Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
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These wood-smoked pork belly burnt ends with caramelized BBQ glaze are the perfect summer appetizer. Serve them fresh off the grill (or smoker) for a juicy, tender bite with perfectly crisp edges!

Why You’ll Love This Pork Belly Burnt Ends Recipe

These juicy, perfectly charred bbq burnt ends can be prepared on the grill or in a smoker. They will disappear quickly as they practically melt in your mouth!

  • Great for Cookouts: Start this grilled pork appetizer early in the day so you can serve them as your guests arrive.
  • Crisp and Juicy: They’re cooked over indirect heat until super tender, caramelized and oh-so-juicy.
  • Smoky Meat Candy: Brown sugar and a combination of spices create a heavenly sweet and smoky flavor profile.
  • Addictive: These little bites of crisp and juicy pork won’t last long. Your guests will be hovering over the plate to steal the last bite!
Labeled ingredients for pork belly burnt ends.

What You’ll Need

Caramelized brown sugar and wood chips add a lovely smokiness to every bite. Scroll down to the recipe card for exact amounts.

  • Pork Belly: Use a sharp knife to create 1.5 x 1.5 inch cubes. Do not cut off excess fat. It will render and melt on the grill, making the meat tender.
  • Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar is best. Light brown sugar works too.
  • Seasonings: Smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt and pepper.
  • BBQ Sauce: I love Sweet Baby Ray’s, but use your favorite.
  • Butter: Reduce the salt in the recipe if you use salted butter.
  • Wood Chips: I like apple wood chips, but use your favorite.

How To Make Pork Belly Burnt Ends

While burnt ends do take a while to cook, most of the time is hands off cooking. As my dad likes to say, the smoker is the “man’s crockpot”. The below step by step directions are for the grill, smoker directions are located in the recipe card at bottom of this post.

  • Soak the Wood: Place the wood chips in a bowl of water to soak. Heat the grill and place the soaked chips on one side.
  • Make the Spice Rub: Whisk the brown sugar and seasonings together. Rub on the cubed pork belly.
  • Cook it: Spread the pork on a cookie rack. Place it on the grill, away from direct heat. Close the grill lid and cook for 2 hours.
  • Add Foil: Line a grill-safe pan with foil and transfer the pork to it. Increase the heat and return the pan to the grill. Close the lid and cook for another hour.
  • Glaze it: Make the glaze by whisking the barbecue sauce with brown sugar. Pour the mixture over the pork and stir well. Add the butter and cover the pan with aluminum foil.
  • Caramelize it: Return the pan to the grill over direct heat. Raise the heat and cook for another 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Charred pork belly burnt ends in the baking pan.

Chef’s Tips & Variations

  • Even Cuts: Make sure the pork belly cubes are diced into even-sized, bite size pieces to ensure even cooking.
  • Make them Spicy: Stir more cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes into the spice rub for a bit of heat. You can also add hot sauce or chili oil into the BBQ sauce, to taste.
  • Reduce the Sweetness: If you’re not into BBQ that’s on the sweeter side, reduce the amount of sugar by half. You can also use a more savory bbq sauce.
  • Indirect Heat: Don’t place the pork directly over the heat until the last 20 minutes, otherwise it will turn out tough and dry. Make sure it only receives indirect heat for the first 3 hours. This allows the fat to render and the meat to tenderize.
  • Different Cuts of Meat: You can also follow this same recipe with chuck roast to create Poor Man’s Burnt Ends. You can also use a brisket for brisket burnt ends!
Bowl of juicy, charred pork belly ends.

Serving Suggestions

Smokey pork belly burnt ends are the perfect appetizer for summer cookouts and gatherings. Try them stuffed inside a perfect Outback style baked potato or served with these sides:

Plate of caramelized pork belly burnt ends.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Pork belly burnt ends are best fresh, however the leftovers are still tasty! We love to use the leftovers the next morning in scrambled eggs.

  • Fridge: Store them in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: Transfer the pork belly ends to freezer-friendly bags in serving-size portions. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as usual.
  • Reheat: Microwave for up to a minute or until warm. For best results and crispy edges, reheat in the oven or air fryer until warmed through.
    • Oven: 400°F for about 8 minutes.
    • Air Fryer: 350°F for about 3 minutes.
Landscape photo of grilled pork belly burnt ends.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 16 servings

Grilled Pork Belly Burnt Ends

This grilled pork belly burnt ends recipe with smokey BBQ glaze will be a juicy cookout go-to for the summer. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds cubed pork belly
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • Handful wood chips, apple or other

Instructions 

  • Soak the wood chips in a bowl of water for 10 to 30 minutes, then remove and place them in a foil package, leaving the top open.
  • Heat the grill or smoker to 250°F. If using a grill, only use one side of the grill for the heat. Place the wood chips over the heated side.
  • Place the meat in a large bowl. Combine the brown sugar, smoked paprika, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. Coat the meat in the rub, pressing on all sides.
  • Place the pork belly on a cookie rack and place in the smoker, or on the side of the grill opposite of the fire. (You want indirect heat.)
  • Close the lid and cook/smoke for 2 hours.
  • Using tongs, place the meat in a foil pan (or line a grill safe pan with foil and spray with cooking spray). Raise the heat to 290°F and place the pan back on the grill, again away from the heat side. Close the lid and cook for an additional hour.
  • Remove the pan and combine the BBQ sauce and brown sugar, then pour over the meat, coating well. Add slices of butter around the meat. Cover pan with foil.
  • Place the pan in the grill, this time directly over the heat, and turn the heat up to 305°F. Cook for 20 more minutes. Then remove from the grill and serve!

Notes

Store: Store them in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freeze: Transfer the pork belly ends to freezer-friendly bags in serving-size portions. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as usual.
Reheat: Microwave for up to a minute or until warm. For crispy edges again, reheat in the oven or air fryer. Oven at 400°F for about 8 minutes. Air fryer at 350°F for about 3 minutes.
Pork Belly: Use a sharp knife to create 1.5 x 1.5 inch cubes. Do not cut off excess fat. It will render and melt on the grill, making the meat tender.
Even Cuts: Make sure the pork belly cubes are diced into even-sized, bite size pieces to ensure even cooking.
Different Cuts of Meat: You can also follow this same recipe with brisket or chuck roast to create Poor Man’s Burnt Ends.
Make them Spicy: Stir more cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes into the spice rub for a bit of heat. You can also add hot sauce or chili oil into the BBQ sauce, to taste.
Indirect Heat: Don’t place the pork directly over the heat until the last 20 minutes, otherwise it will turn out tough and dry. Make sure it only receives indirect heat for the first 3 hours. This allows the fat to render and the meat to tenderize.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 673kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 62g, Saturated Fat: 23g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 29g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 87mg, Sodium: 824mg, Potassium: 290mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 585IU, Vitamin C: 0.5mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg

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Post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.