Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends are like little pieces of candy MADE OF BACON!!! They’re sweet, savory, salty morsels of heaven! They’re also a lot easier than you think – I made them on my Traeger Grill and they melt in your mouth! Perfect for your next get-together – or heck – just eat them all yourself!
Any time you’re using the smoker – it’s going to take some time – so this isn’t a quick weeknight meal – but it’s so worth it! Pork Belly really is a big slab of bacon before it’s trimmed and cut.
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!
How do you make Pork Belly Burnt Ends on the Traeger?
First – get yourself a slab o’ pork belly! I found pork belly at a butcher shop in town. 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!
Once you have your belly – you’ll slice it into 1″ bite-sized pieces. Then coat it HEAVILY with your favorite bbq pork rub – I, of course, used Historic BBQ’s pork & poultry rub. I know the guys that own Historic and it’s my fav! Let that rub set for about 15 minutes so it really adhere’s to the belly.
While that is setting, get your Traeger ready and set it to 250 degrees. Once it’s ready, take your bites and set them on an oven-safe rack (like a baking or cooling rack) it’s much easier than trying to set them on the grill itself! You’re going to let these guys smoke for 2 hours until they reach 200 degrees. (Always use a meat thermometer!)
Take them off the grill and put them in a disposable pan or a grill “skillet”. Toss them with a bit of your favorite bbq 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 eat one right then! OMG – so good!
Can you make these on a regular grill or 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.
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place pan back in grill for 15 minutes and then remove and eat!