Pork Belly Burnt Ends Recipe on the Smoker in 6 Easy Steps

Pork Belly Burnt Ends have been around for a long time, but not everyone knows what they are.

Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends
Pork Belly Burnt Ends

What are Pork Belly Burnt Ends?

Pork belly burnt ends are a type of barbecue food that is made from pork belly. They are often served as part of a barbecue plate with other types of meat and side dishes.

Burnt ends are also sometimes called “end cut” or “point cut.” These terms refer to the way the meat is prepared by cutting it off the end of the pork belly slab and cooking it in various ways.

Our favourite phrase for them is ‘meat candy.’

The term “burnt end” was coined in Kansas City, Missouri, in the 1930s or 1940s. The phrase probably comes from how these pieces look when they come out of the smoker – dark and crispy on one side and browned on the other.

Whatever their history, they are super tasty, sweet, smoky and salty.

Pork Belly Burnt Ends Step 1 – Choose Your Meat

It always best to source your meat from the butchers. You can find out what sort of like the animal has had which has a huge impact on the flavour and quality of the meat.

You can also get your butcher to trim off extra fat. Obviously pork belly is fatty, and that’s where a lot of the flavour comes from. 

However, we don’t want it to be too fatty. We also don’t want to pay extra for the weight any unnecessary fat will bring.

Try and go for a cut in the centre of the belly because it is a good balance of fat and meat – in and around 50% fat and 50% meat.

Depending on the amount of guests you are feeding you will have to consider the size of your pork belly. A rough rule of thumb is around a pound of meat per guest.

A big slab of pork belly can weigh over 10 pounds, so bear that in mind also.

Pork Belly Burnt Ends Step 2 – Prepare the Pork Belly 

Heat up your smoker to a temperature of 107°C or 225°F, while you prepare your pork belly burnt ends. 

Your choice of wood – we like apple wood for pork, it’s always a classic combination. Make sure you are using high quality charcoal. 

Get those grills good and hot, so they start smoking right away when you put the burnt ends in. 

To create a great pork belly burnt ends you need to start with a great dry rub. 

Each recipe calls for something different and each person has their own tastes, but our dry rub for pork is tried and tested if you would like to use it. 

It’s the same one that we used for our ‘Smoked Pork Belly,’ Article.

We use our own dry rub combined with chilli powder for heat and paprika to give it a smoky flavour. If you like heat add a little more chilli powder.

  • 1 Teaspoon Chilli Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Sweet Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Finely Ground Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon of Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Set the bowl aside for the moment and get yourself a sharp knife.

Place your pork belly on a board and cut it into cubes of roughly 5cm or 2 inches. Bear in mind that the cubes will shrink during the cook so they will end up smaller.

Some people like to cut the belly into cubes after it has been cooked, but this allows each cube to crisp up and take on as much flavour as possible individually.

Once you have cut the whole belly into cubes, brush each of the cubes with a little Dijon mustard or honey so that the dry rub will stick to them.

Now use your hands to get the rub all over the cubes on each side.

Pork Belly Burnt Ends Step 3 – Smoke the Burnt Ends

Now we are going to smoke the pork belly burnt ends for around 3 hours, or until a lovely crispy bark has formed. 

We are going to use a wire rack (like what you would use to cool bread etc) for this, so that we ensure maximum smoke circulation.

Put your burnt ends on the wire rack and place it over indirect heat in your smoker, and close the lid.

Pork Belly Burnt Ends Step 4 – Baste with BBQ Sauce

When you are happy that the burnt ends are crispy enough, we are going to braise the burnt ends in liquid. 

That’s why you need to be happy that you have the burnt ends crispy enough before it goes into the liquid.

Get yourself a heat proof aluminium dish for this next part.

Place your crispy burnt ends in your heat proof dish and brush the cubes with the best BBQ sauce you have. If you would like a recipe for homemade BBQ we have one here:

Add some butter, and a little honey to the dish and put it back in the smoker for somewhere between 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. 

As usual we cook to temperature not to timing so you’ll know when it is done when the internal temperature of your pork is 88°C-91°C or 190°F-195°F.

Pork Belly Burnt Ends Step 5 – Serve

You can serve your pork belly burnt ends as an amazing appetiser or as the main event in tacos, burritos or baked potatoes. You can also serve it with coleslaw in a bap like pulled pork. 

They are also often served with toothpicks! Delicious.

Pork Belly Burnt Ends on the Smoker Recipe
Pork Belly Burnt Ends Served with Toothpicks

Pellet Grill Recipes for Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Traeger Pork Belly Burnt Ends with Apricot Sauce

Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends on a Pit Boss

If you enjoyed this recipe try this one for Pork Belly itself:


Or Smoked Pork Tenderloin here:


Our ‘Smoked Pork Butt Recipe.’ could also be a good option for you.

For another great article on Pork Belly Burnt Ends try here:


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