Spicy Bacon Burnt Ends

  • By: Jack Mancuso

Spicy Bacon Burnt Ends

In my experience, people love burnt ends once introduced to them. There’s a satisfying crunch combined with a delectable interior that lights up your taste buds. I’ve tried various burnt-end recipes, including

Each has its own allure and flavor profile. But what about bacon? We always say, “Everything’s better with bacon,” so why not spicy bacon burnt ends?

An Ideal Slab of Bacon

Shopping for bacon is similar to looking for any other type of burnt-end foundation. You want great marbling. Fat equals flavor. The key is ensuring you have a good balance of meat. Some bacon is just too fatty, and you’ll have a failed dish if you use it. 

You can get thick sliced bacon at your butcher for this, but I find a slab works better for cutting it into 1-inch cubes. If you want, you can use hickory or applewood smoked bacon if you can find a whole piece. 


  • 1 lb uncured, raw bacon
  • 1 tbsp Cuso’s Maple Bourbon BBQ Rub
  • 3 tbsp Crushed pineapple with juice
  • 3 tbsp Maple syrup
  • ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Hot sauce
  • ½ c Ketchup
  • ¼ c Molasses


  1. Preheat the smoker to 275F
  2. Cut the bacon into 1-inch cubes
  3. Toss them with Cuso’s Maple Bourbon Seasoning
  4. Make sure to coat them evenly all over
  5. Place a rack on a baking tray, and put the cubes fat-side up
  6. After an hour, check the internal temperature of the bacon
  7. As it smokes, put the remaining ingredients in a saucepan
  8. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes**
  9. When it’s 202F, remove it from the smoker and transfer the bacon to a disposable aluminum pan.
  10. Pour the sauce over the cubes in the pan
  11. Toss them for even coating
  12. Return the bacon to the smoker for 30 minutes
  13. Cool for 5 minutes before serving

 ** Tip: You can make this ahead of time and let the flavors marry in the refrigerator overnight. 

PitMaster’s Memo: Are Burnt Ends Really “Burnt?”

Normally, hearing the word “burnt” in any culinary setting isn’t a good sign. However, burnt ends are different. They just have a solid, sticky bark outside from the second cook. The sauce creates a great texture and adds another layer of flavor to the bacon. 



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