Pork belly burnt ends are one of my favorite recipes for grill season. Thick, juicy pork belly grilled low and slow, first in a savory dry rub and then in a rich BBQ sauce, for a heavenly, smokey flavor you won’t be able to get enough of.
What Makes Pork Belly Burnt Ends So Good
- There’s so much flavor here! You’ve got a dry rub made up of the perfect blend of savory spices, then there’s a slightly sweet BBQ glaze, and then that incredible smokey flavor that comes just from grilling. Ugh, is your mouth watering yet?
- The slow, low-temperature grilling method used in this recipe gives you juicy, tender pork belly burnt ends that aren’t dry or tough. It takes a little time, but you know what they say about good things coming to those who wait…
- Pork belly burnt ends are actually pretty hands off, all things considered. I mean, once you put the meat on the grill, you don’t have to do anything at all for another 2.5 hours! And then you basically just add the glaze and put everything back on the grill for another 2 hours.
- These can be the main protein in your cookout meal, part of a whole grilled-food-spread, or you can plate them and serve them with toothpicks for an incredible appetizer!
Key Ingredients for Pork Belly Burnt Ends
Pork Belly – Love bacon? Then odds are good you’ll love pork belly, too! They’re both cut from the belly, but pork belly refers to the whole slab of meat, and bacon is cut from that slab. Pork belly is uncured and unsmoked, whereas bacon is, well… cured (generally) and smoked. You’ll need skinless pork belly for this recipe. You can buy it without the skin, or buy it with the skin on and remove it yourself.
BBQ Sauce – The sauce you use can really impact the flavor of your pork belly burnt ends! Maybe you prefer a sweeter sauce, like maple bourbon. Or, if heat’s your thing, grab a bottle that’s got a little kick. You can also make your own BBQ sauce – we’ve got great recipes for Keto BBQ Sauce, Whole30 BBQ Sauce, and Whole30 BBQ Sauce With Chipotle (Paleo, Vegan).
- If you buy pork belly with the skin on, you’ll need to remove it for this recipe. It’s a little tricky (and time-consuming) if you’ve never done it before. You’ll need a super sharp knife, a cutting board, and a healthy amount of patience. With the knife at an angle, run it underneath the skin, working away from you and away from the meat. You’ll need to peel away the skin with your other hand at the same time, so it takes a little coordination.
- If you’ve got 5-10 minutes to spare, let the pork belly sit after you coat it in dry rub, before you put it on the grill. That just gives the spices more time to infuse into the meat, enhancing the overall flavors.
- Adjust the spices in your dry rub to get your perfect blend! If you like things hotter, you might use ½ teaspoon of cayenne instead of ¼ teaspoon. Want pork belly burnt ends that are a little less sweet? Cut the brown sugar slightly. Play around with the ratios to get the best dry rub for your tastes.
More Delicious Grilled Recipes You’ll Love
- Baked Potatoes on the Grill
- Grilled Scallops
- Maple Glazed Grilled Carrots
- Quick Chimichurri Shrimp Skewers (Whole30, Paleo, Keto)
- Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs
- Grilled Mahi Mahi
- Grilled Peaches with Honey
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Pork Belly Burnt Ends on the Grill
- Charcoal grill (or smoker)
- Medium bowl
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Large bowl
- Silicone spatula (optional)
- Disposable aluminum pan
- Aluminum Foil
For the Dry Rub
For the BBQ Glaze
- ⅔ cup BBQ sauce of choice
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 packed tablespoons brown sugar see Notes
For the Pork Belly
- 3 pounds pork belly non-salted, skin removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or other neutral oil
- Set up charcoal grill for low, indirect heat, between 225° Fahrenheit to 250° Fahrenheit.
- Add all ingredients for dry rub to small bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
- Place pork belly on cutting board. Using sharp knife, cut pork belly into roughly 1.5-inch cubes.
- Transfer pork belly cubes to large bowl. Add olive oil and toss or stir to coat cubes thoroughly. Add dry rub and toss or stir again.
- Transfer seasoned pork belly cubes to grill, placing directly on bare wire rack over indirect heat. Grill approximately 2 ½ hours, until meat is dark red.
- Remove meat from grill and place in disposable aluminum pan. Add ingredients for BBQ glaze to pan and stir all ingredients until cubes are thoroughly coated.
- Cover pan with aluminum foil and place pan on wire rack in grill. Grill additional 2 hours, or until pork belly reaches internal temperature of 200° Fahrenheit. Remove from grill and serve immediately with desired sides.
- Brown Sugar: If you’re watching your sugar intake, you can use equal amounts Brown Swerve instead.
- Make it Keto: Use Brown Swerve instead of brown sugar, and use a keto-friendly store-bought BBQ sauce (like Primal Kitchen Organic & Unsweetened Classic BBQ Sauce or G Hughes Original Sugar Free BBQ Sauce) or use our recipe to make your own keto BBQ sauce at home.
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Jasmine Comer is a food photographer and recipe developer from North Carolina. She grew up in the kitchen watching her mom cook all types of delicious meals. In 2016 she established Lively Meals, a food blog where she creates healthy recipes. This led to creating recipes for other blogs as well. In her free time she enjoys exploring new places and spending time in nature. Ultimately she’s grateful to be doing work she loves—cooking good food and sharing it with people.