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posted December 12, 2022

Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends

These pork shoulder burnt ends are a perfect little porky bite of BBQ goodness. They’re packed with flavor and slow-smoked to give them a great exterior bark. You gotta try these at your next party or weekend BBQ!

Pile of pork shoulder burnt ends on a white plate with text overlay - Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends.

Smoked Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends

I’m very aware that burnt ends are traditionally end cuts of brisket made famous in Kansas City BBQ joints. But we’ve been taking some liberties here at Hey Grill Hey with that definition of “burnt end.” I’m on a mission to test out the burnt end-style of smoking with other cuts of meat, and I have to say, the results have been incredible!

These pork shoulder burnt ends capture the essence of what makes brisket burnt ends great but in a slightly sweeter, porkier bite. Smoky edges and great bark offer awesome contrast to the melt-in-your-mouth insides of these nuggets.

Cubed pork shoulder being seasoned with Hey Grill Hey Rib Rub

Ingredients for Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends

You don’t need too many ingredients for these pork shoulder burnt ends. It’s light on the ingredients, but big on taste. Here’s what you need to make these guys:

To help make this recipe even easier, both Rib Rub and Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce can be purchased from the Hey Grill Hey Store. If you don’t have either of these on hand, you can make them from scratch using my recipes for Best Rub for Ribs and Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce.

Cubed pork shoulder on the smoker reading 166 degrees F.

How to Make Burnt Ends from Pork Shoulder

Let’s get into the recipe, shall we? Here’s how to make burnt ends from pork shoulder:

  1. Preheat. Turn on the smoker and allow it to fully preheat to 225 degrees F.
  2. Cube. Cut the pork shoulder into equal-sized cubes. Mine were around 1 1/2 inches thick.
  3. Season. Drizzle the pork cubes with a little olive oil and then season liberally with Sweet Rub.
  4. Smoke. Place the seasoned pork shoulder cubes directly on the grill grates of the smoker. Close the lid, and cook for about 3 hours.
  5. Braise. Place the pork in a cast iron skillet or disposable aluminum pan. Add the cubed butter, brown sugar, and Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce and toss to ensure each cube is coated. Cover the skillet or pan with aluminum foil. Place the skillet back on the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for an additional 45 minutes or until the pork reaches 200 degrees F.
  6. Finish smoking. Remove the foil from the skillet, stir the pork well to re-coat them in the sauce, and continue to smoke for an additional 30 minutes.
  7. Serve. Remove the skillet from the smoker, and allow the pork shoulder burnt ends to cool slightly before serving.

Whiskey Peach BBQ sauce being poured into a pan of pork shoulder burnt ends.

Tips for Making Burnt Ends with Pork Shoulder

Before you dive into “burnt ending” this pork shoulder, check out a few tips to help you get the most out of this recipe.

  • Shop around. Finding boneless pork shoulders isn’t always easy in a traditional grocery store, but I have found luck at Costco and smaller local shops. If you can’t find boneless, it’s not a problem. Just make sure you’ve got a knife with a sharp tip. A pork shoulder bone is large and one piece, it’s fairly simple to remove at home.
  • Cook in advance. This recipe is great when made in advance and eaten the next day. These pork shoulder burnt ends have great flavor and tenderness from the cooking process. The flavor (in my opinion) gets even better after they sit in the fridge for a day. It gets really ham/bacon-like in texture and flavor. I chop them up the next day and load them into tortillas or on top of my smoked mac and cheese.
  • Swap out the flavor profiles. Of course, I’m going to tell you these taste the best with Sweet Rub and Whiskey Peach sauce (because they do), but you can use whatever seasoning and sauce flavor combo you prefer.

Pile of pork shoulder burnt ends on a white plate.

More Burnt Ends Recipes

Hey Grill Hey has been feeling the burnt end love lately, and we want to share it all with you. Check out our most popular burnt end recipes below!

Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends Recipe

Follow the recipe, and let’s make some really good food! Hey Grill Hey is here to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a BBQ hero. Head on over to Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube! for more behind-the-scenes action!

Pile of pork shoulder burnt ends on a white plate.

Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends

Susie Bulloch
Prep Time : 20 mins
Cook Time : 5 hrs
Total Time : 5 hrs 20 mins
Servings : 10 people
Calories : 369kcal

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • Preheat. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F using your favorite hardwood. I like apple, cherry, hickory, or maple for these.
  • Cube the meat. Using a sharp knife, cut your pork shoulder into cubes about 1 1/2 inches thick. If your roast is bone-in, you can remove the bone with the tip of your knife and then cube the remaining pieces. Try to get your pieces as uniform as possible for even cooking, but if they're a little bit wonky, it's totally fine.
  • Season. Drizzle the pork with olive oil and ensure each piece is evenly coated. Season the pork shoulder cubes on all sides with Sweet Rub and then arrange them on a flat cooling rack, allowing a little bit of space between each piece.
  • Smoke. Set the rack of seasoned pork on the smoker, close the lid and cook for about 3 hours.
  • Sauce. Transfer the smoked pork from the rack to a cast iron skillet or disposable aluminum pan. Add the butter, brown sugar, and BBQ Sauce to the pan and toss to coat. Cover the skillet with a lid or the pan with foil.
  • Braise. Return the skillet to the smoker. Close the lid on the smoker and continue cooking for an additional 45 minutes to an hour, or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 200 degrees F.
  • Finish smoking. Remove the lid or foil, stir the burnt ends to coat them again in the sauce, and continue smoking, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Rest and serve. Remove the burnt ends from the smoker. Allow them to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Rib Rub

Whiskey Peach BBQ Sauce

Nutrition

Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 387mg | Potassium: 667mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 356IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 4mg
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