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Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends Recipe

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This Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends recipe features tender, juicy pork belly, cut into cubes and seasoned to perfection. They’re smoked low and slow until infused with that irresistible smoky flavor. Then, glazed, and caramelized to create a mouthwatering combination of sweet, savory, and smoky flavors.

Hey ya’ll! Today we are sharing one of our favorite barbecue recipes, pork belly burnt ends. These little bites of smoky, savory goodness are downright addictive, and once you try them, you’ll understand why they’re often referred to as “meat candy.”

This smoked pork belly burnt ends recipe is a surprisingly easy cooking process! Seriously, even if it’s your first time and you’re new to smoking and grilling, you can whip up a batch like a pro. Just season the pork belly, toss it on the smoker, and let it work its magic. The result? Tender, juicy morsels of porky goodness that’ll have everyone at your next cookout begging for the recipe.

When done right, burnt ends turn out melt-in-your-mouth tender, with a crispy bark on the outside that adds the perfect contrast to its succulent interior. And the versatility of this recipe is another reason to love them. You can customize the flavor to suit your tastes by experimenting with different rubs, sauces, and cooking methods.

If you’re craving that smoky, savory goodness of burnt ends but find yourself without pork belly on hand, fear not! I’ve got just the recipe for you: Poor Man’s Burnt Ends, made with juicy, flavorful chuck roast. Poor Man’s Burnt Ends are a budget-friendly alternative to traditional burnt ends, but let me tell you, they’re no less delicious. You can also use beef brisket or even hotdogs.

So, whether you’re firing up the smoker for a backyard barbecue or just craving a taste of summer, give this recipe a try. Trust me, once you do, they’ll become a staple on your menu all year round!

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • RICH FLAVOR – Smoked pork belly burnt ends are inherently flavorful and when cooked as burnt ends, it becomes even more delicious. The combination of smoky, savory, and sweet flavors from the caramelization of the meat and BBQ sauce creates an irresistible taste.
  • TENDER TEXTURE – When cooked low and slow, pork belly becomes incredibly tender and juicy. The caramelization on the outside adds a satisfying crunch, while the inside remains moist and succulent.
  • CROWD PLEASER – Whether you’re serving them at a barbecue, tailgate party, or family dinner, these are always a hit. They’re a crowd-pleaser that never fails to impress.

What is Pork Belly?

Pork belly is a cut of meat taken from the belly of a pig. It is a fatty and flavorful cut that consists of layers of meat and fat, with streaks of marbling throughout. Pork belly is known for its rich flavor and tender texture when cooked properly. It can be prepared in a variety of ways, including roasting, braising, grilling, and smoking.

Pork belly is used in dishes around the world, including Asian cuisine (such as Chinese pork belly buns and Korean samgyeopsal) and Western cuisine (such as bacon and porchetta). It’s a versatile cut that can be cooked to be succulent and tender or crispy and crunchy, depending on the desired outcome.

What are Pork Belly Burnt Ends?

Pork belly burnt ends (aka meat candy) is a delicious barbecue pork belly recipe. To make burnt ends, pork belly is typically seasoned, smoked low and slow until tender, then cubed, glazed, and caramelized to perfection. The result is bite-sized pieces of tender, smoky pork belly with crispy edges and a sweet and savory glaze.

Burnt ends are often considered a delicacy and are a popular menu item at barbecue restaurants and backyard cookouts alike. They’re perfect for snacking on their own or served as an appetizer or side dish.


  • 4-5 pounds skinless pork belly
  • Your favorite pork rub or BBQ seasoning (or a mixture of kosher salt, black pepper, and granulated garlic)
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
  • wood, for smoking

Recipe Variations

  • Liquids: Instead of apple juice, you can experiment with different liquids to add moisture and flavor. Try using beer, cola, pineapple juice, or even bourbon for a more complex flavor profile. You can use apple cider vinegar mixed with a bit of water or chicken broth. This will add a tangy flavor and help create a flavorful glaze.
  • Marinades: Instead of using a dry rub, you can marinate the pork belly in a flavorful liquid before smoking it. Try marinating the pork belly in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar for a delicious Asian-inspired flavor.
  • Glazes: After smoking the pork belly, you can brush it with a flavorful glaze to add an extra layer of flavor and shine. Try a honey glaze for sweetness, a balsamic glaze for tanginess, or a maple bourbon glaze for richness.


  1. Start by preheating your smoker to 250°F (120°C). If using a grill, set it up for indirect heat. Fruit woods like cherry or pecan wood (or wood chips) are perfect for giving your pork belly that extra smoky flavor.
  2. While the smoker heats up, prep the pork belly. If needed, trim any excess layers of fat, leaving just a thin layer to keep things delicious. Then, use a sharp knife to cut it into cubes, about 1.5 – 2 inches.
  3. Now, grab a big bowl and toss those cubes of pork belly with some yellow mustard until they’re all coated. Then, sprinkle on your favorite BBQ rub, making sure each cube gets a nice, even coating.
  4. Once it’s all seasoned to your liking, lay those pork belly cubes on a wire rack or baking sheet and set it on the grill grates. Make sure to give ’em some space so they can soak up all that smoky goodness.
  5. Close the lid and let ’em smoke away for about 3-4 hours. You’re looking for that perfect, nice bark on the outside and an internal temperature of around 160°F (71°C) on the meat thermometer.
  6. Once they hit that sweet spot, carefully take ’em off the smoker and pop ’em into a disposable pan or dish. Pour on some apple juice to keep things moist, then cover ’em up tight with aluminum foil.
  7. Set the foil pan onto the smoker they go for another 1-2 hours until they’re tender and caramelized to perfection. Cook until they’ve reached an internal temperature of around 200°F to 205°F.
  8. When they’re just about done, take off the foil and give ’em a generous drizzle of your favorite barbecue sauce. Pop ’em back on the smoker for a quick 15-20 minutes to let that sauce get all sticky and delicious.
  9. Now, take a moment to let ’em rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Then, pile the cubed pork belly high on a platter, maybe add a sprinkle of fresh herbs or extra sauce, and dig in! Enjoy every smoky, savory bite of these mouthwatering smoked pork belly burnt ends!

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Choose Quality Pork Belly: Start with a high-quality pork belly with plenty of marbling. This will ensure that your burnt ends are tender, juicy, and flavorful.
  • Low and Slow Cooking: Cooking burnt ends low and slow is essential for achieving that perfect tender texture and developing a nice bark on the outside. Maintain a consistent temperature of around 250°F (120°C) throughout the smoking process.
  • Choose the Right BBQ Sauce: The BBQ sauce you choose can significantly impact the final flavor. Opt for a sauce that complements the smoky and savory flavors of the pork, whether it’s sweet, spicy, tangy, or a combination of flavors.
  • Let Them Rest: Allow the pork belly to rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute and the flavors to meld together. This will result in a more flavorful and tender end product.

What to Serve with Pork Belly Burnt Ends

  • Coleslaw: Our creamy and crunchy BBQ Coleslaw is a Southern-inspired side dish that brings the perfect blend of textures and flavor. 
  • Potato Salad: Our potato salad has the best creamy texture and tangy flavor, with ingredients like dill pickle relish, mustard, hard-boiled eggs, and seasonings. 
  • Baked Beans: Flavorful baked beans with ground beef is a classic barbecue side dish that’s as convenient as it is delicious. Made with canned beans, seasoned beef, bell pepper, onion, and seasonings, these beans are perfect with pulled pork.
  • Cornbread: Our soul food cornbread recipe is easy to follow and yields a moist, tender crumb. It combines the rich tang of buttermilk with classic ingredients like butter and sugar for a delightful side dish that complements any meal.
  • Mac and Cheese: Our recipe features cheddar, Monterey jack, and mozzarella, and is made without a roux. It’s decadent and comforting, and an absolute must-try for anyone looking to savor a taste of the South.
  • Grilled Vegetables: Lightly charred and seasoned grilled vegetables, such as zucchini, bell peppers, and onions, provide a fresh contrast to the smoky meat.
  • Pickles: Tangy pickles or pickled vegetables offer a refreshing palate cleanser between bites of the rich pork belly.
  • Corn on the Cob: Sweet and juicy corn on the cob is a classic barbecue side that complements the smoky flavors of the pork belly.


To store leftover pork belly burnt ends, follow these steps to ensure they stay fresh and flavorful the next day:

  1. Cool Down: Allow the burnt ends to cool to room temperature before storing them. 
  2. Transfer to an Airtight Container: Place the cooled meat in an airtight container. 
  3. Refrigerate: Seal the container tightly and place it in the refrigerator. Leftovers can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  4. Reheat: When you’re ready to enjoy the leftover burnt ends, you can reheat them in the microwave, oven, or on the grill. 


What type of wood is best for smoking pork belly burnt ends?

The best type of wood for pork belly burnt ends are hickory, oak, cherry, apple, and pecan. However, it really all depends on your personal preference and desired flavor outcome.


Indulge in tender, juicy cubes of pork belly, smoked low and slow until infused with smoky flavor, then glazed to caramelized perfection for a mouthwatering blend of sweet and savory. Fire up your smoker, grab your pork belly, and let’s get cooking!

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Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends Recipe

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: main
  • Method: smoking/grilling
  • Cuisine: barbecue


  • 45 pounds skinless pork belly
  • Your favorite pork rub or BBQ seasoning (or a mixture of kosher salt, black pepper, and granulated garlic)
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
  • wood, for smoking


  1. Preheat smoker to 250°F (120°C). If using a grill, set it up for indirect heat. Use fruit woods like cherry or pecan wood for added smoky flavor.
  2. Trim any excess fat from the pork belly, leaving a thin layer for flavor. Cut into 1.5 – 2-inch cubes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss pork belly cubes with yellow mustard until coated. Sprinkle with BBQ seasoning, ensuring even coverage.
  4. Arrange seasoned pork belly cubes on a wire rack or baking sheet, leaving space between each cube. Place on the smoker/grill and smoke for 3-4 hours until a bark forms on the outside and internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C).
  5. Transfer smoked pork belly cubes to a disposable pan or dish. Pour apple juice over the cubes and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Return to the smoker/grill and braise for an additional 1-2 hours until tender and caramelized, reaching an internal temperature of 200°F to 205°F.
  6. Remove foil and drizzle barbecue sauce generously over the pork belly cubes. Return to the smoker/grill for 15-20 minutes to allow the sauce to caramelize.
  7. Let the pork belly burnt ends rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs or additional sauce if desired. Serve and enjoy!

Keywords: smoked pork belly burnt ends, pork belly burnt ends, smoker recipe

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