Iva Carter
Published by Iva Carter
Last Updated On: April 13, 2023

Pork butt burnt ends are perfectly smoked, sticky, and sweet. To me, this is meat candy, and I’ve become addicted ever since I first tried them a few years ago.

I wanted to perfect my skills in making this delicious meal, so I experimented with various cuts of pork, glazes, and rubs until I found the perfect pork butt burnt ends recipe.

I can finally say I’ve got the hang of an ultimate recipe for burnt ends and am happy to share it with you.

Recipe Overview

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours and 10 minutes
  • Number of Servings: 8


The Meat:

  • 8 lbs boneless pork cut

The Rub:

A top view of the rub for pork butt burnt ends
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder

The Braise:

  • Two cups of fruit juice (apple juice and pineapple work best)
  • 4 tablespoons of rub from above

Other Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar


Pork butt burnt ends placed on an aluminum foil pan
  1. Prepare the rub by mixing all the spices together in a bowl. The spices should be well combined.
  2. Prepare the pork but. Place the boneless pork butt into a pan to contain all the mess. Cover it with Worcestershire sauce, mustard, or olive oil, to help the rub stick to the meat.
  3. Apply the rub liberally. You can toss the cut pork butt and rub the pieces until well covered.
  4. Place the pork butt on cooling racks so it’s easy to remove.
  5. Preheat the smoker to 225 to 250 degrees. Use apple, hickory, maple, or cherry wood for smoking pork burnt ends.
  6. Smoke it for one hour or until it has a good smoke color and the bark starts to form. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees.
  7. Remove the pork and increase the smoker temperature to 275 degrees.
  8. Put the pork butt into a disposable aluminum tin to braise it.
  9. Add the fruit juice so it comes up to the sides of the pork.
  10. Cover the aluminum tin with foil and put it back on the smoker.
  11. Braise the pork burnt ends for an hour to an hour and a half at 275 degrees.
  12. Once the pork butt burnt ends reach your desired tenderness, remove it from the smoker.
  13. Drain the braise from the aluminum tin and add honey, brown sugar, butter, leftover rub, and your favorite BBQ sauce. Mix everything with utensils or hands (make sure to wear gloves). Make sure each piece of pork cubes is well covered.
  14. Put the meat back on the smoker. The smoker temperature should be 275 degrees. Cook for about 45 minutes and stir every 15 minutes.
  15. Remove the pork butt burnt ends from the smoker, let rest for up to 15 minutes, then serve.

Related Articles:

Recipe Notes

Cubed meat for pork butt burnt ends
  • You can cube the meat before or in the middle of cooking. If you want to use a pork shoulder, use a sharp knife and cut the pork shoulder to have cubes 1 1/2 inches thick. If you’re starting with the whole pork butt cut, put it directly on the smoker grate and leave it alone until it reaches 170 degrees. Then remove it from the smoker, place it on a large cutting board, and cut. At this point, the pork butt is still firm enough to be cut into pieces without falling apart.
  • If you have a bone-in pork shoulder, remove the bone with the tip of the knife, and then cube it to make pork shoulder burnt ends.
  • Make sure each piece is evenly coated with the BBQ rub.
  • Optional: You can remove the foil from the disposable aluminum pan about half an hour to 45 minutes after placing it on the smoker and stir the meat to coat it again in the sauce. Then continue smoking uncovered for an additional half an hour.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 3470
  • Total Carbs: 132g
  • Protein: 344g
  • Fat: 170g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Net Carbs: 132g

Which Pork Cut to Use?

You can use a boneless or a bone-in pork butt or pork shoulder. My advice is to choose a boneless version if you can find it.

The bone makes it more difficult to cut the meat into cubes, so a boneless pork butt means less work for you.

Also Read: Pork Cuts

Preparing the Pork Butt

Trimming the fat of a pork butt

You need to trim away the fat using a sharp knife. Pork has plenty of fat, but you don’t need it to make pork butt burnt ends. Fat will prevent the smoke from getting into your cubes.

Pro tip: Save any waste or scraps you have while trimming and cutting the pork butt, and you can use it for grinding sausage.

Slice the pork butt into steaks about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. Then cube the steaks so you have small pieces that are equal in width.

You’ll most likely have pieces that aren’t quite the exact cube shape, but that’s fine. Trim them as well as you can, so you have burnt ends and not useless burned meat.

Once you’re done cutting the pork butt into cubes, put the pieces into a large receptacle, mixing bowl, or an aluminum pan to add the rub.

You can add the rub straight on them or use mustard or a BBQ sauce to help the rub stick better.

Pork Butt Burnt Ends Recipe Tips

Pork butt burnt ends placed directly on a grill grate

Here’s what to keep in mind for an easier cooking process:

  • Place the pork butt cubes directly on the grill grates to smoke them, or use a pan. Keep in mind it’ll be difficult to clean the grates when you’re done making smoked pork.
  • Don’t worry about the spacing of the pork butt burnt ends. The meat will shrink as it smokes. 
  • Use pineapple juice, honey, and brown sugar to make sweet pork butt burnt ends. You can also make a spicy version by using a spicy rub. Sprinkle rub on the meat if you love spice.
  • Use disposable foil containers for grabbing the cooked meat off the grill. These are especially useful if you’re having a tailgate party, as you don’t have to wash dishes afterward.
  • Line your grill grate with foil, or use non-stick aluminum liners for easier cleanup.
  • If you’re short on time, you can speed up the process by turning up the temperature on the grill. Make sure to stir often to keep the meat from burning at the bottom. Also, keep an eye on the meat and remove it from the grill as soon as it’s done, or you risk having pulled pork.
  • You can get burnt ends as dark or charred as you like. For example, make them slightly charred, or leave them on the grill longer if your family prefers them black.
  • Try different types of meat for making burnt ends. For example, you can go for pork belly, salmon, and brisket burnt ends.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Cooked pork temperature should be 145 degrees, according to the USDA [1].
  • You can make this barbecue classic in advance and eat it the next day. The flavor gets even better as the meat has more time to absorb the barbecue sauce and the rub. Keep the meat in the fridge for a day, and you can serve it in tortillas as the main dish.

Also Read: BBQ Brisket Burnt Ends Recipe


What Cut of Pork is Used for Burnt Ends?

Pork belly, point end of the brisket, or pork shoulder are cuts of pork used for burnt ends.

What Is the Best Meat to Make Burnt Ends?

The best meat to make burnt ends is from the brisket point. It’s fatty, highly marbled, and thinner than the rest of the brisket, so it looks more burnt than the rest of the meat. Another delicious choice is pork shoulder burnt ends.

How Do You Tenderize Burnt Ends?

You tenderize burnt ends by using olive oil and barbecue sauce. Then cover the container with aluminum foil and put it back on the smoker. The liquid breaks them down, so they are more tender.

Are Pork Butt Burnt Ends Worth It?

Pork burnt ends are among the most delicious pork cuts to smoke. Make sure to use a flavorful rub, BBQ smoke, and braise them for the best results. Experiment with sweet, savory, and spicy rubs until you find what works best for you.

Pork butts aren’t the easiest cut to find, especially boneless. That’s why you need a reliable meat provider like ButcherBox, a meat delivery service with a wide range of pork cuts.

They source meat from family farms that grow heritage-bred animals raised crate-free, which ensures you get delicious, juicy cuts.


  1. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/meat/
Was this article helpful?

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *