Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Jason Webster
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What are pork belly burnt ends

Burnt ends are a thick, juicy, flavorful cut of meat served as a delicacy in Kansas City and other parts of America.

They evolved from chuck cuts and fattened beef brisket which you cook using a smoking process. You can also smoke pork belly for this flavorful recipe, too.

Fresh pork belly burnt ends are topped a sweet-spicy barbecue sauce and served alongside a fresh salad. You can also adapt the recipe for cooking in your slow cooker.

To complete the meal, serve the pork belly burnt ends alongside some cornbread.

A sweet-sour barbecue sauce may be used to balance the savory taste of the burnt ends. Add a fair amount of cayenne pepper or chile powder to make it spicy.

Slice the burnt ends into bite-sized pieces. Top with a drizzle of the honey barbecue sauce, and serve hot.

Tips for buying pork belly

The difference between belly and bacon is the cut.

Most bacon is boneless pork belly, with the belly being the lining of a pig. Pork belly, however, is from the muscle which is contained within the belly.

Bacon is rolled up while pork belly is sold in a flat cut. But both are very similar and are commonly used for making sandwiches, smoking, and frying.

Pork belly is actually divided into five muscles. The two long muscles extend the length of the belly while the three others are at right angles to these muscles.

The smallest and the fattiest is the leaf lard which is found in around the kidneys. Pancetta is the Italian word for this.

The next is the fat back which is found along the top. The third is the middle meat situated between the skin and the top meat. The two top muscles are the most lean.

The skin that surrounds the belly can be used for making cracklings by frying it in hot oil.

What you’ll need

  • A pork belly, about 1-1/2 to 2 lbs.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Liquid smoke
  • White vinegar
  • Bourbon, beer or water
  • Maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper

If you’re going to cook your pork belly at home, it’s important to go out and buy a pork belly.

This will ensure that it will cook properly.

Pork bellies are sold as 1/2 pieces, each about 1-1/2 to 2 lbs in size. It’s best to double or triple the recipe because this is a very easy dish to bring to a party and people will love you for it. It’s totally worth it.

Once you’ve got your pork belly, need to give it a good rinse. Pat it dry with paper towels. Apply salt and pepper evenly to it. This, afterward, will help you create a crispier layer.

It’s best to do this 1-2 hours before you cook it.

Prepare your smoker and pork belly

Set up your smoker for cooking at a temperature of 325 degrees F (162 degrees C) and place your pork belly on the grill. It’s imperative that you do not put this directly on the smoker grate. You want to create a little separation to prevent your belly from burning. You can use a simple rack or construct a wooden block to place your belly on .

Your smoker is hot enough when you place your hand, palm side facing down, 3 inches (7.5 cm) above the smoker rack for 5 seconds.

Cooking your burnt ends

Smoke the half slab of belly, until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. It will take approximately 5 to 6 hours of smoke.

Once you have covered the tray in the foil, place it back in the smoker for another 4 hours.

You want to fall in love with your belly. After all the time you spent getting the pork belly just right, you want it to fall apart when you try to cut into it.

Therefore, when you remove it from the smoker, you want to let it rest for at least one hour to two hours. Then slice it into 1/4 inch thick slices.

After you have removed your pork from the smoker, place them on a pizza pan, and place in an electric oven at 170 degrees. Bake the belly for 2 hours.

You want to make sure that your belly is very hot before you cut into it. After you have baked your belly, remove from the oven, let it cool and slice into about 1/4 inch thick slices.

Why 2 hours at the lowest temperature in an electric oven? You may want to try to cool it in the fridge, but we found that this produces a very tough, dense, chewy belly.

The long, slow cooking and baking results in a flawlessly tender finished product. The 2 hours will produce a delicate, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth final product for your onions and sweet watermelon pickle.

Time to wrap

Preheat your smoker to 230°C and get the wood chips smoking.

Packet vs Pan

Packet cooking is done either cold in the refrigerator or at room temperature. The pork belly or packet is mixed with the rub, packed loosely into a non-reactive container, tightly covered and refrigerated for 1-3 days.

Once the pork belly has cured in the refrigerator, place it on a rack in a roasting pan.

Preheat a smoker to 225 F (110 C) with cherry, mesquite or use an apple wood (whole smoker can be filled with fruit wood chunks or chips).

Smoke for 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the size of the packet.

Refer to the section below on “Troubleshooting and Cooking Tips” when cooking.

Pan Roasting

The pork belly is cut into individual pieces, then rubbed with a spice rub, put into a heavy pot and place in the oven at 325 degrees for 1 to 2 hours. Pork belly can be roasted in a smoker but it is not recommended.

After 1.5 to 2 hours, once the internal temperature reaches 155 F (68 C), take it out from the oven or smoker, wrap in aluminum foil and allow the pork pieces to rest for an hour.

Properly smoked pork belly will be very tender and moist.

Too much temperature: Internal temperature was too high – burn

The Glaze

Place saucepan on low heat. Add remaining ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

To make burnt ends:

Cut pork belly into 4 inch cubes

In a hot pan, brown the pork cubes on all sides.

Place in baking dish and pour glaze over the pork cubes.

Cover baking dish and bake at 275°F for approximately 1 hour, or until tender.

Serves 4.

The reward

Pork belly is a cut that pork lovers should understand!

Pork belly is also known as pork belly or fresh bacon and is considered by some to be the most flavorful and versatile cut of pork.

It is the cut from the belly of the pig. Pregnancy and age affect the taste and texture of pork belly.

However, when it comes to taste and versatility, feeding matters too!

Naturally raised pigs are known to yield a sweeter flavor than a conventionally raised pig.

Pork Belly Burnt Ends

This is one of my go-to recipes when we have company coming over. Pork belly burnt ends have a sweet and salty flavor. But not so sweet you can’t have it every once in a while as a treat.

The meat cooks up so tender and falling off the bone, but it’s not so dry that you feel like you’re chewing on rubber. (I know. I’ve eaten enough pork to know that some is way to dry)

This is really fun to serve for a party or as a weekday dinner with rolls and vegetables. The meat can be made a day, or even two days, ahead and kept in the fridge.

One of the best things about this recipe: it’s easy to do!

Pork belly burnt ends are one of my favorite BBQ recipes, but I like to think of them in the same light as BBQ spareribs. Since it’s easy to make chopped pork or ham sandwiches, I don’t think of it as being super fancy or difficult to pull off.

And that, to me, is a great dish for entertaining or having at your summer cookouts or Labor Day BBQ games.

Date and Time

Prep Time: 3 hrs


  • Pork belly slab
  • Famous Daves Cajun Injector BBQ Sauce


First, you “can” the pork. Boil the ribs in a large pot for at least five minutes. This will help sterilize them (optional). Cook on a grill, smoker, or any other contraption that gets a good amount of heat (for four to six hours) over high heat. The smoker is what you want to use for this recipe specifically, since it will give the meat the most smoke, which is what you want. During the first two hours, make sure that you take the pork's temperature. The goal is to get it to 180 degrees. Check every 20 minutes until you get there. Add water to the boil when it starts to dry. If smoking for more than four hours, remove the foil, being careful not to touch the meat. The fire should die on its own so you don’t have to worry about propane. When the meat hits 180 degrees, wrap each queen cut in foil to steam.

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