Old Arthur’s Pork Belly Burnt Ends

July 31, 2022

“I thank Eudell Watts IV, Old Arthur’s great-grandson, for this recipe. Pork belly burnt ends are a riff off the traditional burnt ends made from beef brisket."

Directions

Cube the whole pork belly into 1-inch squares. Place the cubed pieces into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the dry rub into the bowl along with the pieces, and then toss vigorously with your hands to coat each piece thoroughly.

Bring the smoker to an internal temperature of approximately 235 degrees. Use your favorite fruitwood or hardwood to create the desired smoke once the smoker has reached the correct temperature.

Arrange the seasoned pork belly pieces evenly on a wire-mesh baking tray. Take care to space the pork belly pieces so that they do not touch one another. Place the tray in the smoker. Smoke the pork belly pieces for 3 1/2 hours at 235–250 degrees. If you have not already done so, add your wood pieces to the fire so that you are now producing smoke.

Remove the tray from the smoker. Using your hands (gloved), carefully transfer each cube from the tray to an aluminum foil pan. Arrange the pieces so that they are uniformly level in the pan. Distribute the butter, brown sugar, honey, apple juice, jam, the remaining 1/4 cup of the dry rub, and 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce over the pork cubes.

Cover and seal the pan with aluminum foil. Return the pan to the heat of the smoker. Allow it to stay inside for 2 more hours at a target temperature of 250 degrees. Remove the pan from the smoker. Remove the foil lid, and carefully transfer the individual pieces from this braising liquid into a new, clean foil pan. Discard the old pan and liquid. Drizzle the remaining barbecue sauce over the pork cubes. Place the cubes in the new pan (no lid) back into the smoker for 15–20 minutes more to let the sauce get a little tacky, but don’t leave the pan in too long, or you will sacrifice that rendered texture that you have worked so hard to achieve. Remove from the smoker and enjoy.

From BLACK SMOKE: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue by Adrian Miller. Copyright © 2021 by Adrian Miller. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press. https://uncpress.org/

Ingredients

6 pounds pork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 cup Old Arthur’s Smokestack Dry Rub (oldarthurs.com), or your favorite dry rub, divided

1 stick butter, sliced into pats

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup honey

1/2 cup apple juice

1/2 cup apple or fig jam

20 ounces Old Arthur’s Barbecue Sauce, or your favorite barbecue sauce, divided

00:00