Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Pork belly is hard to find here. When I do get it, I usually want to make bacon. However, I have been reading about pork belly in a smoker and just couldn’t wait any longer. It was time to make Pork Belly Burnt Ends

My close friend, Bill, who does the music for my community TV show and his lovely wife were coming over for dinner and decided to experiment on treat them.  I didn’t want the burnt ends to be the main course in case they didn’t work out. I made up a corned beef and made the burnt ends for an appetizer.

I took a small piece of skinned pork belly that was about five by six inches and cut it into 12 cubes.

I tossed them generously with barbecue rub. I used Bub ‘n Muttha’s Honey ‘n Heat which is rapidly becoming a favourite brand of barbecue rub for me. I thought it would be perfect for this dish because it has a nice honey sweetness that would be perfect with pork belly’s luscious rich taste. The touch of heat wouldn’t hurt either.

I preheated my Louisiana Grills smoker to 250 F with whiskey oak pellets. I put the pork belly in the smoker and cooked until they were starting to get a nice dark colour. It took about 2 hours and 45 minutes and I did turn them once to get an even colour.

If you don’t have a smoker, you could do this over indirect heat in a barbecue or in an oven. It will be tasty but won’t have that wonderful kiss of smoke.

I put the burnt ends in a small roasting tray and took them inside.

I added 125 ml (1/2 cup) of apple juice to the pan. I spread 25 ml (2 tbsp) of brown sugar on each of the cubes. I broke 15 ml (1 tbsp) of cold butter into 12 pieces and put a piece on each cube.

I covered the pan in foil and put it back in the smoker for one and a half hours. As the pork is covered by foil, you can put it in a 250 F oven as it will not be exposed to more smoke. I used the smoker on this occasion as I was doing other things in it so why fire up the stove too?

I brought the burnt ends in (they looked gorgeous). I left the juices in the pan and added 50 ml (1/4 cup) of a sweet barbecue sauce. I chose Sweet Baby Ray’s. I tossed the burnt ends in the sauce and juices and put the pan back in the smoker for 15 minutes to glaze.

I put the burnt ends on a plate and served.

The Verdict

I swear I could hear angels sing in the distances as I ate the first one of these. The pork belly takes up the flavour of the rub, sugar and sauce beautifully. It develops a wonderful dark bark and the interior is soft, rich and luscious. The only way these could have been better was if I’d made more (and I will). You must try these!

The Old Fat Guy

Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Ingredients

  • 400 to 500 grams (1 to 1 1/2 pounds) skinned pork belly piece
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) barbecue rub
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) apple juice
  • 25 ml (2 tbsp) brown sugar
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) cold butter
  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) sweet barbecue sauce

Instructions

  1. Cut the pork belly into 12 cubes.
  2. Toss in the barbecue rub.
  3. Smoke at 250 F until a nice dark colour, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. You could use an oven or indirect heat in a barbecue.
  4. Put the burnt ends in a small roasting pan. Add the apple juice. Spoon brown sugar over each burnt end. Break the butter into 12 pieces and put a piece on top of each burnt end.
  5. Cover the pan with foil and cook at 250 F for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Uncover the pan and leave the juices in. Add the barbecue sauce and stir to coat the burnt ends.
  7. Cook at 250 F for 15 minutes to set the glaze.
  8. Try not to eat all the burnt ends before you serve your guests.
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