Traeger Smoked Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends

Want to know how make pork shoulder burnt ends? The smoky flavor and brown sugar sweetness match this meat perfectly!

For those of you deep in the BBQ culture, ‘burnt ends’ don’t have to come from brisket you can also use make pork burnt ends. It one of my favorite Traeger recipes. So for those of you who want an easy smoker recipe to test on your Traeger, look no further!

So if your ready to make some meat candy? These deliciously caramelized morsels of  pork shoulder are precisely that!

traeger-pork-shoulder-burnt-ends

Why You’ll Love This Pork Shoulder Recipe

– Bite-sized delicious pork pieces packed with sweet umami flavor and a crispy texture. (You’ll understand what meat candy means)!

– A recipe you can make in bulk from a large shoulder or pork butt.

– Customizable recipes for flavors that take your fancy. 

– Less rich and fatty compared to a pork belly or beef brisket.

What You Need For Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends

Pork butt or shoulder (cubed into bite-sized chunks)

BBQ Rub

Olive oil

Black pepper

Kosher salt

Brown sugar

Apple juice

Apple cider vinegar

Your favorite BBQ sauce

Honey

pork-shoulder-burnt-ends-traeger

How to Make Traeger Smoked BBQ Pork Burnt Ends

Step 1: Prepare the Pork Butt/Shoulder for Traeger Smoking

– Remove as much excess moisture from the piece of meat with a paper towel.

– Cube the pork butt/shoulder into 1-inch cubes. (Using bone-in pork butt? Remove before cubing)

– Season with salt and black pepper.

– Leave in the fridge for 60 minutes.

– Remove further excess moisture that was drawn out by the salt.

– Put the pieces of pork into a clean mixing bowl.

– Cover the pieces in the BBQ rub and brown sugar. Ensuring each is coated evenly by mixing or shaking the bowl.

– Pour some apple juice into the foil tray. This helps retain moisture while the pork is smoking and acts as a drip tray)

Step 2: Smoking the Cubes of Pork Butt/Shoulder

– Load the hickory pellets, prime, and set the Traeger to a grill temperature of 225°F and wait until temp.

– Place the foil tray underneath the wire rack or grill grates.

– Place the seasoned pork cubes on the wire rack or grill grates above the tray.

Tip: Use a disposable grill liner for an easy clean!

smoked-pork-shoulder-burnt-ends-2

Step 3: Spritz the Pork Butt/Shoulder While Smoking

– Mix the remaining apple juice and apple cider vinegar into the spray bottle.

Spritz the pork every 30 minutes while smoking to keep the meat moist.

Note: Make sure you continuously monitor your smoker temperature!

Step 4: This Cooking Process Transforms the Pieces Into Burnt Ends

– Cook the porky cubes until you reach an internal temperature of 190°F using a temperature probe.

– This will take 2-3 hours, A long slow smoke will slowly break down the connective tissues and fats to infuse with moisture and give a tender meat.

– After 2 -3 hours, or when the meat reaches 190⁰F internal temperature, remove the pork pieces from the grill and place them in another aluminum foil tray.

Food Safety Note: Always work on temperature, rather than time to ensure the cubed pork shoulder is safe to eat.

– Pour over the BBQ sauce, drizzle a tbsp honey over the burnt ends, and toss together to coat the surface of the pork.

– Then tightly cover the aluminum foil tray with tin foil and let them cook for 40 minutes.

– After a further 40-minute smoking process, remove the cover and give the burnt ends a toss.

– Place the tray back in the smoker uncovered and cook until the sauce has reduced and the pork shoulder ends have a caramelized bark outer. (Roughly an hour mark)

– Remove the tray from the smoker.

– Allow the burnt ends to cool for 5 minutes after the cooking method… Then it’s time to eat!

recipe-for-smoked-pork-shoulder-burnt-ends-on-a-traeger

What Does Smoking On A Traeger Do For This Recipe? 

– A Traeger Pellet Grill mixes new technology and old-school grill methods for ease, accessibility, and control of how the pork cooks.

– Wide grill grates and other customizable parts for perfect smoking!

– Get creative with the different flavors of wood pellets. Find the best pairing for pork and your favorite pork rub.

– The indirect heat setting will slowly break down the tough connective tissue and fat in the pork.

– Comes with a digital meat thermometer built into the user interface.

What Are Pork Shoulder ‘Burnt Ends’?

For those of you who aren’t in the know, the term burnt ends was coined in BBQ culture. Pitmasters didn’t find a solution to stop the thinner part of the brisket (known as the point) from overcooking during smoking.

They are effectively the trimmings but to much surprise, ended up being the most desired part for eating.

This is because they have a concentration of what makes brisket great. The rendered fat, crunchy bark, and smoke.

This is now mimicked with other cuts of meat… So make way for the pork shoulder!

pork-shoulder-burnt-ends-traeger

What Temperature to Smoke the Pork Burnt Ends?

You need to cook the pork at  225°F on low and indirect heat for the whole process.

How Long to Smoke the Pork Should Pieces on Your Traeger?

The whole process will take around 2-3 hours, depending on the size your cubed your pork shoulder.

Note: Cook times are never final. So make sure you monitor the doneness of your recipe as per the directions below.

Do I Need To Monitor The Internal Temperature?

Yes! Monitoring the internal temperature is a crucial part of cooking! It will help you with timings, especially when cooking other dishes.

Monitoring the internal temperature is also crucial for food safety. You can’t be serving underdone meat!

How to Accurately Monitor the Internal Temp

Use a calibrated digital probe meat thermometer to monitor the internal temp. 

A Traeger grill comes with these built-in, so there is no excuse!

How To Store Leftovers 

A pork shoulder is a very large cut of meat, so making burnt ends in large batches is recommended and you might not be able to finish them all!

Store the leftover pork shoulder in the refrigerator in an airtight container and eat within 3 days (imagine the pork sandwiches)! Or you can freeze for up to 1 month. 

My Favorite Wood for Smoking Pork Shoulder

I used hickory pellets for this but lighter fruit woods pieces like applewood, maple, and cherry wood are also great options.

What to Serve With Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends

Wondering what to serve with your burnt ends? If your having them as an appetizer I would suggest them with;

Smoked Duck Poppers

Smoked Pig Shots

Smoked Onion Bombs

Smoked Corn Bread

If your having them as a main serve with: 

Smoked Broccoli

Smoked Cauliflower

Baked Beans

Smoked Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends

For those of you who want an easy smoker recipe to test on your Traeger, look no further! Have you ever heard of meat described as candy? These deliciously caramelized morsels of  pork shoulder are precisely that!
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time3 hours
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Dinner, lunch, main, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 426kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 20

Equipment

  • 1 Pellet smoker

Ingredients

  • 6-8 lbs of cubed pork shoulder
  • 1/2 cup .5 cup Barbecue rub
  • 1 cup Apple juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup .5 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp Barbecue sauce
  • 4 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp pepper

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Pork Butt/Shoulder for Traeger Smoking

  • Remove as much excess moisture from the piece of meat with a paper towel.
  • Cube the pork butt/shoulder into 1-inch cubes. (Using bone-in pork butt? Remove before cubing) Season with salt and black pepper. Leave in the fridge for 60 minutes.
  • Remove further excess moisture that was drawn out by the salt. Put the pieces of pork into a clean mixing bowl.
  • Cover the pieces in the BBQ rub and brown sugar. Ensuring each is coated evenly by mixing or shaking the bowl. Pour some apple juice into the foil tray. This helps retain moisture while the pork is smoking and acts as a drip tray)

Step 2: Smoking the Cubes of Pork Butt/Shoulder

  • -Load the pellets, prime, and set the Traeger to a grill temperature of 225°F and wait until temp. Place the foil tray underneath the wire rack or grill grates.
  • Place the seasoned pork cubes on the wire rack or grill grates above the tray. Tip: Use a disposable grill liner for an easy clean!

Step 3: Spritz the Pork Butt/Shoulder While Smoking

  • Mix the remaining apple juice and apple cider vinegar into the spray bottle. Spritz the pork every 30 minutes while smoking to keep the meat moist.
  • Note: Make sure you continuously monitor your smoker temperature!

Step 4: This Cooking Process Transforms the Pieces Into Burnt Ends

  • Cook the porky cubes until you reach an internal temperature of 190°F using a temperature probe.
  • This will take 2-3 hours, A long slow smoke will slowly break down the connective tissues and fats to infuse with moisture and give a tender meat.
  • After 2 -3 hours, or when the meat reaches 190⁰F internal temperature, remove the pork pieces from the grill and place them in another aluminum foil tray.

Smoke On!

Charlie

Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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