Traeger Pork Belly Burnt Ends – Recipe and Cooking Guide

Hey Smokers and welcome to my post where we will run through my Traeger pork belly burnt ends recipe and cooking guide. As you may or may not know, this site is all about cooking on my Traeger Pro 22 Pellet Smoker and seeing where we can take things. And today, that is into the land of the burnt end!

Traeger Pork Belly Burnt Ends - Header

Now, when it comes to burnt ends, there is always a debate on which is best. In one camp, it is the OG Beef Brisket burnt ends. And in the other, Pork Belly. Now, I personally love both so today, it is the pork belly option. Let’s get into it all below:

Check out my: Traeger Pork Ribs Burnt Ends Recipe and Cooking Guide

Traeger Pork Belly Burnt Ends: What You’ll Need

Ok, so below is what I used to cook me some pork belly burnt ends on the smoker:


  • 3 to 4 pounds (about 1.5kg) of pork belly, skin removed
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ rub
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup your favorite BBQ sauce – I used Baby Rays this time
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Note: There are plenty of recipes out there for some good home made BBQ sauce for burnt ends. For ease of cooking, I have chosen to use a commercial BBQ sauce in this instance to see how it turns out but will do another video soon with some home made stuff as well.

Traeger Pork Belly Burnt Ends - pork belly cut

Paul’s rub (the one I used)

  • Onion powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chili Powder (Cayenne if you like it extra spicy)
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Raw brown sugar

I use a around 2 to 3 tbs of each then around a half cup of sugar. Add more or less of whatever suits you. If you don’t like spice, leave the chili out.


  • Pellet smoker
  • Cake grill tray or similar (optional)
  • Aluminum tray and foil
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife (that can cut through pork belly)

The Cooking Process

This is what I did and when:

1. Preheat Your Pellet Grill

Start by preheating your pellet grill to a medium-high heat, around 250°F (121°C). As we are not looking to pull the meat at then end of the cook, this temperature is ideal for cooking burnt ends slow enough to absorb some smoke without needing to break down fats too much etc.

Use pellets good for Pork such as Hickory, Cherry or Apple. As this is quite a sweet dish by design I am using Apple this time.

2. Prepare your Pork Belly

As the smoker is pre-heating, prepare the pork belly as follows:

  1. Trim the Pork Belly: Like you would with a pork butt or pork shoulder, start by trimming any excess fat off the pork belly. You want a nice balance of meat and fat for the best texture.
  2. Cut into Cubes: Cut the pork belly into 1.5-inch cubes. This size allows for enough surface area to get a good amount of smoke and seasoning on each piece.
  3. Season: Place the pork belly cubes in a large bowl. Add the BBQ rub and brown sugar, then toss until each piece is evenly coated.

3. Smoke the Pork Belly

Spread the pork belly cubes out on a cake tray or directly onto the smoker’s grill grate, ensuring they’re not touching so the smoke can circulate around each piece.

Smoke for about 2 to 3 hours, or until the pork belly cubes have a deep mahogany color and have rendered some of their fat.

My cook took almost 2.5 hours at 121°C to reach this point

Traeger Pork Belly Burnt Ends - pork belly in smoker

4. Braise

Braising is where we start to turn our pork belly into those candy flavored cubes of goodness that we all love here. Start by mixing your apple juice and honey into a bowl or cup and then have a look at your pork. You will need your butter here as well.

Once you are happy with the look and color of your pork belly pieces, transfer them to the disposable aluminum baking pan and pour your apple juice and honey mixture over it. Then add the butter, distributing it evenly among the cubes and cover the tray tightly with aluminum foil.

Increase the smoker temperature to 275°F (135°C), return the pan to the smoker and then cook for another 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the pork belly cubes are tender.

5. Glaze

again, once you are happy with the tenderness of your pork pieces, carefully remove the foil and drain off most of the liquid, leaving a little at the bottom to mix with the BBQ sauce.

Then pour your BBQ sauce over the pork belly cubes and gently mix to coat all the pieces. Then return the pan to the smoker, uncovered, and cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, or until the sauce is sticky and caramelized.

6. Rest and Serve

As always, once they are cooked, let the pork belly burnt ends rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the sauce to set a bit and makes them less messy to eat.

Serve the pork belly burnt ends as an appetizer or as part of a meal.

Traeger Pork Belly Burnt Ends - pork belly glazed

Tips for Perfect Pellet Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends

In my experience, the following tips are crucial in the effort for some perfect pork belly burnt ends:

  • Keep an eye on the smoker’s temperature to ensure it stays consistent.
  • Feel free to customize the BBQ sauce by mixing in flavors you love, such as adding a bit of heat with hot sauce or a smoky element with liquid smoke.
  • Pork belly burnt ends are rich, so consider serving them as part of a larger meal with some lighter sides to balance the flavors.


Can I Use Any Type of Pellets for Smoking Pork Belly Burnt Ends

es, you can use various types of wood pellets for cooking beef ribs on a smoker, but the choice of pellets can significantly influence the flavor profile of the finished dish. Different woods impart different flavors, so it’s worth experimenting to find your preference. Apple and cherry wood pellets offer a sweeter, more subtle smoke that complements the natural flavors and sweetness of the meat without overpowering it. Ultimately, the best type of pellets for cooking burgers depends on your personal taste preferences.

Do You Need To Add BBQ Sauce to Burnt Ends

Nope, you can absolutely just enjoy your burnt ends after the braising stage without the glaze needed. They are not as sweet and sticky, but definitely still delicious!


So there you have it, my recipe and cooking guide for some Traeger pork belly burnt ends action. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below. I would also love to hear of your own experiences, preferences or suggestions here as well.

Are there any other products you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.

Until next time

Have fun and get smoking!


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