Sweet and smoky burnt ends are a Kansas City barbecue delicacy traditionally made from the fatty point of the brisket. This recipe turns that tradition on its head and instead uses fatty and tender pork belly. You can eat pork belly burnt ends on their own, on a bun, in tacos, or for a truly decadent experience, use them as a topping on a burger! Check out this recipe from our friend and ambassador BBQ Tourist below.
- 1 4-5 LB pork belly (with skin removed)
- Savory dry rub seasoning
- Your favorite sweet and spicy BBQ sauce
- Duck Fat Spray
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- Light brown sugar
- Apple juice for spritzing
- Cut the pork belly into approximately 1 inch cubes. It’s okay if they are a bit larger since they will shrink during the cooking process.
- Spray the pork belly cubes with Duck Fat Spray as a binder to let your seasoning adhere to the meat.
- Sprinkle your favorite BBQ seasoning on the pork belly, ensuring that all sides of the cubes are evenly coated.
- Spray a wire baking and cooling rack with Duck Fat Spray and place the pork belly cubes fat side up on the rack, leaving a small space between cubes to allow them to cook evenly. This will make transferring the burnt ends to and from the smoker easier.
- Let the seasoned pork belly cubes sit on the wire rack while you heat your smoker up to 275 degrees F. Add your favorite smoke wood from a fruit or nut tree, such as apple, cherry, or pecan.
- Transfer the wire rack of cubed pork belly onto the smoker and let it cook for 2 hours, maintaining a temperature of 275 degrees F.
- After 2 hours, spritz the pork belly with apple juice and check the internal temperature of a few of your pork belly cubes. Once they reach 165 degrees F, transfer them to an aluminum pan.
- Cover the pork belly cubes with slices from a stick of unsalted butter and top with brown sugar and honey. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and return to the smoker.
- After an hour and a half, check the pork belly cubes. They should be incredibly tender after braising in the butter, brown sugar, and honey. The internal temperature should be above 200 degrees.
- Using tongs to transfer the pork belly cubes into a new aluminum pan. Add your favorite sweet BBQ sauce to the pan and toss gently to coat. Return the pork belly cubes to the smoker uncovered for 5-10 minutes, just enough to allow the sauce to set.
- Eat the pork belly burnt ends on a bun, in tacos, or for a truly decadent experience use them as a topping on a burger!