This post is sponsored by Ohio Pork Council, but all commentary is my own.
With only a handful of ingredients, you are well on your way to making these deliciously Spicy Pork Belly Burnt Ends! Great for game day snacking, you are going to want to fire up your smoker for these babies every weekend!
If you’ve ever wondered how to smoke pork belly burnt ends, look no further than this Spicy Pork Belly Burnt Ends recipe!
One of the things that I love about turning my passion cooking into my career is that I’m still always learning.
I’m in my second year now of being a brand ambassador for Ohio Pork Council, and the opportunities that this partnership has provided for me have been incredible. I went to a dinner with a local BBQ guru and a husband-wife pork farming team, and learned about allllllllll the best ways to cook all the different cuts of pork out there. It was enlightening.
My current “learning quest,” if you will, is about using my smoker. After lusting after one for YEARS, I finally had a Traeger show up at my front door. It soon became clear that 1. I had really no idea at all what I was doing and 2. Barbecuing and smoking were a whole new way of cooking for me.
So when I got an email from Ohio Pork, asking me if I was interested in attending a barbecuing cooking class, taught by a local competition ‘cue-r (yes, I made that word up), and five minutes from my house, I was ALL IN.
The class was taught by Tony from Historic BBQ, and I learned that we’d be doing a mix of beef and pork dishes that day. Brisket, St. Louis spareribs, pork belly burnt ends and reverse-seared ribeye were on the docket that day.
All four (really six, since he also included some smoked chicken wings and some brisket burnt ends) were phenomenal. When I left, I felt completely refreshed, invigorated and excited to get home and try my hand at what I saw that night, starting with the pork belly burnt ends.
If you’ve followed my site for awhile, you’re already acquainted with the pork shoulder burnt ends that I posted last year. They are great for sure, but in my opinion, they pale in comparison to these.
See, the thing with pork belly is this- its loaded with fat. And fat+smoker is basically a match made in tender goodness heaven. During the long smoke session, the fat slowly renders out of the meat, self-basting the pork the whole time. The result? A flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth piece of pork that will keep you coming back for more.
I loved Tony’s version, but I thought I’d do my own twist on it by adding some banana pepper rings and juice to the mix. My thought was that the pork would end up with just a *little* kick of heat, and the banana peppers would soften and candy in the sugary cooking liquid.
I did this twice- the first time, I didn’t add any banana pepper juice, and not enough peppers and didn’t get much of the result that I was looking for. But the second time? Oh, the second time I nailed it. The banana peppers were still spicy but coated in a smoky-sweet sticky layer, and the pork had JUST enough spicy undertone to the pork. Not enough to really overpower the pork or even be overt..just perfectly subtle.
Tools needed to make these burnt pork belly ends:
- As I mentioned before, my Traeger is my favorite way to cook these. In fact, it’s my favorite way to cook all pork!
- A couple of disposable aluminium pans are a good idea to have for this recipe. Because in all honesty, who has time to clean all of that sticky goodness off once it’s been baked on for hours?
- A cooling rack is great to have as well. It allows the hot air to circulate around all sides of the burnt ends for even cooking.
If you liked this recipe for pork belly burnt ends, check out these other great pork recipes:
- The End-All, Be-All Best Ways to Cook Pork
- BBQ Smoked Pork Belly
- Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends
- Guinness Pulled Pork
Spicy Pork Belly Burnt Ends
- 1/3 cup BBQ seasoning rub
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 3 lb pork belly skin removed
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 stick 8 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup banana pepper rings
- 3 tablespoons banana pepper ring juice
- Put the pork belly in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, to aid in cuttingCut the pork belly into 1" x 1" cubes.
- Season liberally with BBQ rub and cayenne on all sides, Place burnt ends on a cooling rack, leaving space between each piece.
- Heat smoker to 250F. Add cooling rack of pork belly pieces to smoker and cook for 2 hours.
- Transfer pork to a disposable aluminum pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar, honey, butter, banana pepper rings and and banana pepper juice. Cover with foil and return to smoker for an additional 2 hours. When pork reaches a temperature of 208-212, burnt ends are done.
- Remove from pan and brush with sauce of choice, if desired. Place back on a cooling rack for an additional 10 minutes to set the sauce.