My friends and I are at the grocery store shopping for a birthday cookout, and my friend asks me how to make smoked pork shoulder burnt ends?
To make smoked pork shoulder burnt ends, start by preparing the meat and cutting the pork into 1-inch by 1-inch cubes and remove as much fat in the process. After the pork is cubed, season it and place it on a baking sheet and smoke it at 250° for 4 to 6 hours until the meat reaches 190°. Remove the pork and put in a foil pan where you will add in the sauce, honey, and more rub, then cover and toss it. Place them back on the smoker for 30 to 60 minutes, then remove and let it rest uncovered for 15 minutes, then enjoy!
Why Pork Shoulder Burnt Ends?
You probably think of burnt ends with pork belly and brisket, which are outstanding. The problem with the pork belly is that it’s incredibly fatty, and you can only 2 or 3 of those things before you start to fill up. The pork shoulder is very different because we are going to trim the fat so you can make this into a meal or an appetizer. I promise they are delicious and will go fast.
What All Do I Need?
- Pork shoulder – We recommend bone-in. You want to get anywhere from 6 to 8 pounds. If it is just you and your family, you can do 3 pounds, but you will be trimming off the fat, and you will want some leftovers.
- BBQ Rub – We are going to use Meat Church and Kosmos today. Keep in mind your audience on how much heat you want to add-in. Today we aren’t going to have any kids eating this, so we are adding some excitement. You can get creative once you do this.
- Honey or Brown Sugar – This is going to add in some sweetness to the flavor profile and add and caramel crisp.
- BBQ Sauce – You want good baseline barbecue sauce, nothing too spicy or too thick.
- Baking Rack – You want something that you can raise on your smoker that still has vents to let smoke thru the bottom.
- Other Items – Large mixing bowl, Foil Pan, and Aluminum Foil
Prepare the Meat
Season the Meat
Get the Smoker Ready
Before you get your smoker up to temperature, make sure you have a water pan underneath your grates. Fill the pan up with water or apple juice, and you want to Spritz these every couple hours if you feel it’s getting too dry. With a water pan, there will be added moisture to keep the meat from drying out.
At this point, we’re getting the smoker ready at 250°, and you can use whatever wood you prefer. We used Post Oak and Cherry because we like the smoke with a sweet barbecue sauce with pork. You can use Hickory or any other fruitwood you prefer. Try to stay away from Mesquite because it gets too overpowering. Your best options are going to be Post Oak, Hickory, or any of the fruitwoods.
If you want to learn how to use a BBQ Smoker, view our post on how to use a BBQ Smoker.
Smoke the Meat
Put your rack directly on top of the top grates and close the smoker. We are going to smoke these for at least 4 hours, and it could take up to 6 hours. You want to get the internal temperature to 190°. With these little pieces, it’s hard to put a meat thermometer in them. It’s best to use a Thermapen or ThermoPop to probe multiple pieces to check the temperature. Please make sure the meat is at 190° before we do the next step. After checking at the 4-hour mark, you should set the alarm and check it every 15 to 30 minutes. Paying close attention at this point will make sure you don’t overcook the meat.