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Bourbon Pork Belly Burnt Ends

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Low and slow-cooked pork belly is delicious all on its own, but when you top it with good quality bourbon and citrus barbecue sauce, that is truly a marvelous thing. These Bourbon Pork Belly Burnt Ends are simply amazing. You will be pleasantly surprised by the depth this bourbon brings to the sauce and the pork belly.

Ardbeg Scotch Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Pork belly is exactly what it sounds like, the belly of the hog. Most pork belly is turned into bacon. It is high in fat and low in lean meat. Of course, bacon is cured. Our pork belly burnt ends are slow smoked. During this smoking time, we want to render as many layers of fat as possible. You don’t want pork fat on the menu, but you do want a smoky combination of fat and lean.

I recommend using my Kansas City Rub for Pork for this pork belly burnt end recipe. You might just want to make up a good amount of this stuff and keep it on hand.

What you’ll need to make Bourbon Pork Belly Burnt Ends:

  • Pork belly, 4 pounds, and 1- 1 1/4″ thick
  • Kansas City Rub for Pork or your favorite bottled rub
  • Blood oranges or blood orange juice
  • Regular oranges
  • Real maple syrup
  • Ketchup
  • Bourbon, we used Four Roses for this recipe.
  • Soy sauce
  • Chili powder
  • Unsalted butter
  • A reliable instant-read thermometer

Wood Recommendations:  

Maple, Pecan, Apple, or Oak.  You can also use a combination of woods if preferred. If you want a strong smoke flavor, use hickory or oak wood.

How to Make Pork Belly Burnt Ends

  • Prepare your grill for 275 degrees F. Add smoke wood (chunks, chips, or pellet) of choice.
  • If there is a large fat cap on the pork belly, trim it down slightly to 1/2″ thick. Crosshatch the fat with a sharp knife. Do not penetrate the meat.
  • Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Apply to both sides and edges of pork belly.

Pork Belly on the Smoker

pork belly on grill
  • Place pork belly fat side down in the smoker, close the lid, and let it go for 3 1/2-4 hours.
  • Once the internal temperature of the pork belly reaches 180 degrees, F. carefully remove the pork belly and wrap it in aluminum foil. Place it back into the smoker and let it go until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F.

Making the Bourbon Sauce

  • To prepare sauce: Add blood orange juice, regular orange juice, maple syrup, and bourbon to a saucepan.
  • Simmer over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add soy sauce, ketchup, and chili powder to the mixture, and reduce heat to medium.
  • Let the sauce simmer and thicken, stirring often. It will bubble up on the sides; keep an eye on it. Reduce heat to low if needed. The sauce should simmer for a good 5 minutes.
  • Next, stir in the 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, remove the pot from heat and let the sauce stand for 5 minutes. The bourbon pork belly sauce should be a tad runny and syrup-like.

Glazing the Bourbon Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Unglazed pork belly
  • Remove pork belly from foil, and carefully place onto a cutting board. Cut into 1 1/4 inch cubes.
  • Place pork belly cubes into the aluminum pan, and pour BBQ sauce over the top, making sure all pieces are well coated.
  • Cover the pan with foil, and place it into the smoker for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly and caramelized on the surface.
  • Remove from grill, let stand for 10 minutes, and serve with toothpicks for the perfect appetizer. Use in sandwiches, nachos, or serve as the main course.
Ardbeg Scotch Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Tips:

  • Use fresh orange juice for this Bourbon Pork Belly Burnt Ends recipe. The blood oranges are essential for both color and flavor.
  • Serve this recipe as an appetizer. After all, bourbon pork belly can be quite rich, so serving it along with other snackable items and cocktails is recommended.
  • Use a low sodium soy sauce if preferred or tamari for dietary restrictions such as gluten sensitivity.
  • Real maple syrup is essential to this pork belly recipe. I recommend avoiding maple-flavored syrups or pancake syrups for this dish. The real stuff is so worth it, and it has a milder but deliciously sweet flavor.

If you like this recipe and want to take it to the next level, try our recipe for Pork Brisket. It might just be the next big thing in barbecue.

Check out all our best grills and smoked appetizer recipes!

Ardbeg Scotch Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Bourbon Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Low and slow-cooked pork belly is delicious all on its own, but when you top it with an bourbon and citrus barbecue sauce, that is truly a marvelous thing.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Dish
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: bbq appetizer recipes, bbq recipes, bourbonbbq, pork belly burnt ends, smoked pork belly
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 164kcal
Author: Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 1 slab pork belly 4 pounds, and 1- 1 1/4″ thick
  • Aluminum foil two 20″ long pieces
  • 1 disposable aluminum pan 9 x 11
  • For rub:
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Kansas City Rub for Pork or your favorite bottled rub
  • For BBQ glaze:
  • 2 small blood oranges juiced (yields 1/4 cup of blood orange juice)
  • 2 oranges juiced (yields ½ cup orange juice)
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 3/8 cup ketchup 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder mild
  • 2 tablespoons butter unsalted

Instructions

  • Prepare your grill for 275 degrees F. Add your wood chips or chunks of choice.
  • If there is a large fat cap on the pork belly, trim it to 1/2" thick.
  • Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Apply to both sides and edges of pork belly.
  • Place pork belly fat side down in the smoker, close lid, and let it go for 3 1/2-4 hours.
    Once the temperature reaches 180 degrees F. carefully remove the pork belly and wrap it in aluminum foil.
    Place it back into the smoker, close lid, and cook until the internal temp reaches 200 degrees F.
  • To prepare sauce: Add blood orange juice, regular orange juice, maple syrup, and bourbon to a saucepan.
  • Simmer over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add soy sauce, ketchup, and chili powder to the mixture, and reduce heat to medium.
  • Let the sauce simmer and thicken, stirring often. It will bubble up on the sides, that's fine; just keep an eye on it. Reduce heat to low if needed. The sauce should simmer for a good 5 minutes.
  • Next, stir in the 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, remove the pot from heat and let the sauce stand for 5 minutes. The sauce should be a tad runny and syrup-like.
  • Remove pork belly from foil, and carefully place onto a cutting board.
    Using a sharp knife, cut pork belly into 1 1/4" cubes.
    Place cubes into the aluminum pan, and pour sauce over the top, making sure all pieces are well coated.
  • Cover the pan with foil, and place into the smoker for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly and caramelized on the surface.
    Rest pork belly for 10-12 minutes before serving.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for 4 days in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 258mg | Potassium: 290mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 357IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 1mg

Derrick Riches

I began writing about Barbecue & Grilling in 1997 with one mission, to help the backyard chef have the best experience possible.

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