If you’re in the mood for a decadent meal, you’ve got to try my Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Belly Burnt Ends. Many believe that pork belly is the pig's most tender, flavorful part. Everyone has their own opinion, but no one can deny that this cut is lip-smackin’ good.
I seasoned my pork belly with my best-selling Heath Riles BBQ Honey Chipotle Rub and topped it with a brown sugar-inspired glaze. The result was a mouth-watering dish with just the right balance of sweet and savory. I like my pork belly “burnt end” style, which is just what the Traeger Timberline 1300 gave me.
Serve this recipe as an appetizer or pair it with one of my favorite side dishes for a complete meal. Either way, you’ll be thinking about this pork for days!
If you’ve never cooked pork belly before, you’re in for a fun experience. This cut of pork does best cooked low and slow on the Traeger Timberline 1300, but you can speed up the process by cubing the meat. You’ll need to set aside 3-3 ½ hours for this recipe.
If you can grill ribs, you can easily make Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Belly Burnt Ends. Follow my simple tutorial, and you’ll have a great result every time. Once you try this recipe, it’ll be on repeat!
A main dish that requires just 6 ingredients? I’m in! You probably have most of these items in your kitchen already. If not, here’s what you need to add to your shopping list.
- Heath Riles BBQ Honey Chipotle Rub. This world-famous rub features high-quality chipotle peppers, garlic, honey, and paprika. It’s the perfect infusion of sweetness with just a little heat on the back end. This rub is mild enough that even children enjoy it. It’s great on pork, chicken, beef, and anything else that could use a little spice.
- Pork Belly. If you’ve been around awhile, you know I love Cheshire Pork! Everything I purchase from this brand is high-quality and turns out great. If you don't want to mess with a lot of trimming, this brand is worth a shot. My pork belly was about 8 pounds.
- Heath Riles BBQ Sweet BBQ Sauce. I created this product because I wanted a high-quality BBQ sauce that pairs well with anything. It took me 10 years to perfect this sauce, and it was worth every step. I use it on ribs, pork belly, baked beans, burgers, meatloaf, and chicken. I know you’ll love it just as much as I do.
- Butter. This ingredient is a key ingredient in my glaze. It thickens the sauce and provides it with a silky-smooth texture. Plus, it gives the pork a gorgeous color.
- Bourbon. A hint of the real deal gives my Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Belly Burnt Ends an authentic flair. I used Blue Note Bourbon, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
- Brown sugar. A hint of brown sugar sweetens the glaze and gives it a sticky-sweet texture. I used light brown sugar to keep the flavor mild.
The Smoker Setup
Here’s the main equipment I used for this cook. You can find more of my favorite grilling accessories in the Equipment and Tools section.
- Pellet grill/smoker. I used a Traeger Timberline 1300 for these burnt ends. I love pellet grills because you can use them to grill or smoke. This pit has many incredible features, including a pellet sensor, super-smoke button, and an included probe. If you like bells and whistles, you’ll love this roomy setup.
- Pellets. For this cook, I used Traeger Cherry Hardwood Pellets. The cherry gave the pork belly a fabulous hint of fruity goodness without altering the natural flavors. I love these high-quality pellets! They provide a great smoke every time.
The Process for Making Easy Pulled Pork
You can find a detailed demonstration of this recipe in the video and recipe card near the bottom of this post. Here’s a summary of how I pulled these delicious burnt ends together.
- Prep the Traeger. I stoked the Traeger Timberline 1300 with Traeger Cherry Hardwood Pellets, then fired it up to 275℉.
- Cube and season the pork belly. I cut the pork belly into strips, then cubed it into 1 ½ inch pieces. I placed the pork belly cubes in a heavy-duty aluminum foil pan, drizzled them with olive oil, and tossed the meat to coat. To finish the process, I seasoned the cubes generously with Heath Riles BBQ Honey Chipotle Rub. I worked the rub into the meat, ensuring every piece was coated evenly.
- Cook the meat. I placed the pork belly pieces, fat side up, on two baking racks. I spaced the meat evenly so the heat would have room to circulate. I placed the baking racks on the grill and let the meat cook until it hit 200℉ and was probe tender. My pork belly had a cooking time of about 2 ½ hours.
- Make the glaze. I removed the pork belly cubes from the Traeger Timberline 1300 and placed them in the heavy-duty aluminum foil pan. I put Heath Riles BBQ Sweet BBQ Sauce, butter, bourbon, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. I let the mixture warm on the stove until it was melted and homogenous, then poured it over the pork.
- Finish and serve. I tossed the pork belly in the glaze and set the pan back on the pit for 30 minutes. I removed the meat from the Traeger Timberline 1300 and let it cool on a plate before digging in.
The pork belly came off the pit with a beautiful golden color. The bourbon glaze let the richness of the pork shine through. Every bite was infused with bourbon, chipotle, and honey. This is a recipe no one will forget!
Serving Suggestions for Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Belly Burnt Ends
You can serve my Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Belly Burnt Ends on their own or add one of these side dishes.
- Brisket Potato Bombs. A baked potato is a filling side dish that pairs well with any meat. These potato bombs take a simple side to the next level! They’re full of brisket, cheese, sour cream, and onions.
- Smoked Brisket Baked Beans. These baked beans are totally different than canned varieties. They can cook right alongside the pork belly! You can’t beat the flavor of my baked beans. I guarantee you’ll say goodbye to canned beans for good!
Storing Leftover Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Belly Burnt Ends
If you have leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze them for up to 6 months.
Equipment and Tools
Traeger Timberline 1300, Traeger Cherry Hardwood Pellets, disposable cutting board, 1 or 2 half-size deep aluminum pans, wire cooling racks, olive oil dispenser, ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE, Nechtik BBQ Gloves, Home-Complete cast iron platter.