Maple Bourbon Crunchy Pork Belly Burnt Ends

  • By: Jack Mancuso

Maple Bourbon Crunchy Pork Belly Burnt Ends - Cuso Cuts

This maple bourbon crunchy pork belly burnt ends recipe developed from two things. First, my new Maple-Bourbon BBQ Rub makes pork sing. Second, I love the crisp texture of chicharron. You will have soft on one side and crunchy on the other.  You need a little extra time in prep and cooking, but it’s really worth it for such a succulent bite. 

Maple Bourbon Crunchy Pork Belly Burnt Ends Ingredients

Maple Bourbon Crunchy Pork Belly Burnt Ends Instructions

  1. Lay out the pork belly fat side up
  2. Poke holes all over the fat side
  3. Cover with an even layer of salt
  4. Let it sit for 24 hours in the refrigerator
  5. The next day, carefully scrape off the salt (that fat is now dried out and ready to be crisped).
  6. Finish cleaning off the salt with a paper towel (this step is essential. Otherwise, your results will be very salty)
  7. Flip the pork belly over (meat side up)
  8. Carefully cut 2x2” squares using a good kitchen knife without going through the fat (you want to keep it whole, like a mat). 
  9. Sprinkle Cuso’s Maple Bourbon BBQ Rub  all over the meat, getting into the cracks as evenly as possible
  10. Smoke at 250 for 4 hours
  11. Remove and transfer to a baking sheet
  12. Put beer bacon barbecue sauce on the meat side
  13. Brush red wine vinegar over the top of the skin
  14. Cook at 475 until the skin bubbles
  15. Cut and serve
  16. Put out a little extra barbecue sauce so guests can apply more if they wish

PitMasters Memo: What is a Finishing Sauce?

As the name implies, a finishing sauce goes on your meat in the last cooking moments. There are many varieties depending on your recipe. Here, the beer and bacon match the pork belly perfectly. 

What happens with finishing sauce is it gives you another layer of flavor. It does not, however, overpower it. There’s a sense of “gourmet” about it.

By far, the most common finishing sauce in the US is barbecue. It’s familiar. People have tasted lots of different brands, finding what they like. Many barbecue sauces have sweet elements, so you don’t want them going on first. It will burn. So, we put it on at about 5-10 minutes before the end! Now you have caramelized sauce and broiled skin. The aroma entices. 


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From the Bar

Cola with a twist of orange

Hard Cider

Grenache wine

Pinot noir

Roasty stout

  • Michael: you have a lot of options available for burnt ends. Maple is an obvious choice, but try apple and cherry, too (or have some fun and mix them together!)

    Team Cuso on
  • Bob. Make sure you add the barbecue sauce on the meat side before turning it over. Follow with vinegar on the fat every 15 minutes or so until the fat is bubbly. The barbecue sauce should protect your meat.

    Team Cuso on
  • Erik yes! Follow the same preparation process and preheat the oven to 300F. Bake for two hours. Remove it from the oven and put the barbecue sauce on it. Return it to the oven, basting twice more over the next hour. If you want it crunchier, turn on the broiler but watch it closely as they can burn fast.

    Team Cuso on
  • You can spray it every 30-45 minutes, but make sure you get that first treatment

    Team Cuso on
  • I don’t have a smoker. Can I use a grill for the pork belly?

    Erik on
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