While I was writing my book on barbecue (sorry guys, only available in Dutch) earlier this year, I saw the new BBQ hit for this season popping up all over my social media. It was a dish that I had seen before but never got to making, Pork Belly Burnt Ends. The first time I heard of them was a while ago. A BBQ joint in New York City was experimenting with different dishes and they had this on the menu. That moment I knew I had to make them.
There are BBQ purists out there that will tell you these aren’t burnt ends. Real burnt ends come from brisket. But the cat is out of the bag and I don’t think it’ll go back in any time soon. But whatever you call them, they are crazy delicious nuggets of porky goodness. It’s one of the best things I made so far on my barbecue. And the best part, it’s dead simple.
Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- pork belly 1.5 kilo / 3 pounds
- barbecue rub – your favorite for pork
- light brown sugar
- agave syrup or honey
- barbecue sauce – your favorite
smoke wood, I prefer apple or cherry, a handful of chips or a chunk will do
1. Prepare your barbecue for indirect use at 125-130°C / 250-265°F.
2. Trim loose bits of the pork belly and cut your pork belly in 5 cm / 2 inch chunks.
3. Sprinkle rub on all sides of the pork belly chunks, or roll them through a pile of rub on your cutting board.
4. Add the smoke wood to the fire. If you have a separate rack you can place the pork belly chunks on it and put it in the barbecue. If not, put the chunks on your grill grate. We cook them indirect, so they go away from the fire.
5. After 2½ to 3 hours take the chunks out of the barbecue. Put them in a (foil) pan that fits in the barbecue. Add 3-4 tablespoons each of butter, light brown sugar and agave syrup or honey. Cover the pan with tin foil and place back in the barbecue for another two hours.
6. After the two hours transfer the pork belly burnt ends to another pan (or put them on a plate while cleaning the current one and put them back).
7. Add enough barbecue sauce to cover them on all sides. Place the uncovered pan back in the barbecue.
8. Your pork belly burnt ends are ready when the sauce is caramelized. Depending on your sauce that will take about 15 to 30 minutes.
Serve them as a snack or make a pork belly burnt ends sandwich with them. Just pop them on a toasted white bun and add some pickle slices. Be careful not to eat your fingers too.