Pork butt burnt ends

Pork Butt Burnt Ends Recipe

I am fairly confident that almost everybody loves burnt ends. Smoky meat covered in a sticky spicy-sweet glaze. It honestly is like meat candy, and I am a fan of it!

The thing is, sometimes you don’t have time to do a brisket, and pork belly burnt ends are so rich that you really have to watch how many of those tasty morsels you wolf down.

Then it came to me, the best of both worlds.

Why not use a pork butt (Boston butt)? It has a great fat content that will render down as well as a nice meaty bite of pork.

After a handful of trials, I came up with a great recipe that delivers the smoke, the spice, the sticky sweet … all of it. They’re fabulous!

They have moved way up the ladder of things I love to prepare on the smoker. You have to try this if you already haven’t.

Decreased cook time, super flavor. A solid win for me!

I am sure that this method can be adapted to a myriad of grills, but I will be focusing on using a smoker.

Also, depending on the crowd, you can either cut this recipe in half or double it as needed. I have literally cut half of a pork butt into cubes for burnt ends and smoked the other half for some chopped pork.

Ingredients Needed

This doesn’t call for a whole lot of crazy ingredients. The rub itself has a fair number of spices in it. I came up with this rub after years of smoking various pieces of meat.

It has a slightly sweet smoky taste with a little heat on the back. I’ll put it on about everything.

The Pork

Boneless Pork Butt (Boston butt) – Approximately 8 lbs.

The Rub

The amounts you will need can be found in the recipe card. These spices are listed just so you can get a quick overview.

As I previously said, this stuff rocks. It’s not oversweet or over-spicy.

It’s a nice perfect balance that goes great with this, as well as other smoked pork cooks.

  • Paprika
  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Brown sugar
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried thyme
  • Cumin
  • Dry mustard
  • Cayenne

The Glaze

Ah, the sticky sweet goodness that makes this smoked pork stand up and be seen! Nothing too crazy here either.

  • Hot honey (you can find this pretty much anywhere)
  • Brown Sugar
  • Your favorite barbecue sauce (barbeque sauce)
  • Butter
  • Some of the remaining rub

How To Make Pork Butt Burnt Ends

Preparing The Rub

This step is pretty straightforward. Mix all the spices together in a bowl until they are well combined.

Set the spice mixture aside until the meat is ready for the rub.

Preparing The Pork

trimming fat away from a piece of pork butt

Trim away most of the fat using a sharp knife. There is plenty of fat within the pork, you won’t need this.

Furthermore, as these are cubes … bites of pork, you want that smoke to get into the meat.

That fat will prevent the rub and smoke to penetrate.

The smoke time on this is much less than doing a whole pork butt so trim it pretty well.

cutting pork butt into small pieces

Cut the pork butt into 1½ inch cubes. There will be bits and pieces that don’t conform. Trim them as well and discard them. They’ll just burn up during the smoking process.

Once you have the pork butt cubed, place them into a large receptacle, mixing bowl, or disposable aluminum pan. Begin to add the rub.

I recommend using a binder of mustard but this is not required.

Coat it pretty generously and mix it up. Continue to sprinkle rub, mix and toss the cubes until all the pieces are covered well.

cubes of pork butt
cubes of pork butt with rub
applying rub to pork butt cubes
placing cubes of pork butt with rub onto bradley rack

The rub makes about 2 cups and I usually use 1 cup of the rub during this process.

Place the cubes on some baking cooling racks so they’re ready to go onto the smoker.

Alternatively, you can place them on the grates directly. Cleaning the grill grate might be a pain afterward, though.

Smoke

Get the smoker to 225 degrees F. I personally use hickory and cherry wood. The hickory wood is an aggressive smoke while the cherry gives the pork a great color.

You can also use pecan or oak. If you have a personal preference, run with it.

Smoke the pork for approximately 1 hour somewhere around 225 to 250 degrees F. This step is just getting some color and some smoke on the meat.

The real cooking of the pork will come later. The internal temperature of the meat should be around 165 to 170 degrees F.

A quick note on the internal temperature. There are plenty of good thermometers out there. There are two I use almost exclusively and I’ll provide a link for both. Yes, this is an affiliate link but it’s what I use and LOVE them.

The first is an instant-read thermometer and is perfect for testing any kind of meat quickly. The other is the Fireboard. Just read up on this thing. It’s amazing for any backyard barbeque cook!

When the pork has started to get some good color and is starting to form a bark pull from the smoker. Increase your heat to about 275 degrees F.

Braise

Yep, braise. This is the key to getting the pork nice and tender, trust me.

I have tried various methods working on this technique and it’s very easy to smoke this meat that makes it super tough.

I have found that braising is the best way of tenderizing this particular meat in a timely manner.

Plus the braising liquid imparts tons of flavor into the meat.

Place your pork cubes into a disposable aluminum tin. Disposable aluminum pans are your friend, get some if you don’t have any.

Add approximately 12 ounces of pineapple juice and add enough apple juice to come up about half the height of your pork cubes.

For me, this was about 2 cups but it will be different depending on the size of your pan.

Add a couple of tablespoons of the rub as well and stir to combine. Cover with foil and place back onto your smoker.

Braise for about an hour and a half at 275 degrees F.

At this point, your pork bites should be starting to tenderize. You will need to check the meat to determine how tender you want.

The internal temp should be at least 205 degrees F. Some like a decent pull on the bite while others prefer the meat to just fall apart.

After the hour mark, I would continue to check every 15 to 20 minutes or so.

Also, if it braises too long, the meat can be so tender that adding the glaze might cause the meat to fall apart on you. It all comes down to your personal preference at this point.

When the meat has reached your personal level of doneness, remove it from the smoker and drain the braising liquid.

Glaze

This is always the fun part for me. The meat is done and it’s time to add the crazy sweetness.

Add half of the hot honey, your favorite bbq sauce, brown sugar, butter, and two tablespoons of the rub. Mix with utensils or gloved hands.

Sauced up pork butt burnt ends

Repeat the process with the remaining glaze ingredients until each piece has been sufficiently covered.

Place back onto the smoker which should still be at 275. Cook for 45 more minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so.

After 45 minutes, remove from the smoker and allow to rest for about 10-15 minutes.

Placing sauced up pork butt burnt ends back onto a bradley rack

If you want them to really tack up, you can place them back onto the cooling racks and place back in for about 15 more minutes.

Serve

Time to delve into this meat candy. The spiciness of the rub combined with the smoke and that sticky-sweet glaze is BBQ nirvana!

The pork is super tender and all those different flavors explode in an epicurean firestorm of deliciousness.

pork butt burnt ends coming off the smoker

I worked on this recipe for a while, trying this and that. This works, and it works well.

These little bites of delectable pork butt burnt ends make a perfect appetizer or side dish.

Pork butt burnt ends on a black plate

It also can be served as a main dish at your next get-together, tailgate party, or just some weekend barbecueing fun. Pork butt burnt ends might become a great go-to for you as well.

If you’re looking for other barbeque recipes, check out some of those below.

Other Barbeque Recipes

Pork Butt Burnt Ends Recipe

Pork butt burnt ends

Pork Butt Burnt Ends Recipe

Want some burnt ends but don't want to use pork belly or a brisket? This is a perfectly tasty, smoky, sticky sweet solution! Pork butt burnt ends!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Barbeque
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pork, pork butt, pork shoulder, smoked
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 hours
Rest: 10 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 471kcal

Ingredients
 

The Pork

  • 8 lbs Boneless Pork Butt

The Rub

  • 1/2 cup Paprika
  • 1/4 cup Chili powder
  • 3 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 3 tbsp Black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp Onion powder
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Dried oregano
  • 2 tsp Dry mustard
  • 1 tsp Cayenne powder

The Glaze

  • 1/2 cup Hot honey
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Barbeque sauce Your preferred brand
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 4 tbsp Rub Leftover from above

Braising Liquid

  • 24 oz Pineapple juice
  • Apple juice enough to fill the disposable aluminum tin halfway coving the pork. Depends on the size. Perhaps two cups or so.
  • 4 tbsp Rub Leftover from above

Instructions

Preparing The Rub

  • Mix all the spices together in a bowl until they are well combined. Set aside

Preparing The Pork

  • Trim away most of the fat using a sharp knife.
  • Cut the pork butt into 1½ inch cubes. There will be bits and pieces that don’t conform. Trim them as well and discard them.
  • Place cubed pork into a large receptacle, a bowl or disposable aluminum pan.
  • Add mustard to cubed pork and mix to coat well (optional, but recommended)
  • Add rub liberally. Mix and toss pieces and contine to add rub until well covered.
  • Place the cubes onto baking cooling racks for easy removal or set aside (to place them on the grates directly when it's time).

Smoke

  • Get the smoker to 225 to 250 degrees F. Add your preferred wood for smoking. This recipe uses hickory and cherry woods.
  • Smoke the pork for approximately 1 hour or until the meat has good smoke color and bark is beginning to form. Internal temperature of the pork should be around 165-170 degrees F.
  • Remove the pork and increase the temperature of the smoker to 275 degrees F.

Braise

  • Place the pork in a disposable aluminum tin.
  • Add 12 ounces of pineapple juice
  • Add enough apple juice to come up the sides of the pork halfway.
  • Cover with foil and place back onto the smoker.
  • Braise for an hour to an hour and a half at 275 degrees F.
  • Check the pork for your preferred tenderness. You don't want it to be fork tender but close to it.
  • When the pork is at your preferred tenderness, pull from the smoker.
  • Drain the braising liquid.

The Glaze

  • Add half of the hot honey, your favorite bbq sauce, brown sugar, butter, and a few tablespoons of the rub. Mix with utensils or gloved hands.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining glaze ingredients until each piece has been sufficiently covered.
  • Place back onto the smoker which should still be at 325. Cook for 45 more minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so.

Serve

  • After 45 minutes, remove from the smoker and allow to rest for about 10-15 minutes. If you want them to really tack up, you can place them back onto the cooling racks and place back in for about 15 more minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

This recipe is easily cut in half. Just use half the ingredients. 

Nutrition

Calories: 471kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 1721mg | Potassium: 1110mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 3370IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 6mg

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