Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Our local Fareway grocery store had ordered some pork belly for a customer, and had some left over, so I decided to try smoking some. My original plan was to make bacon, but I got up one day and the weather was perfect to sit outside smoking meat, and I hadn’t cured my pork belly (which takes 7-10 days) so I decided on Pork Belly Burnt Ends.

I started with 1/2 of a pork belly (about 7lbs) with the skin removed. There’s a lot of fat on pork belly, and you want to leave a fair amount, but trim away some excess. I probably had over a pound of fat that I removed.

  • Trim excess fat
  • cut the meat into 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes.
  •  apply Extra Virgin Olive Oil (enough to coat the meat) and your favorite dry rub (if you don’t have a favorite I recommend making up some Raichlen’s Rub #2) – Be generous (use about 1 cup of dry rub for 5 lbs of meat).
  • Smoke for three hours at 225-250 degrees or until you like the color of the meat. A nice bark will form starting around the three hour mark.
  • Next, add the cubes to a pan (we like a heat-proof disposable pan). Into the pan add the braising liquid. We use BBQ sauce to really add that extra flavor (about 1 cup), 3-4 tablespoons of butter, which adds richness and acts as a fatty binding agent for bringing the sauce and honey together, and then 2 tablespoons of honey (or agave) to bring a stickiness and sweet characteristic. Then mix them all together
  • Then cover and braise in smoker for another 60 – 90 minutes. You will find that the liquid braises at or near a boil and that the fat renders down in the burnt ends keeping the pan moist.  Again, you have added additional fat in the butter, the honey as a binder and the sauce for flavor to really render out the fat that is in the pork belly.
  • Finally, remove the foil pan cover and cook for another 15 minutes to let the heat tack up that sauce,
Sauce:
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoon honey

Notes:

I smoked these for 3.5 hours at 325° using Apple wood in my Masterbuilt electric smoker. I then followed that up on the Weber Kettle charcoal grill using Kingsford charcoal with some apple wood chips thrown on top over indirect heat for 30-40 minutes to get a better bark on them. I then sauced them up and braised them on the Weber gas grill (mainly because I could control the temperature better than on the charcoal grill) for 45 minutes at 250° before removing the cover to tack them up.

This recipe is based on one I found here: http://www.vindulge.com/2017/05/smoked-pork-belly-burnt-ends-recipe-and-video/

Published
Categorized as BBQ

Smoking Meat

Over the past several years I’ve taken up a new hobby, totally unrelated to amateur radio, but closely related to ham. Smoking meat!

This topic is a bit RF related. Back in 2008 we had a new transmitter installed at work, and we had problems with it from day 1, so the manufacturer sent us a contract engineer to look into the problem. This guy went on and on about smoking ribs. I love ribs, and never really mastered grilling them on a charcoal grill. Anyway, he convinced me that I needed an actual smoker.

I started off with a cheap $50 electric smoker that was on clearance at Home Depot, and it worked well enough that I used it until a few months ago when Amazon had a special on a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. I pulled out my credit card and two days later that bad boy was on my front step.

I mostly smoke Baby Back Ribs, which I generally buy at Sams Club, which is a couple dollars a pound cheaper, unless the local butcher has them on special. I use the 2-2-1 method. Two hours in the smoke, two hours wrapped in foil with a bit of apple juice and back on the heat, and then one hour unwrapped to firm them up a bit. I try to keep the temperature around 225F. Low and slow.

Always remove that shiny, tough membrane from the back of the ribs. Then rub them with your favorite BBQ rub. The recipe I use is a tightly held secret. They come out so good you don’t need BBQ sauce.

I’ve also smoked turkeys, and tried a few briskets. The briskets take a lot of patience, as you need to smoke them very slowly at low temperatures. I haven’t really mastered them yet.

My wood of choice when I’m smoking has been Apple. I’ve been told that Hickory and Mesquite and be a little too strong, but I will be experimenting with them and Pecan this summer. I’m also going to branch out and smoke some other meats, especially chicken. I have ten pounds of chicken hindquarters in my deep freeze that I bought on special over the winter, and I’m really looking forward to smoking them if this Iowa weather ever warms up enough that can sit outside and enjoy the process of smoking them. A nice warm day, lots of smoke, a book, and beer in the hand is what I’m looking forward to! And then plenty of friends to enjoy the results with!

Today I ran across a handy chart Wood Smoking Flavor Chart, so if you’re interested in smoking meat that will help you choose which wood to use.

Have fun, and enjoy a tasty meal!