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How to Make Pork Butt Burnt Ends
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Burnt ends are something of a legend and I have not met too many folks who will turn them away. If you have not tried them then you are missing out.
So, what are burnt ends? I thought you’d never ask!
Smoke a whole packer brisket and you get lots of wonderful slices from that flat end but once you get to that point end all you’re left with is lots of fatty meat which, at first glance, doesn’t seem to be much good for anything.
Take that fatty point end and cube it up into pieces that are about 1 inch by 1 inch. Place the pieces in a foil pan with a little sauce and more rub and cook it for an hour or two longer and you end up with something that is is nice and crispy on the outside while soft, delicious and amazingly delectable on the inside.
Try this and you’ll be saying, “Burnt ends.. where have you been all my life!”
As is my style, I just had to stretch the parameters and see if you could also make these wonderful things from a pork butt which is also somewhat fatty and handles the longer cooking times really well.
In this newsletter I show you how to make pork butt burnt ends and I have to tell you that, just like brisket burnt ends, they are extremely wonderful and a must-try item for your next smoking weekend!
If you are interested in brisket burnt ends then Go HERE to read about it otherwise, keep reading below for how to make pork butt burnt ends.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 6-8 hours + 2 hours
- Smoker Temp: 250 F
- Meat Finish Temp: 170 F
- Recommended Wood: Hickory/Apple Mix
- 7-8 lb Pork butt (Boston butt)
- Worcestershire sauce (or yellow mustard)
- Jeff’s rub and sauce
- Large foil pan
Lay the pork butt in a pan to contain the mess then douse it with Worcestershire sauce or you can use regular yellow mustard if that suits your fancy. it’s just to help the rub stick to the meat a little better.
Apply rub generously to the top and sides of the pork butt.
Set your smoker up for cooking at about 250 degrees with a mixture of hickory and apple wood if you have it available.
Once the smoker is maintaining a steady temperature, it is ready for the pork butt to go on.
If your smoker has a water pan, be sure to use it.
Place the pork butt directly on the smoker grate fat side down and leave it alone until it reaches 170 degrees which should normally take about 6-8 hours depending on your smoker temperature.
Keeping an eye on the temperature is paramount. Be sure to use a super-fast Thermapen or a good digital probe meat thermometer such as the Maverick ET-732 to make sure you know exactly what the temperature of the meat is while it is cooking.
Once the pork butt reaches 170 degrees, remove it from the smoker and place it on a large cutting board.
At this point in the game, the pork butt is still firm enough to cut into pieces without it falling apart or trying to shred.
Remove or cut the bone away from the pork butt then cut the pork butt into cubes that are 1 inch by 1 inch (approximately) and place them in a foil pan.
Add about 1 cup of sauce to the top of the cubed meat and stir it around to coat all of the pieces.
Add about 1 cup of my rub and stir it around once again to coat all of the meat.
Place the pan of cubed meat into the smoker and leave it for about an hour.
The burnt ends are finished when they are as dark and charred as you like them. I usually wait about an hour and sometimes 2 hours just depending on how big of a hurry I am in.
About every hour, grab one and toss it in your mouth. If it tastes heavenly and you want to go ahead and serve them then go for it.
You can easily speed up this process by doing this on the grill at a much higher temperature. Stir often to keep them from burning too much on the bottom.
The cool thing about pork butt burnt ends that YOU make yourself is that you can get them just as dark or charred as you like- it’s totally up to you. I like mine just slightly charred while I have friends who want them nearly black.
You really can have them YOUR way;-)
I love burnt ends as a main entree of as a side item to ribs, chicken or whatever else you are cooking.
You can also make a mean sub or poboy with burnt ends.. try it and let me know how it goes for you!
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A few questions. My store only had a 3lb Boston butt roast with no bone. Could I use that?
Jennie, sounds like that might be a half boneless pork butt. It will cook up fine but will likely get done in less time. Keep an eye on the recommended temperatures and you’ll be just fine.
Jeff, being from St Louis, (where butts are sliced into steaks), you can cut the cooking time by having a butt sliced into 3/4 to 1 inch steaks. Do everything you prescribe except simply smoke the steaks for about an hour and then sear them over the coals about 15 minutes per side. Finally add a coating of sauce to caramelize them with some char, Then cut into cubes and continue with your recipe.
Would you recommend cutting the fat cap away before slicing into cubes, or will it render down on its own during the 6-8 hour cook?
A lot of it will render down but not all of it.. if you don’t want the extra fat you can definitely remove it before you slice them up but it adds a LOT to the flavor in my opinion and sometimes you just need to eat the fat and enjoy life– not all the time– just occasionally and then, what your doctor doesn’t know, won’t hurt him/her ;-)
I made the boston butt burnt ends for a birthday party last weekend. In attendance was a friend and veteran smoker so the pressure was on to turn out a great product. I used your rub and sauce and knocked it out of the park. He loved them and even his wife came up to me and said, “Don’t tell my husband but this BBQ is some of the best I’ve had”. And my wife told me that every butt I do from now on needs to be done like that. I feel like the BBQ king on the street now. Thanks for all you do!
jeff your help has turned out some fantasked recipies that realy please all of my smoke gobblens they can’t get their fill. When my feet heal i can smoke to my harts content.
I purchased your recipes a few years ago and have enjoyed using them every time I smoke something. I have noticed that there is a new Texas recipe offered to those of us that have bought your original. Could you please forward this to me. I would love to try it.
Jeff, after you take the meat off the grill and cut it into 1″ cubes, then sauce and rub, do you cover the pan inside the smoker or leave it uncovered for the last hour or two?
Nevermind, I tried this recipe over the weekend. All went well, except I should say that second dose of rub (after the initial smoke) is too much. The pork tasted awesome when I was cutting it up into 1″ cubes, but I wish I had only coated them in sauce before putting them back in the smoker (uncovered). Once they were done, all I could really taste was the rub :( So while this recipe is def worth trying, I will suggest to only use the initial layer of rub.
When I’m in the tampa area I eat at a steak house that uses citrus wood to cook there steaks, they are yummo. my question is what’s your opinion of smoking meat with this wood??
Your recipe says to add 1 cup of the sauce but there is no mention of any type of sauce. Is this the Worcestershire sauce?
This is my barbecue sauce which is a recipe that I sell to support the website and it is designed to go really well with my rub. You can use another sweet and spicy, ketchup-based barbecue sauce if you so desire.
You can see more about my rub and sauce recipes at https://www.smoking-meat.com/order.
I did two pork butt burnt ends for a surprise party for my dad a few weeks ago. I may have found a new favorite thing to smoke! They were awesome! Everyone raved over them. I used your rub and sauce recipes and made sure there was just taste of heat in the sauce. Amazing!!
Ok I will check with my IT dept today. If that doesn’t work I will give my personal email.
Thank you for your help.
Please contact me. I have not received my recipe I purchased 2 Saturday’s ago. I have not heard from you on this. Please contact me.
I Have not received my recipe I purchased 2 Saturday’s ago. I have not heard from you on this. Please contact me.
I Have not received my recipe I purchased 2 Saturday’s ago. I have not heard from you on this.
I’m sorry you’re having difficulty with the order/download process. I’ve actually emailed your files to you three times, and I’m not sure what the problem is. Twice from my main business account and one time from my personal email account. I’m not sure what to do at this point, other than refund your money, since you don’t seem to be receiving any of my communications. Please check your spam filters or junk folders to see if the emails have ended up there by mistake. It’s also possible that if you are using a work email address, that the email is being blocked somehow. If you could provide me with a secondary (personal) email, I’ll be happy to try again.
Hopefully you receive this reply!
I cooked the pork butt burnt ends according to your recipe and technique(with one exception). It took all day, but it was worth it. I have never done burnt ends before – these were so tasty and moist. We’ll definitely do this again and again.
The exception was this: after smokin’ for almost 7 hours – when we hit 170* I T – I took the butt inside and let it rest for an hour before removing the bone. I did not want the juice to escape by slicing it right away. After removing the bone, I cut the butt into two pieces. One I cut into cubes for the burnt ends, the other I put in the fridge to cool down before slicing for sammies.
I finished the burnt ends over indirect heat on the 4 burner gasser because it was gettin’ close to dark and they were fantastic.
Tried this over the weekend and it was outstanding. Used your rub on it and was a hit at the party. Can’t wait to try it again.
Do you add enough wood to smoke for the entire 6-8 hours or just for the first few?
I actually cooked these in my Meadow Creek wood smoker so I started with lump charcoal then added a stick of wood about every hour.
If you are doing them in a charcoal or say propane/electric smoker, I recommend keeping the smoke going the entire time the butt is cooking unless you decide to wrap it at some point. (No smoke is needed while it is wrapped.) Once it is unwrapped, cut into pieces and placed in a pan, I recommend adding more wood for smoke at that point and keeping the smoke going until they are finished and ready to eat.
Every smoker is different in how long the wood will last but when the smoke slows down or stop completely, add more to keep it going. This can be anywhere from every 20 minutes to every 2 hours just depending on the type and brand of your smoker.
Smoke the pork butt fat side down? Is that accurate, Jeff? I’ve always done it fat up…but, haven’t done burnt ends.
I have always done fat side up as well but over the last year I have been breaking protocol and doing briskets and pork butts fat side. They still turn out as good as they ever did and my layer of rub is undisturbed so I’m a little happier about it personally.
I’m not about conventional wisdom but I’m also not about debunking anything just for the fun of it. I just like to see what works best for me and I’m happy to share my results. I recommend that others take that same approach.
I am not saying I will never do anything fat side up ever again.. what I AM saying is that I dont’ think it matters nearly as much as we’ve always thought it did.
Okay, Jeff. I’ll give it a try.
Looking at this recipe it sounds amazing. Has anyone ever smoked the but and divided the pork but into half burnt ends and half pulled pork. If so how did you do it without drying out the other half for pulled pork.
I haven’t done this but here’s how I would do it, I would cook the entire pork butt as usual until it reaches 170°F. At that point I would remove it from the smoker, cut it in half and then put one half back in the smoker.
The remaining half would be cut up for pork burnt ends per the recipe.
The half that you make into pulled pork has lots of fat in it and should not dry out. If you are worried about it, you can wrap it in foil at that point and finish it that way to hold in some moisture. Be sure to cook it to 200-205°F so it is super tender and easy to pull apart.
I just purchased a Treger Pellet Smoke – Texas model. Has anyone had any experience with one of these smokers? I’ve been smoking meat for years and use Jeff’s rub and sauce on my small upright waterpan smoker and I”m hoping to do more meat at once with my new Treger. I hope I made a good choice.
Traegers are supposed to be awesome! I’m sure you’ll be happy with it. I actually use Traeger pellets in my Masterbuilt electric.