Smoked and glazed with a maple chipotle sauce, these Pumpkin Spice Pork Belly Burnt Ends are irresistible. Ditch the lattes and serve these.
There’s not a doubt in my mind that most people absolutely love Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends, so naturally, I have to make a unique spin.
Pulling flavors from my recipe for Pumpkin Spice Chicken Wings, the spice blend is added to pork belly cubes before smoking. The warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, and allspice pair well with mustard, chipotle, and other spices to create a deliciously spiced pork belly.
Aside from those toasted pumpkin seeds, there is no pumpkin involved!
Why This Recipe Works
Warm spices pair with pork. Don’t be fooled by the name, because pumpkin spice blend absolutely works here. Pork loves aromatic spices and a sweet mustard sauce.
Simple process. There’s very little to do, other than to check the pork and transfer them to a pan with sauce. Crack open a few beers and enjoy the ride.
Read the Detailed Guide (Optional)
If you need a detailed breakdown of how to smoke pork belly burnt ends, look no further. The link below will walk you through the nitty-gritty details and provide you with options as well. I’ll cover the key steps in this recipe though.
Pumpkin Spice BBQ Rub
Trust me, if you didn’t see Pumpkin Spice in the name, you wouldn’t know. The warming combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, and allspice are commonly used ingredients in cooking, and even grilling. I actually recommend this blend for some North African recipes, such as Beef Suya Shredded Beef.
You could almost say that Pumpkin Spice is our American 5-Spice.
Here’s a breakdown of the recipe, most of everything you’ll likely have on hand:
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Mustard powder
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Chipotle powder
- Fine Kosher Salt
Pumpkin spice can vary with ingredients depending on the brand, so just review it and make sure it’s something that you’d enjoy. The fresher, the better!
Step 1: Season and Smoke
Cube up the pork belly into 1.5 – 2″ cubes, this is easier if the pork is cold while slicing.
Mix the Pumpkin Spice BBQ Rub together, stirring to eliminate any clumps. Taste and adjust if needed.
Sprinkle the seasoning onto the pork belly, covering all sides. Allow the pork belly to rest at room temperature while you preheat the smoker, which should be about 20-30 minutes or so.
- NOTE: You may do this step ahead of time and place the pork belly on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack in the fridge for a few hours.
Smoke the pork belly for about 2 hours at 250°F
We’re not going to focus on internal temperature, instead, we’re looking for bark development.
The pork will tenderize and be above 200°F internal temperature when all of this is done, so that’s not really the important piece.
Use a wire rack for an easy transfer in and out of the smoker. This also helps with cleanup, as the pork belly tends to render off quite a bit of fat. You can also place the wire rack into the smoker without the sheet.
Step 2: Wrap and Tenderize
After about the 2-hour mark the pork should be darker (see below) and somewhat tender to the touch. Carefully remove each piece from the smoker and place them into a disposable foil pan, or a sheet of heavy-duty foil.
I highly recommend using the Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce for this recipe, which has a great consistency and is also oil/mustard based. The liquids in the sauce really help the pork braise without the sugars caramelizing too fast.
Pour 1/2 cup of the sauce all over the pork and stir gently to coat. Wrap up the pork belly tight with more foil and place it in the smoker for about 45 minutes to an hour. The sauce should have started to reduce and thicken, melding into the pork.
- NOTE: If you are NOT using this recommended sauce, I do recommend adding about 1/4 cup of apple juice to the pan to thin it out. This will assist with braising and also prevent the potential of sugars burning.
Step 3: Caramelize the BBQ Sauce
Check on the pork belly after about 20-30 minutes. Most of the sauce should have melted into the pork.
Open up the foil and gently toss the pork belly. Add a little more sauce if you feel they are too dry.
Leave the foil open and continue to cook for about 20-30 minutes until the pumpkin spice pork belly burnt ends are nice and tacky. The sauce should have almost melted into them, creating a sticky surface.
Time to Serve the Burnt Ends!
You can see I’ve garnished the pumpkin spice pork belly burnt ends with additional sauce and toasted pumpkin seeds. Adding texture is a fun element and the seeds don’t get soggy.
Additional BBQ Sauce Options
While I do have my recommendation, I’ve also tested a few other sauces with this spice combination that tastes very very good. Specifically:
- Sweet Honey Bourbon BBQ Sauce – The honey and smoky profile work so well with the warming spices in the rub.
- Buffalo BBQ Sauce – Classic buffalo heat compliments the spice blend, adding a second layer of flavor on top.
I’m sure over time I’ll discover more combinations. Let me know what you think!
More Smoked Pork Recipes to LovePrint
- 3–4 pounds of pork belly, skin removed
- 3/4 cup Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce
- (optional) 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin Spice BBQ Rub
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- Preheat the smoker to 250°F
- Slice the pork belly into cubes about 1.5 – 2″ cubes. Season them generously with the rub on all sides, use more if needed. Place them on a wire rack and set them in the smoker. Allow them to cook undisturbed for about 90 minutes.
- Check on them and make sure the bark is forming nicely, and they aren’t drying out. Spritz with a little apple cider vinegar if you see they are a little dry, otherwise continue to cook for another 30 minutes, about 2 hours total.
- After the first 2 hours, transfer them from the wire rack carefully to a disposable foil pan. Pour about 1/2 cup of the Maple Chipotle sauce on top of them. Place a foil sheet over the top of the pan, pushing down to remove as much extra air as possible. Continue to cook for another 45-60 minutes.
- Check on the burnt ends. Most of the liquid should be gone and they will look very tender. Remove the foil from the top and add the rest of the BBQ sauce. Use more if needed. Stir very carefully and continue to cook uncovered for another 20-30 minutes.
- Check the pork belly, they should be sticky and tacky, with very little liquid left in the foil pan. Serve them while warm.
- If you’re using another BBQ sauce, I recommend adding a little apple juice to the foil pan during the braising phase. This will help prevent the sugars from potentially scorching.
- Spray the pork belly as needed with some apple cider vinegar if they are looking a little dry during the first smoking phase.
- If the pork belly cubes are too small they will dry out, so make sure you cut them large. They will shrink in size quite a bit.
- Make sure the BBQ sauce is not cold out of the fridge when using it. Room temp or slightly warm is best.
- Use your intuition during this cook. Notice that I didn’t provide many temperatures, that’s because burnt ends really go by feel and texture more than anything.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Category: Pork
- Method: Smoking
- Cuisine: Appetizer
Keywords: smoked pork, pork belly, pork belly burnt ends, bbq, smoking, barbecue, pumpkin spice