Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends are like little pieces of candy MADE OF BACON!!! They’re sweet, savory, tender morsels of heaven! They’re also a lot easier to make than you might think! I made them on my Traeger Grill and they truly melt in your mouth! Pork belly burnt ends are perfect for your next get-together – or heck – just eat them all yourself!
Any time you’re using your Traeger (or any pellet smoker) – it’s going to take some time – it’s a labor of love that is so worth it! Every bite is just perfection! The juices are locked in and they taste like bacon wrapped in honey and a whole lot of love!
What are Pork Belly Burnt Ends?
Burnt ends traditionally come from cooking a beef brisket – they’re fattier pieces from the ends that get a little crispy – but are still melty and soft from the fat on them. They used to be just scrapped or used in things like stews, etc – but now people have realized how tasty those little bits are!
With pork belly burnt ends, we’re taking all those ideas of how you get the burnt ends on a brisket and putting them to good use on a pork belly! That’s what I love about pork belly – is that it’s so versatile and full of protein – it can be bacon, it can be savory, it can be sweet – so good! If you want to learn more about pork farming – check out PorkCares.org. I have lots of good friends that farm hogs and I love supporting them – especially when it means I get to eat this good!
Ingredients for Pork Belly Burnt Ends recipe
You can get fancier – but I like to keep it simple. All you need for pork belly burnt ends are:
- pork belly – figure about 1/4-1/3 lb per person if you’re serving as an appetizer or with other items. These little bites are rich!
- bbq seasoning – there are a million brands of seasoning and if you have a pellet grill – you probably have a bag full! Use your favorite! Mine is Historic BBQ Red seasoning – it’s perfect for pork!
- bbq sauce – same here – everybody likes what they like. I like a thinner sauce that’s not super thick and sugary because I want to taste the pork! My favorite is Williamson Bros – it’s a restaurant in Georgia and you can buy it online at Walmart or Amazon.
Where can I get pork belly?
Sometimes you’ll find pork belly at the grocery store but you’re better off going to your local butcher shop. Also – if they’re cutting you off a piece pork belly – see if you can get the THICK end of the pork belly. When I went – they pulled out a frozen belly and showed it to me so I could direct them on what I wanted.
How do you make Pork Belly Burnt Ends on the Traeger?
- First – get yourself a slab o’ pork belly! I bought a 3 lb slab and that makes probably 50-75 bites – you can probably think people will eat 4-6 bites each (or a pound if you’re me) – if you want to try and plan how much pork belly you need. A whole pork belly is about 10 pounds and that’s a LOT!
- Remove the silver skin from the pork belly using a boning knife. You’ll see some of the fatty skin is very thin with a silvery shine to it. Slice and pull off to remove. This doesn’t cook down and stays a bit tough so it’s best to remove it.
- From there, slice it into bite-sized, one-inch cubes.
- Coat it HEAVILY with your favorite bbq pork rub – I, of course, used Historic BBQ’s pork & poultry rub. It’s got all the seasonings and brown sugar you’ll need already in it!
- Let that rub set for about 15 minutes so it really adhere’s to the belly. This will help that crispy bark form as it’s smoking.
- While that is setting, get your Traeger ready and set it to 250 degrees.
- Once it’s ready, take your cubed pork belly bites and set them in a single layer on an oven-safe wire rack (like a baking or cooling rack) it’s much easier than trying to set them on the grill grates!
- Let these guys smoke for 2 hours until they reach 200 degrees. (Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature!)
- Take them off the grill and put them in a disposable aluminum foil pan or a grill “skillet”.
- Toss them with a bit of your favorite barbecue sauce – I like to use a light, runny sauce like Williamson Brothers – I don’t like my bbq super sticky.
- Then back on the grill for about 15 minutes so the sauce adheres to the bites.
I dare you to not grab a toothpick and eat one right then! These little nuggets are the most delicious bite of pork you’ll ever taste! OMG – so good!
Can you make pork belly burnt ends in the oven?
Sure! With a regular grill – the key is keeping the temp low at 225-250 degrees. You put wood chips with a charcoal grill. Soak them in water first and then keep adding them to the grill as you’re smoking the pork belly. Be sure to put the chips on top of the coals – and then your belly on the other side.
You can also do them in the oven at the same temperature as the Traeger grill instructions. To add the smoky flavor – you can add a tiny shake of liquid smoke to the sauce when you toss the bites.
Can you overcook burnt ends?
Yup. Because these are “burnt” you’re going to want to cook them until they’re about 200 degrees internal temp – but if you just keep cooking them – or your bites are too small – they’re going to turn into tough little rocks. So temp check and taste when they are between 180-200 degrees and take them off when you like them!
Can you reheat pork belly burnt ends?
Yes – I recommend reheating in the air fryer. These little guys are already cooked but the microwave reheat will just make them rubbery. The air fryer helps maintain that crust but still keeps them juicy.
Are pork belly burnt ends fatty?
Yup. I mean – it’s just the honest truth. But a lot of the fat renders as the ends are cooking – but yes – still fatty. (That’s why they’re good!)
Are pork belly burnt ends healthy?
Nope. Again – honesty is key. But you’re also not eating a whole pound of them – well I did – but you probably shouldn’t.
What to serve with Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- Traeger Smoked Queso
- Bacon Wrapped Taco Stuffed Jalapenos
- Copycat Red Robin Freckled Lemonade
- Copycat KFC Coleslaw
More Traeger Pork Recipes
Traeger Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- Remove the silver skin from the pork belly using a boning knife. You'll see some of the fatty skin is very thin with a silvery shine to it. Slice and pull off to remove. This doesn't cook down and stays a bit tough so it's best to remove it.3 lb pork belly
- Slice pork belly COLD into 1" cubes
- Place pork belly cubes in a large bowl and toss with bbq seasoning rub. Heavily coat all sides.1/2 cup Historic BBQ Red
- Let rest for 15 minutes so seasoning adheres to belly bites
- Preheat Traeger to 250 and be sure you have enough pellets in the smoker. I recommend Cherry or Hickory for this recipe.
- Place pork belly bites on oven-safe racks fat side up. For 3 lbs I used two racks. Place racks onto the Traeger – preferably on the top rack if it's large enough.
- Smoke for two hours. Check the temp with your meat thermometer and remove when the bites are 200 degrees.
- Move bites to a grill skillet or disposable aluminum pan. Toss with bbq sauce so they are lightly coated. You don't want them to be sitting in sauce.1 cup Williamson Bros BBQ
- Place pan back in grill for 15 minutes and then remove and eat!