Burnt ends, those wonderfully delectable morsels of goodness that are browned perfectly on the outside and soft and moist on the inside are often made from the fatty end of the brisket called the point but I discovered a good while back that they can also be made from pork in much the same way.
In the past I have cooked a whole pork butt to about 170°F then cubed it up for pork burnt ends. In this recipe, I found some pork country style ribs on sale and used those instead. A much shorter process with all of the wonderful deliciousness makes these a win-win situation.
*Most country style ribs are cut from pork butt but I have seen it cut from pork loin and other leaner cuts of meat. Ask the butcher to make sure it is cut from pork butt before purchasing.
Ok, they don't actually have to be perfect cubes. Pieces, whether square or oblong that are about 1 inch wide will work perfectly.
There's two ways you can go about adding the rub:
Bag Method (best if you want to season them the night before)
- Place all of the pieces into a bag
- Add 2-3 TBS of vegetable oil and ¼ cup of rub to the bag
- Seal bag and shake, roll, massage bag to coat the pieces of meat
- Place in fridge until ready to use
Fast Method (the method I used)
Place the meat onto a cooling rack or Bradley rack in a single layer making sure to leave a little space between each one so the smoke and heat can get to them.
Spray top and sides with vegetable oil
Sprinkle Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) onto meat
If you used the bag method, remove the meat from the fridge and place the pieces onto a cooling rack or Bradley rack in a single layer making sure to leave a little space between each one so the smoke and heat can get to them.
Setup your smoker for cooking at about 225°F with pecan smoke or other favorite smoking wood.
If your smoker has a water pan, use it.
Once the smoker is ready, place the racks of meat into the smoker and let them cook until they reach about 160°F.
This will take 3-4 hours depending on how cold the meat is when it goes in and how well the smoker maintains the goal temperature.
During this time, the most important thing is the smoke flavor so keep a light smoke going constantly.
When the meat reaches about 160°F it is time to start creating the delicious bark on the outside of the pork burnt ends.
Place all of the pieces of meat into foil pans.
Keep it to a single layer rather than piling it on top of each other. You may need to use multiple pans.
Add sauce to the top of the meat and stir it around. This is for flavor, bark creation and to help the rub to stick.
Sprinkle my rub (purchase recipes here) generously to the top of the meat and once again stir the meat to coat well.
I have had a few people over the years and very recently tell me that they used mustard instead of ketchup in my barbecue sauce recipe (purchase recipes here). I decided to try it on these and while I may tweak it some before releasing it officially, it was very, very good and I don't think you'll be disappointed if you decide to try it.
I tried it on half of the pork burnt ends so I could compare it to my tomato based barbecue sauce.
I still think I like the tomato based better on the pork burnt ends but both were very good and it was a very high bar to raise.
To make the mustard sauce once you have ordered my barbecue sauce recipe (purchase recipes here), simply replace the ketchup with mustard and add about ¼ cup honey from Gold Bee Organics to cut the “tang” a little.
Place the pans of meat into the smoker and continue to keep the smoke and heat going as before for 1-2 more hours.
If you have a smoker that is capable of higher temperatures, bark can be best achieved at 275°F or even higher. The grill will also work for this.
The meat will need to be stirred every 30 minutes or so. More often at higher temperatures.
When the meat reaches 185°F and has a nice bark formation all over, it is done and ready to eat.
Burnt ends are great appetizers eaten with a toothpick or a pile of burnt ends next to mashed potatoes and barbecue beans is a real crowd pleaser.
If you want to see a couple of other pork burnt end recipes, check out the following links:
How to monitor temperature when it's cold outside or you just don't want to get out of your chair
Use a remote digital probe meat thermometer such as the Maverick ET-733 to monitor the temperature while it cooks. The sending unit stays with the smoker and has room for 2 probes. The receiver goes in your pocket, on your belt or on your bedside table so you'll always know what's going on at the smoker. This thing saves me a lot of time and unnecessary walking.
A Thermapen is also a great tool to have in your pocket for making quick checks or for when you need to check multiple items very quickly. This thermometer reads in about 2-3 seconds (it's fast) and the newest model is waterproof, orients the readout based on how you are holding it and automatically awakes when you pick it up. Very nice indeed and Christmas is just around the corner. Now is the time to ask for it ;-)
How about cooking the pork country style ribs whole then cutting them up at 160-170°F ?
This can definitely be done with great results and is how I did it the previous time. Cutting them up first is my attempt for more smoke flavor in each piece and to try and get them done just a little faster. Do what is convenient for you and it will still be great.