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,
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon honey
I smoked these for 3.5 hours at 235°F 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/