Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends On A Pit Boss (6 Simple Steps)

Pork shoulder burnt ends are a delicious meaty treat!

These sticky, smoky pieces of meat candy are covered in a delicious BBQ rub, smoked then covered in a BBQ sauce and smoked again!

They deliver a major flavor punch of sweet, savory, and smoky goodness. 

The combination of juicy pork and caramelized barbecue sauce is just like meat candy!

Burnt ends are an EASY and tasty alternative to smoking a whole pork shoulder!

Plus they are perfect for a appetizer or a main.

Just a heads up, make double, they will go in a flash!

However burnt ends can be tricky the first time you make them.

So make sure you follow my simple steps below.

What Makes Good Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends?

You may have heard of brisket burnt ends.

They originally came from the sections of dried-out, crispy parts of beef brisket, cut off and leftover when smoking.

You can also make your burnt ends from the pork belly or pork shoulder. 

Both pork belly and pork shoulder work well as they have a high-fat content

You can either use leftover smoked pork shoulder or raw meat.

The recipe below uses raw meat which is cut into 1-2 inch cubes, coated in a dry rub, and smoked until they have a crunchy outer layer.

Finish off with a sticky barbecue glaze, and you have an incredibly tasty treat.

After 40 minutes 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.

What to Look for When Buying Your Pork

Try to source a piece of pork shoulder with a moderate amount of fat. 

Too much fat will leave you feeling overwhelmed in oiliness, and take away from the pork flavors.  

Bone-in or bone out doesn’t matter, but it will be easier to cut bone out.   

What Wood Chips to Use for Burnt Ends?

Wood chips such as hickory are perfect for burnt ends.

Hickory has a medium to intense smoky flavor.

Alternatively lighter fruitwood pieces like applewood, maple, and cherry wood are also great options.

Mesquite has a strong flavor and can be too overpowering for the pork.

Burnt Ends Recipe Variation

Try splitting the pork pieces over a couple of aluminum pans and try different flavor ideas such as: 

  • Try a beef and brisket rub for a beefy flavor.
  • Add a splash of bourbon to the barbeque sauce for a southern barbecue classic.
  • Swap the honey for maple syrup and add brown sugar for sweeter bite-size pieces.
  • For a spicy treat, add some chili powder rub.

Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends Prep

Using a sharp knife dice the pork shoulder into 1-2 inch cubes that are bite-sized.

Try to remove the excess pieces of fat as you go.

Pat the pork dry with a paper towel to remove any excess liquid that may wash the rub off.

Coat in a dry rub and let sit for 20-30 minutes.

This will allow the pork can absorb the rub flavors.

What You’ll Need for Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends

  • 6-8 lbs of cubed pork shoulder
  • Barbecue rub
  • Apple juice
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Honey
  • Pellet smoker
  • Disposable Aluminum Foil tray
  • Spray bottle

Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends Recipe

Pre-heat the smoker 250-275⁰F and set it up for indirect heat.

Cube the pork shoulder in 1 inch by 1 inch cubes.

Put the pieces of pork into a large mixing bowl.

Sprinkle the BBQ rub over the pork and give the bowls a good shake to ensure you coat each side of the meat.

Place the pork cubes on a grill rack. Once the smoker is at the right temperature put the rack on your grill grates. .

If you want to you can use a disposable grill liner for an easy clean-up.

Add a Drip Tray (Optional)

You don’t have to add a trip tray.

It does help to retain the moisture in the pork cubes while it’s smoking.

It also acts as a drip tray for any stray pieces that fall through the wire rack.

In an aluminum foil tray pour half of the the apple juice. 

Place the tray under the pellet grill smoker grate.

You can line the grill rack with layers of foil if you prefer an easy clean-up.

Smoking Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends

To cook burnt ends will take around 2 -3 hours of smoking.

Mix the remaining mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar and pour into a spray bottle. 

Spritz the pork at 30 minutes intervals.

After 2 -3 hours, or when the meat reaches 190⁰F internal temperature, remove for the next step. 

Always work on temperature, rather than time to ensure the food is safe to eat and the flesh tender.

Covering the Pork Shoulder Ends With BBQ Sauce

Remove the meat from the grill and place them in an aluminum foil tray.

Pour over your favorite bbq sauce and drizzle the honey.

Then toss together to coat the surface of the pork bites.

Then cover the aluminum foil tray return to the smoker 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes 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.

What Else Can You Use Pork Shoulder For?

Smoked Carnitas

Pulled Pork

Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends On A Pellet Grill (6 Simple Steps)

Want make delicious meat candy from pork shoulder? These pork shoulder burnt ends wil be so popular at your cookout you'll have to make a double batch!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 10 mins
Course: Appetizer, main, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, bbq, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 352kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 12

Equipment

  • 1 Pellet smoker
  • 2 Disposable Aluminum Foil tray
  • 1 spray bottle

Ingredients

  • 6-8 lbs of cubed pork shoulder
  • .5 cup Barbecue rub
  • 1 cup Apple juice
  • .5 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp Barbecue sauce
  • 4 tbsp Honey

Instructions

  • Pre-heat your smoker to 250°F - 275°F and set it up to use indirect heat.
    I used hickory pellets for this but lighter fruit wood pieces like applewood, maple, and cherry wood are also great options.
  • Cube the pork shoulder in 1 inch by 1 inch cubes.
    If your using a bone-in meat, its easier to cut the meat from the bone first, then cube it, .
  • Put the pieces of pork into a large mixing bowl.
    Sprinkle the BBQ rub over the pork and give the bowls a good shake to ensure you coat each side of the meat.
  • In an aluminum, foil tray pour some of the apple juice. This will help retain the moisture in the pork while it’s smoking and acts as a drip tray for any stray pieces that fall through the wire rack.
    Place the tray under the pellet grill smoker grate,
  • Put you the pork cubes on a grill rack.
    If you want to you can use a disposable grill liner for an easy clean-up.
    Put the rack in the smoker.
  • Mix the remaining mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar and pour into a spray bottle.
    Spritz the pork every 30 minutes .
  • Let the pork burnt ends cook until you reach an internal temperature of 190°F.
    Use a temperature probe to check a few of them.
    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 a from the grill and place them in an aluminum foil tray.
    Always work on temperature, rather than time to ensure the food is safe to eat.
  • Pour over the bbq sauce and the honey over the burnt ends and toss together to coat the surface of the pork .
  • Then tightly cover the aluminum foil tray with aluminum foil and let them cook for 40 minutes .
  • After 40 minutes 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.
  • Remove the tray from the smoker.
    Allow the burnt ends to cool for 5 minutes then its time to eat!

With a few simple steps, you’ll have mastered the art of burnt ends in no time.

It will also give you another delicious dish to add to your cooking arsenal!

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

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 adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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