Pork belly burnt ends are delicious. We love making these on the Treager Renegade Elite on a lazy Sunday to enjoy before our main course. Burnt ends are typically made from brisket, but we really enjoy this new trend using pork belly instead of Brisket for our burnt ends. They are very succulent, rich, and have great flavor by the end of the cook. These are a great appetizer or snack, but work well in main courses as well. We enjoy pork belly burnt ends over a bed of cilantro rice with a poblano corn salad, guacamole, fresh pico de gallo, and some veggies. Make sure to enjoy with a spicy margarita!
For The Pork Belly :
5 Ilb skinless pork belly slab. Most of the time people are happy having about 3 cubes per serving.
Burnt ends are traditionally brisket, but Pork Belly does a great job acting as a burnt end because of all of the fat it has. When the fat renders down, you’re left with a really rich, flavorful chunk of meat. Pork belly isn’t the easiest cut of meat to find at your local grocery store; if you’re having a hard time finding it, try your local specialty butcher or ask the butcher at your local supermarket if they have any in the back. In our experience, pork belly comes in fresh, pre-packaged slabs or frozen, pre-packaged slabs. Most are skinless (which is great because you don’t want the skin on). Since it’s one of those cuts people don’t purchase often, you can ask them to order it for you and most butchers are happy to do it if they have access.
Chef Tom over at All Things BBQ does a great job explaining how to prepare different things on the BBQ. His video on preparing Pork Belly Burnt Ends will help you get started if you are new to preparing these. He walks you through all of the steps necessary to get started. They have tons of great recipes and tips for you to try out, go check out their page!
We usually use 5 Ilb, skinless slabs of pork belly. To get started, cut your pork belly into strips that are about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, then cube. You want to be able to eat these cubes in a few bites by the time they are cooked. There is a ton of fat in these so they will shrink down. Drizzle in oil and coat on all sides. Season with your rub of choice. We use our own homemade BBQ rub that combines ingredients like brown sugar, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika. Some great pre-made rubs that we like are Bad Byron’s Butt Rub BBQ Seasoning , Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub, and Bone Suckin’ Sauce. Chef Tom recommends using R Butts R Smokin’ Ozark Heat BBQ Rub. Coat your cubes with your meat and pat in. Place cubes on cooling racks / jerky racks.
We use the Treager Renegade Elite. We really love using the Traeger because it is compact, uses real wood, and takes some of the hassle out of BBQing because it keeps the fire going for you. If you’re all about tending the fire yourself, we have had plenty of great days using the Oklahoma Joe. As far as pellets go, we’ve been using a combination of cherry and pecan while smoking (Chef Tom also recommends this combination). We’ve been very happy with the BBQr’s Delight Wood Pellets. Try out Candy’s Contest Mix — we use even parts of cherry and pecan in the smoker.
The pork belly burnt ends take about 5 hours to prepare. About an hour in, rotate your chunks so they are evenly cooking. After about 3 hours you’re going to pull these off and arrange in tighly packed rows. We coat ours with some apple juice, honey, and brown sugar. The honey and brown sugar make an amazing crust on these when they’re finished. Wrap these tightly in foil and make sure there aren’t major air pockets. Put these back in the BBQ and check back in another 30-40 minutes. They should be almost finished at this point. Coat with some more honey and your BBQ sauce so the sauce can tack up on your burnt ends. Make sure to fully coat all sides of your chunks. Leave for about 20 minutes and they should be ready to go.
Poblano Corn Salad:
This poblano corn salsa is super fresh and works really well with the burnt ends. This recipe makes about 6-8 servings. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can add more ingredients if there is something you and your family really like. For extra heat, you can leave some of the seeds in.
- 2 poblano peppers, chopped with seeds removed
- 2 jalapenos, chopped with seeds removed
- 1 red onion
- 2 cans of fire roasted corn… normal canned corn will do (you can use fresh corn if you prefer… this is a great alternative if corn isn’t in season while you’re preparing)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 – 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 – 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 – 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 – 1 tsp Pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper / chili powder (either works)
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Squeeze of fresh lime juice (you can use the juice from 1 whole lime)
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- Optional: sometimes we like throwing a serrano pepper in here as well. We really like spice so this one is up to you.
- Optional: A few cherry tomatoes, quartered, or some chopped bell pepper also is a nice addition.
** We usually season to taste so we sprinkle a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It’s really up to you how much seasoning you put in your salsa.
- Warm oil in large skillet over high heat.
- Drain the water from your corn and place in your skillet with the poblano pepper, jalapeno, red onion, and garlic in your skillet. You want your veggies to start to soften and char. The peppers will become aromatic. This can take anywhere between 5-10 minutes.
- Add seasonings and squeeze of lime juice. This is entirely up to you how much you would like to add. We like to add a few dashes of this and a few dashes of that.
- Once all of your veggies have softened and browned in your skillet, remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
- Once your veggies have had a chance to cool for a few minutes, add chopped cilantro and mix.
Cilantro Lime Rice:
Regular white rice works great for this recipe as well. The cilantro lime white rice is a fun addition if you have time to make it!
- 2 cups of white rice
- 4 cups of water
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 juice from 1 large lime
- Cook your rice — follow the directions on the back of the bag. Typically, you’ll add 1-3 cups of rice depending on how many people you’re cooking for and then water. Usually for every 2 cups of rice, we use 2 cups of water. Bring the rice and water to a boil. Once boiling, let simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes until rice is steamed.
- Add butter to your steamed rice with your cilantro and lime juice and you’re all set!
Fresh Pico De Gallo:
You can purchase pre-made, fresh pico de gallo at most grocery stores. If you want to make it yourself, here’s our recipe.
- 7-8 Roma Tomatoes, diced with seeds removed
- 1 a large red onion
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 to 2 jalapenos, seeds removed and diced (you can choose how spicy you want this to be)
- Juice from 1 large lime
- Salt & Pepper
- Chop up all your veggies, combine in a bowl
- Add your lime juice and salt & pepper, mix
Once you have all your big things prepared, build your bowl! We enjoy serving these with the white rice / cilantro rice as the base with 3 cubes of pork belly burnt ends, a handful of chopped romaine lettuce, scoop of fresh guacamole, scoop of pico de gallo, and a big scoop of our corn salsa. Don’t forget the spicy margarita!