Today we are going to learn how to make some amazing barbecue pork burnt ends. You guys are probably familiar with burnt ends. They’re those little cubes that come off of the point meat from the brisket. They are one of my favorite barbecue things to eat. Well, today we’re going to be doing this with pork! You will use pork butt or the Boston butt pork shoulder. It is very similar in texture to the point meat
You will notice there is a lot of intramuscular fat in this cut, just like with the point. So, what we’re going to try and do is recreate the burnt ends using pork. The first thing you are going to do is get your pork butt trimmed up. You are going to remove the fat cap because you want to get down to the meat. By doing this you can get the smoke and the seasoning right into that meat. There’s plenty of fat underneath the fat cap and running through the muscle to keep this nice and moist while it cooks.
Cut That Fat to Make Barbecue Pork Burnt Ends!
Start by just cutting the white pieces of fat, down to where you see the red meat. You guys will see a layer, this is the fat. This is the false cap. That’s just a thin layer of muscle, and then another layer of fat underneath that. You are going to get all the way down underneath it. We typically remove the fat cap anytime we’re doing a pork shoulder like this. Anytime that you are trimming a pork shoulder you should always run your hands over it to feel if there are any hard pieces sticking out it.
It’s not uncommon to catch some cartilage or even a little bit of bone that’s been left behind. Take off any excess fat, anywhere you find it. Take out your knife and open up the crevice around the bone. Trim out all the stuff from in-between the muscles. You can very gently slice and these naturally just want to pull apart. You are not cooking any sort of competition-style barbecue so there are no rules that say you have to leave this intact. To expedite the process you are just going to follow the bone and cut it right in half so. Now you have got the blade bone in the smaller piece of meat and with the bone in, it’s going to cook a little bit slower, but it’s smaller so it should cook even to your larger cut of meat.
You will notice that you have a lot of stringy stuff. It’s just going to be something you’re chewing on later and we’d rather have some rub on the meat, rather than have that stringy stuff. Trim it off and you are ready to go.
Time to Season!
It is now time for you to add your seasoning. You are going to be using a classic pork seasoning combination today. Something like the Smoked on Wheels pork injection, together with Plowboys Yardbird rub. Get your injection right into the meat. You are always going to have a little bit come back out at you and that’s alright. It will actually act as a binder on the outside for the rub. Keep pumping in the injection until you are confident the meat is holding a lot of liquid. This means it’s going to retain a lot of moisture, and in addition to this you are going to hit all the surfaces with your rub.
Don’t go too heavy with the rub, because you don’t want it to be too salty, but you are going to give it a good coating. The great thing about cutting this butt in half is that you now have an even surface area to work with. This will ensure that you get more smoke penetration.
Cherry Wood is the Way To Go!
I chose to smoke this on a Weber Summit charcoal grill. You, of course, can use whatever you have at home. Add some cherry wood chunks to the charcoal. This will give you a really nice cherry wood flavor. The color from the cherry wood is going to look great on the pork too. You are going to cinch down your airflow and let this thing ride at about 250 degrees. Get the lid closed and as it comes back up to temperature you are going to adjust your airflow so that you are running at 250 to 275.
After about two hours you will want to check on your wood chunks as they may have burned through at this point. If this is the case then you need to add some more. One of the things you can do to make sure you’re getting the best smoke flavor possible while you’re cooking is to every 45 minutes open it up and let the old smoke out. It clears the way for you to have new smoke. It stops any stagnant smoke sitting around making your food bitter here.
When the internal temperature gets up to about a hundred and seventy degrees Fahrenheit you want to pull it off the smoke and dice it up. When you pull the bone out you will see and feel that it is not finished cooking. You still need to really break it down or it will just be too tough and not great to eat. You are going to finish the cooking process with the meat in a cubed form. When you look at it you might also notice that it looks a bit dry. That’s because of all of that connective tissue hasn’t broken down yet and that fat hasn’t been able to melt out into the meat. You are going to see that in the next stage of cooking. Don’t worry the barbecue pork burnt ends will be done soon!
Nearly Finished the Barbecue Pork Burnt Ends!
Place the meat on some foil and wrap it up. This will capture any juice that comes outs of the meat. Wrap it up nice and tight. At this point, you need to get it back on the grill to finish cooking. Open up your airflow just a little bit. You can cook this a little hotter now that you are done smoking. I know a lot of you guys are cooking on pellet grills at home, so now would be the time to turn it up to about 350 degrees.
You are probably somewhere in the region of four to four and a half hours into your cook. This is the point where these want to fall apart when you squeeze them. Remove them from the grill and give them a toss. Add some barbecue sauce and get the airflow on the grill completely open. If your grill is working well you should be running at 375 – 400. The barbecue sauce I like to use is called Smoke on Wheels. I like it because it’s really sweet and it has some interesting flavors coming through.
Stick this back on the cooker and let that sauce set up to the meat and then you are going to be done. These should be very tender and the most amazing barbecue pork burnt ends you have ever tasted.
Put these out on a platter at a party and you just became everyone’s best friend!
If you love these then you need to learn how to smoke the perfect brisket!