Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends
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Smoked pork belly burnt ends are crispy, savory, slightly sweet, and full of flavor thanks to a homemade dry rub and sauce! Also known as pork candy, they’re melt-in-your-mouth addictive — in the best way possible.
The first time I ever tried pork belly burnt ends I understood immediately why some people call it “pork candy.” They are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside — and full of wonderful smoky BBQ flavor. I’ve already shared a few recipes that feature pork belly: honey glazed crispy pork belly and this roasted version are a couple of my go-to’s for parties.
There are several ways to make them, but my favorite has got to be smoking. Smoked pork belly is the ultimate dish for all meat lovers. It’s not the first time I’ve smoked pork — I love this smoked pork shoulder recipe, as well as these Kansas City-style smoked ribs. I just can’t get enough of the complex flavor that comes along with this type of cooking method. It does require a bit more of a time commitment, but the results are 100% worth it!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Pork Belly – You can find pork belly at your local supermarket. It’s a boneless, fatty cut of meat that’s full of flavor!
- Olive Oil – To help your homemade dry rub adhere to the meat.
- Brown Sugar – I like to add a touch of sweetness to my dry rub. Brown sugar boasts a more complex flavor as compared to white sugar, which is why I prefer it! You’ll also need it for the sauce.
- Kosher Salt – An important ingredient for your dry rub. It will also bring out the natural flavors in the pork.
- Smoked Paprika – You can also use regular paprika here, but I like the added smokiness in this variety.
- Chipotle Powder – To add mild heat and flavor!
- Coarse Black Pepper – For even more subtle heat for the dry rub.
- Onion & Garlic Powder – One of my favorite seasoning dynamic duos, onion and garlic powder are earthy and just a little bit sweet.
- Ground Cumin – Another one of my preferred seasonings, cumin is earthy and warm.
- Cayenne Powder – You’ll only need a touch to add some heat to the dry rub!
- Butter – For your sauce.
- Honey – I told you these smoked pork belly burnt ends were the perfect combination of savory and sweet! Use honey in the sauce.
- Tabasco – You can use your hot sauce of choice for the sauce, but my go-to here is always Tabasco.
HOW TO MAKE PORK BELLY BURNT ENDS
1. Recipe Prep. Preheat your smoker (I love my Traeger) to 225°F with your pellet of choice — I use cherry, sweeter flavor. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet that’s been lined with foil. Mix the dry rub ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Trim the Pork. Trim any excess skin and fat off the pork belly and slice it into 1-inch-sized cubes. Place it in a large bowl.
3. Apply the Dry Rub. Pour the olive oil and dry rub over the pork belly cubes and toss to cover thoroughly. Spray the wire rack with nonstick cooking spray and place the cubes on it. Be sure to leave a bit of room between each cube!
4. Smoke the Pork Belly. Smoke the meat uncovered for 1 hour. Adjust the temperature to 250°F and continue to smoke for 2.5 hours.
5. Make the Sauce. Place the butter, brown sugar, honey, and Tabasco in a saucepan. Cook for several minutes, or until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
6. Apply the Sauce. Remove the smoked pork belly from the smoker and place the pieces on a foil pan. Pour the sauce all over, then cover with foil and place them back in the smoker.
7. Smoke One Last Time. Allow the pork belly burnt ends to cook for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 200°F. Remove the foil, close the smoker lid, and smoke for another 20 minutes. When it’s done, remove the pork from the smoker and drizzle with any leftover sauce. Serve and enjoy!
What Are Pork Belly Burnt Ends Made Of?
Cubed Pork belly — and a homemade dry rub and sauce. Smoked pork belly burnt ends are the perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors. They’re so tasty, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some folks call them pork candy!
Can You Over Cook Pork Belly Burnt Ends?
Just because the word “burnt” is in the recipe name doesn’t mean you should allow the meat to cook for too long! Over-smoking your pork candy will give you tough and rubbery results. Follow the instructions as indicated on the recipe card (keep an eye on the temperature!) and you shouldn’t run into any issues.
Do You Remove The Rind For Pork Belly Burnt Ends?
Some chefs call skin a “rind.” Remember: you should remove any excess skin and fat from the pork belly before you slice it into cubes (see image above on cutting board). It won’t crisp up as nicely if you leave it on.
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Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- 3 pound pork belly sliced into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp chipotle powder
- 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3 tsp Tabasco or hot sauce of choice
- Preheat smoker to 225°F using pellet of choice (we used cherry sweeter flavor). Place a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with foil. Mix together the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
- Trim excess skin and fat off the pork belly and slice into 1-inch cubes. Place into a large bowl.
- Pour olive oil and dry rub over pork belly cubes and toss to mix thoroughly. Place rubbed pork belly cubes on the wire rack sprayed with cooking spray, leaving a little room in between each cube.
- Smoke (Super Smoke if on a Traeger) uncovered for 1 hour. Turn smoker to 250°F and continue smoking for 2.5 hours.
- In a saucepan melt the butter, brown sugar, honey and Tabasco. Cook for several minutes and sugar is dissolved.
- Remove the pork belly cubes from the smoker and transfer to a foil pan. Pour sauce over and pork belly cubes, cover with foil and place back in the smoker.
- Cook for 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 200°F. Remove foil, close the smoker lid and smoke for another 20 minutes. Remove from smoker and serve tossed in any remaining sauce.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Wow this was just incredible. Made them for a party and everyone enjoyed, even those who said they did not like pork belly. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Pork candy at it’s finest! 🙂
going to try it
Fantastic, let me know your thoughts Shirley. 🙂
Made these yesterday as a test run for this weekend, I’ve got a crowd of friends coming over. Nicely done sir. These were easy and pretty amazing.
Fantastic, so glad it was a hit and enjoy this weekend!
Your photos had me drooling and after I made these I was blown away. My new favorite!
These are so dang good! Thanks for coming back to let me know James. Cheers!
You inspired me to dig my smoker out of the snow out back and it was so worth it! These were outstanding! Highly recommend.
Wow! Thanks for the feedback and kind words. Luckily my smoker is under my covered patio. 🙂