“Bacon is just another word for meat candy!”
Right off the grocery store shelf
Traditionally, burnt ends are flavorful pieces of meat cut from the “point” half of a smoked beef brisket and they are considered a delicacy in barbecue cooking. Pork belly is a boneless cut of fatty meat from the belly of a pig; bacon is made from this cut of meat. Un-traditionally, burnt ends made from pork belly are quite possibly the best thing you will every eat. They are little chewy pieces of candied bacon goodness!
Cut into cubed pieces
• 4 lbs. pork belly, cut into 1 to 1 ½ -inch cubes
• ¼ cup of your favorite BBQ rub
• wire rack or mesh mat that fits inside the smoker
• 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
• 3 tbsp. butter, softened
• 2 tbsp. honey
• 2 tbsp. brown sugar
• Apple juice for spritzing
Slice your pork belly into cubes no smaller than 1-inch, but not much larger than 1 ½ -inch. Coat each cube with your favorite BBQ rub. You can try a homemade rub or use your favorite commercial rub. Allow to set for at least 30 minutes or prepare the day before, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.
Chilling in the plastic bag
Preheat your smoker to 225°F to 250°F
Place the pork belly fat-side down onto a wire rack or mesh mat. This is so that the small chunks of pork belly don’t fall through the grids. Lay the pork belly out in a single layer with a little space between each chunk.
Spritz with apple juice about every 30-45 minutes. After 3 hours transfer the pork belly chunks (they should be about IT 190°F) to a foil pan or baking pan. Add the BBQ sauce, butter, honey, and brown sugar; stir/toss until all the pieces are well coated. Cover the top with foil and return to the smoker for another hour until the internal temperature of the pork belly chunks has reached 200°F.
Out of the smoker!
Uncover and cook for another 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens and caramelizes to a sweet and sticky consistency. Remove from the smoker and allow to set for 15 minutes.
Serve the pork belly burnt ends (at room temp or slightly warm) as little melt-in-your-mouth appetizers at parties, or as a side to a large leafy salad.
On the plate but not for long!