Sweet Heat Sticky Belly Burnt Ends

sticky pork belly burnt ends


Ahhh… crispy burnt pork!  Why is this so damn good?  

Pork fat is one of the finer things in life.  When perfectly marbled into tender pork flesh, the deliciousness in the mouth can’t be beat.  Now for those that dare not touch any fat (I do know a few of you!), you’ll just want to mosey on by this recipe. But for those who have favorite eating establishments and a relationship with their burnt ends, read on, and give this one a try when a visit to those isn’t on tap.

To make copycat burnt ends, you only need a few simple ingredients, and some really hot fire.  Seasoning (feel free to sub your own favorite rub)… something sugary (to give that delectable char)… and the fire.  After the morsels of belly take a rest, be it a few hours or overnight… fire up your grill and in a few short minutes, you’ll be lickin your fingers!  

Enjoy some of my Juicy Beans and Greens ladled over some really good toast alongside this rich decadent pork!

NOTE:  You’ll see what I use as garnish below but I want to note a favorite of mine, NC’s Mt. Olive Sweet Heat Pepperoncini Peppers. I love all their “Sweet Heat” pickles (especially the SH Bread & Butter!).

This recipe created for and published in Carolina Country Magazine January 2024  © (copyrighted)
Propping/styling and photography by
Wendy Perry

Carolina Country Magazine Contributing Recipes Editor

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Sweet Heat Sticky Belly Burnt Ends

Did you know pork belly is just unsmoked, uncured bacon?! So if you eat bacon, you eat belly. Cook up a bunch of this “pork candy” to nibble during a football game or anytime.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Supper
Cuisine: American, Grilling, Southern
Keyword: burnt ends, pork belly, sweet heat
Author: Wendy Perry


  • 4 lbs. pork belly (unsalted), skin removed and cut into 1½-inch cubes
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil

Dry Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 1 tablespoon crushed ground mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • zest 1 large orance

Warm Sticky Belly Drizzle

  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • juice of zested orange
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

Garnish (opt)

  • Pickles (I used okra, bread n'butter and Mr. Olive Sweet Heat Pepperoncini)


  • Lightly coat belly with oil. Drain excess.
  • Combine dry rub ingredients in a large bowl and toss with belly cubes. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, tossing periodically.
  • Sit out for about 30 minutes before cooking. Heat wok or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly coat with oil. Sear belly in small batches, turning as each side gets nicely charred and a little burnt, being careful not to crowd in skillet. 
  • Combine all drizzle ingredients in a small bowl. At serving time, drizzle burnt ends and serve extra for dipping. 



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