Create Maple Pork Belly Burnt Ends
How do I love burnt ends? Let me count the ways!
And how many ways can I make them?
Well, let’s just that if you haven’t yet read my blog on pork belly burnt ends, I wouldn’t read it on an empty stomach.
Recently, I treated myself to a brisket burnt end challenge. I wanted to see if the burnt ends from the flat were as delicious as from the point. I separated the point from the flat, smoked, sliced, then sauced them to make burnt ends. It was close, but I feel the point is still the champ.
My latest attempt at burnt ends is inspired by the fall flavors of New England. I invited my family over to watch football, and you can’t watch football without food. My wife planned the appetizers, but I wanted to contribute an appetizer from the grill. I also wanted something easy to make since I was preparing dinner. My maple burnt ends were created by swapping out the honey and brown sugar for maple syrup and maple sugar.
Here is how it all came together.
Maple Pork Belly Burnt Ends
I started by heating up my Big Green Egg XL to 275 degrees. I added maple chucks to create wood smoke and keep with the maple theme. While the smoker was heating up, I cut up the pork belly into 1.5-inch pieces. I liberally seasoned them with my homemade barbecue rub, or you can use Steven’s Kansas City rub.
I then placed the pork belly pieces in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. I thought the skillet might speed up the cooking process since it retains heat so well and allow me to transport the burnt ends on and off the smoker.
The burnt ends cooked for 2 hours and started to develop a crispy exterior, and the fat was rendering in the skillet. I then removed the skillet from the smoker, placed the burnt ends in a bowl, coated them with pure maple syrup, and sprinkled maple sugar over the top. I drained some of the fat out of the skillet and removed any crusty bits. I returned the burnt ends to the skillet and placed them on the smoker for an additional hour.
The maple syrup and the wood smoke created a dark mahogany color. The burnt ends had a crusty caramelized exterior due to the maple syrup and sugar. The maple burnt ends had a sweet and smoky flavor from the wood smoke and the maple syrup and sugar. The burnt ends had a luscious mouth feel due to the rendered fat. The maple flavor comes through and is an ideal pair for the pork belly.
I sliced the maple burnt ends in half to make them bite-sized and perfect for an appetizer. I also discovered a smoke ring when I sliced the burnt ends. I believe the cast iron skillet shortened the cooking time since the last time I made pork belly burnt ends, the total cooking time was closer to 5 hours.
If you are looking for an easy and delicious appetizer to make, try my maple burnt ends, and you will not be disappointed. Due to the sweet maple flavor, I think these burnt ends could be incorporated into breakfast or dessert.