Pork Belly Burnt Ends

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Go next level with Mangalitsa pork!

This BBQ delicacy from pork is fantastic, regardless of which type of pig it is made of. However, making it from Mangalitsa pig takes it to next level. Seriously – next level! Mangalitza is called the ”Kobe of pork” for a good reason. I have never seen any other breed of pork having such a marbled meat and fat melting in such low temperatures. It is not cheap, but so is not Kobe beef. When you want to go next level, you go Mangalitsa. You can read more about Mangalitsa breed from my previous article.

Pork belly burnt ends is cubed, rubbed, smoked and glazed succulent meat candy. It is easy to cook and easy to impress your friends with. And before going any further, let us make one thing very clear, they are NOT burnt. There is a story behind the name, but I will not go into that in this article.

I have cooked this BBQ dish few times before, but today my pork belly was something else. I got 5lb (2,25kg) skinless Mangalitsa pork belly directly from the local producer.

Simplified process goes like this:

  1. Cut your pork belly into cubes. Roughly 1 ½ inches (4cm) / side.
  2. Rub well
  3. Place loosely on tray
  4. Smoke it in 230°F (110°C) for three hours. Apple wood or cherry smokes well.
  5. Place into aluminum pan
  6. Pour on some honey, brown sugar and butter
  7. Cover with foil and cook another 2 hrs
  8. Put on BBQ sauce and glaze for 30 minutes
  9. Enjoy

To be more specific, follow this:

If you have pork belly with skin on, you need to decide if you want to remove it or not. Some pitmasters like their burnt ends crispy and they leave the skin on. I don’t, so I remove it.

Cut the whole belly in even size cubes. Size of 1 ½ inches (4cm) / side is fine but this is not exact science. Well, BBQ is not exact science for me. Little bit of anarchy is only good.

Choose your favorite BBQ rub and season cubes all over.

Then place them on a steel tray. You can also pick cubes one by one and put them directly on the grill grate, but it is easier to maneuver with a mesh.

This dish is BBQ classic, so cook them low and slow. Smoke in 230°F (110°C) in any good smoker. I use my Monolith kamado which is excellent keeping the temperatures still.

After three hours of smoking, take cubes out and put them into aluminum pan.

Slice few pieces of butter and place them evenly among pork cubes. Pour honey and sprinkle brown sugar all over. Then cover with aluminum foil and put back into smoker for two hours. Now you don’t need smoke anymore…

After two hours take cubes out from the smoker. I use separate cooking pan for glazing but you can also glaze the cubes in the aluminum pan. Pour your favorite sweet BBQ sauce all over the cubes and glaze on medium heat.

It will take some 30 minutes depending on your grill temperature. When cubes start to look sticky and caramellized, they are ready!

Pork belly burnt ends is a side dish for me. I might make them to accompany burgers or I might just eat them as such while cooking. Mangalitsa pork adds flavor and juiciness. Easily dissolving fat is just remarkable and the meat between so tender.

I know Mangalitsa pork is not available in every butcher’s shop. Still, it is worth of hunting and paying some extra. After all, fat is flavor.

And flavor we want!

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