubes on a wire rack. Leave enough space between them so that the smoke can flow around all sides. Then place the rack of pork onto the grill grate in your preheated smoker. Smoke the pork belly at 225°F for about three hours. When the pork's internal temperature reaches about 180°F we move to the next step. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature.
What wood is best for Smoked Pork Belly Burn Ends?
Since we are trying to replicate brisket burnt ends(a little bit) you can go with your favorite wood or blend of wood. I first made these on my Traeger pellet grill. I used a signature blend of hickory/apple wood. You can achieve the same with wood chips or chunks.
Cooking Tip: If you don't have a smoker, you can cook this in the oven, or on your grill. If cooking on the grill, keep the meat away from the direct heat or it will cook too fast. Be sure to place the wire rack over a baking sheet in the oven, or you will have a big mess on your hands.
Step Three - Once the pork reaches 180°F internal temp, remove them from the smoker. Next, place the smoked pork belly cubes into an aluminum pan. Cut the butter into slices and sprinkle them along with the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar all over the pork. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it back in the smoker at 275°F for about another hour.
Step Four (Optional) - Time to create an easy sweet glaze. This is very simple. Put equal amounts of soy sauce and brown sugar into a glass bowl or jar. I used a quarter cup of each. Next, heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds and then stir well. This will allow the brown sugar to completely dissolve into the soy sauce.
Expert Tip: If you don't have soy sauce, you can also skip making your own glaze and just use some BBQ Sauce or honey, or maple syrup.
Step Five - After you have cooked the smoked pork belly in the butter and brown sugar for an hour. Drain the pan from all the grease.
Then, carefully pour the soy glaze over all the pork cubes. Stir them to ensure they are all evenly covered. Place the pan back into the smoker and cook for about 30 minutes more uncovered. This will allow the glaze to thicken and develop a nice sticky consistency.
The internal temperature should be about 205°F and these tender gooey bites are ready to eat. Serve them in the pan with some toothpicks for an easy appetizer, or place them on a serving platter and pour the glaze out of the pan to cover them nicely. Enjoy!
Leftovers - If you have any leftover pieces just store them in an airtight container. You can reheat them in the microwave.
If you want to have some more fun try this recipe for Smoked Pork Belly - This is a fun version that mimics the flab bacon you might get at a steakhouse. You will love this delicious, tender, and smoky pork belly. If you don't want smoked pork belly recipes, check out Air Fryer Pork Belly. If you don't have a smoker for smoking pork belly, this is a delicious air fryer recipe. And maybe try this Pork Belly Rub for Smoking next time.
How to serve Smoked Pork Burnt Ends
We tend to just put them out with toothpicks! But you can serve on kabob sticks, on top of salad, on a bed of rice, or just with a fork.
If you like this recipe be sure to try our Smoked Pork Belly Recipe. If you are looking for some other appetizers I recommend trying Smoked Chicken Wings, Smoked Meatballs, or our Smoked Jalapeno Poppers.
- 2.5 lbs pork belly
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar half goes into dry rub, other half goes with butter
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoon butter
Easy Sweet Glaze
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- In a large bowl combine garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, half of the brown sugar, salt, and pepper for the dry rub seasoning.
- Cut pork belly into 1.5 to 2 inch cubes. Then add them to the bowl of dry ingredients and toss until all cubes are thoroughly coated.
- Place the seasoned pork belly cubes onto a wire backing rack. Place the entire rack into your preheated smoker.
- Smoke the pork belly at 225°F for three hours or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 180°F. Then place the pork belly cubes into an aluminum tray or roasting pan. Add ½ stick of butter cut into chunks along with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar by scattering them all over the pork. Cover with aluminum foil and place back in the smoker at 275°F for an hour.
- While the pork is cooking make the glaze. Combine Glaze ingredients of soy sauce and brown sugar and microwave for 20 seconds. This allows the soy to and sugar to mix together well. The glaze is done.
- Remove the foil from the pork belly tray and drain all the grease. Then pour the glaze over the pork belly and stir it around to ensure they are all evenly coated. Place the tray, uncovered, back into the smoker and cook for another 30 minutes at 325°F.
- Remove the tray from the smoker and serve. If you are going to transfer to a serving platter for a cleaner presentation, be sure to pour the glaze from the tray all over the pork belly. Enjoy!