The first step in making pork burnt ends is determining whether you want to use a whole pork butt, a half pork butt or country style ribs (usually from pork butt).
As you can see, both will work just fine but the country style ribs will get done quicker since they are cut up into pieces that are less thick.
Apply mustard to help the rub to stick. It won't make the pork burnt ends taste like mustard so there's nothing to worry about there.
Sprinkle my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) all over the top sides and bottom of the meat. Make sure to get it down in all of the nooks and crannies.
Now you can relax for about 20-30 minutes while the rub does it's magic on the meat. The little bit of salt in my rub will pull some of the juices to the surface. There the meat juices, mustard and rub will mix together and create a very nice paste.
Wait for it..
The meat is now ready to go into the smoker. You will notice in the images above, that I placed it (as usual) into racks for super easy transport to and from the smoker.
Lately I've also been using a stainless steel rack and pan (instead of just a rack) for keeping the smoker cleaner. The ones I have are stainless steel and available on Amazon for quick delivery.
For even less cleanup, wrap the bottom of the pan in foil and when you're done cooking, just place the rack in the dishwasher. Easy peasy!
Setup your smoker for cooking at about 225-240°F.
If your smoker uses a water pan, use it.
The water pan serves 3 main purposes:
- Creates a barrier between the heat and the meat
- It moisturizes the air and moist air does not dry out the meat as fast as dry air does.
- The hot steam does a great job of keeping the heat in the smoker at a consistent temperature
Preheat the smoker to your goal temperature and when it is holding steady, you are ready to smoke.
Place the pork directly on the grate or use the racks and set them directly on the grate.
I used a mixture of mesquite chunks with apple chips for these pork burnt ends and the flavor was out of this world.
The idea in this first step is to get the meat to 170°F.
For the pulled pork roast, this will take about 7 hours. If you are using the country style ribs cut from a pork butt, you are looking at about 4-5 hours tops.
Once they reach this magical temperature, remove them from the smoker and bring them into the house.
Let them cool just a bit since you don't want to lose all that precious juice that's on the inside. By letting them cool down, the juices will settle down a bit and when you cut into them, you want have juices running out all over the plate.
I let mine cool for about 30 minutes and then cut them into cubes about 1-inch by 1-inch.
- 1 stick (¼ lb) real butter
- 1 TBS of your favorite hot sauce or to taste. (I used Habanero Tabasco®)
Melt butter in microwave or on stove top. Add hot sauce and stir well.
Use an injector, found in most grocery stores, big box stores and on Amazon. Fill the injector with the spicy butter then push the injector needle into the meat so that the hole(s), where the fluid come out, are inside the meat.
Press the plunger to force the spicy butter into the meat and continue on each piece until you see butter running out.
Tip: perform this injection process inside of a gallon sized zip-top bag to prevent an accidental geyser that shoots melted butter halfway across the kitchen.
Once all of the pieces have been injected, place them into a foil pan and sprinkle on more rub depending on how much bark you want. Lots of rub = lots of bark.
The pork burnt ends (to be) are ready to go back into the smoker.
The meat is now inside of a foil pan and coated with more of my rub so I recommend that you keep the smoke going even if you are using an electric, gas or charcoal smoker to further enhance the smoky flavor.
Smoke the pork burnt ends, stirring every 30 minutes or so for an additional 2 hours or until they get as tender as you like them. You can take the meat all the way up to 200°F if you want to and they will be fall apart tender with a nice “barky” exterior.
Tip: To get these done even faster, finish them on a very hot grill, stirring constantly. They will be done in 30 minutes or less and oh so good!
There are endless ways to serve these, but here's a few that comes to mind:
- Stick a toothpick in each one and make an appetizer out of them
- Pile them on a french bun for a pork burnt end poboy
- Top a pile of lettuce and veggies with some pork burnt ends for the ultimate BBQ salad