Old Arthur's Pork Belly Burnt Ends


This recipe appears in my book "Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue." It comes courtesy of the Old Arthur Barbecue Sauce Company which currently sells a number of barbecue sauce and spice rubs product based on recipes of Old Arthur Watts who learned to barbecue while enslaved. Pork belly burnt ends are a riff on the traditional burnt ends made from beef brisket. This recipe calls for a 3-step process that candies the pork belly by smoking, rendering, and then adding barbecue sauce at the end of the smoking process.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
5 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
6 hrs
24 servings


  • fruit wood or other wood pieces

  • 6 pounds pork belly, cut into 1-inch squares

  • ½ cup barbecue dry rub (such as Old Arthur's®Smokestack), divided

  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 cup honey

  • ½ cup butter, sliced into pats

  • 1 (20 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce (such as Old Arthur's®), divided

  • ½ cup apple juice

  • ½ cup apple jam


  1. Preheat a smoker to an internal temp of approximately 235 degrees F (113 degrees C). Add wood pieces once temperature has been reached.

  2. Place pork belly pieces into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup dry rub on top and toss vigorously with your hands until all pieces are thoroughly coated. Arrange evenly on a wire mesh baking tray, spacing carefully so pieces don't touch one another.

  3. Place tray into the preheated smoker. Smoke for 3 1/2 hours at a temperature range between 235 and 250 degrees F (113 to 121 degrees C). If you have not already done so, add wood pieces to the fire so it is producing smoke.

  4. Remove the tray from the smoker. Using gloved hands, carefully transfer pork to an aluminum foil pan, arranging pieces so they are uniformly level.

  5. Evenly distribute brown sugar, honey, butter, 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, apple juice, jam, and remaining dry rub over the pork. Cover and seal the pan with aluminum foil.

  6. Return the pan to the smoker and smoke for 2 more hours at a target temperature of 250 degrees F (121 degrees C).

  7. Remove the pan from the smoker and remove the foil lid. Carefully transfer the individual pieces from the braising liquid into a new, clean foil pan and drizzle remaining barbecue sauce over top. Discard the old pan and liquid.

  8. Place the new pan back in the smoker and smoke, uncovered, until sauce is a little tacky, 15 to 20 minutes. Don't leave it in too long or you will sacrifice that "rendered" texture which you have worked so hard to achieve.

  9. Remove from the smoker and serve immediately.

Cook's Notes:

If the Old Arthur's products are unavailable in your area, you may order them online, or substitute with your favorite sauce and rub.

Fig jam can be used in place of apple jam.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

371 Calories
20g Fat
35g Carbs
14g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 24
Calories 371
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 51mg 17%
Sodium 1370mg 60%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 32g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 27mg 2%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 291mg 6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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