U.S. Regional BBQ recipes for Pork Belly Burnt Ends & Whole Turkey

By / Premium Content / December 19th, 2021 / 2

recipes provided by Adrian Miller

Old Arthurs’s Pork Belly Burnt Ends

This recipe appears in my book Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue. It comes courtesy of the Old Arthur Barbecue Sauce Company which currently sells a number of barbecue sauce and spice rubs products based on recipes of Old Arthur Watts who learned to barbecue while enslaved. If these products are unavailable in your area, you may order them online, or substitute with your favorite sauce and rub. Pork belly burnt ends are a riff on the traditional burnt ends made from beef brisket. This recipe calls for a three-step process that candies the pork belly by smoking, rendering, and then adding barbecue sauce at the end of the smoking process. 

Servings: 6


6 pounds pork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 cup Old Arthur’s Smokestack Dry Rub, or your favorite dry rub

1 stick butter, sliced into pats

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup honey

20 ounces Old Arthur’s Barbecue Sauce, or your favorite barbecue sauce

1/2 cup apple juice

1/2 cup apple, or fig jam


  1. Place pork belly into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Sprinkle approximately half of the dry rub into the bowl with the pork belly, and then toss vigorously with hands to thoroughly coat each piece.
  3. Bring your smoker to an internal temp of approximately 235°. Use your favorite fruitwood, or hardwood to create the desired smoke once you have achieved desired smoker temp.
  4. Arrange seasoned pork belly pieces evenly on a wire mesh baking tray. Take care to space the pork belly pieces so that they do not touch one another. Place tray into smoker. Smoke the pork belly pieces for 3 ½ hours at a temperature range between 235° and 250°. If you have not already done so, add your wood pieces to the fire so that you are now producing smoke.
  5. After approximately 3 ½ hours, remove the tray from the smoker.
  6. Using your hands (gloved), carefully transfer each cube from the tray, into an aluminum foil pan. Arrange pieces so that they are uniformly level in the pan.
  7. Distribute the brown sugar, butter, honey, jam, apple juice, the remaining dry rub, and 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce.
  8. Cover and seal the pan with aluminum foil. Return the pan to the heat of the smoker. Allow it to stay inside for 2 more hours at a target temperature of 250°.
  9. After two hours, remove the pan from the smoker. Carefully remove foil lid, and then carefully transfer the individual pieces from this braising liquid, and into a new, clean foil pan. Discard the old pan and fluid.
  10. Use the remaining barbecue sauce to drizzle over these cubes once you have them transferred.
  11. Place this new pan and cubes ( no lid) back into the heat of your smoker for approximately 15-20 more minutes to let the sauce get a little “tacky”, but don’t leave in too long, or you will sacrifice that “rendered” texture which you have worked so hard to achieve!
  12. Remove from smoker and enjoy!

Ed Mitchell’s Mother’s Whole Turkey Barbecue – Eastern North Carolina Style

Who better to make the transition from cooking whole hogs to whole turkeys than legendary pitmaster Ed Mitchell? Turns out to be his mother. In a 2011 blog post by ABC11 meteorologist Don Schwenneker, Mitchell noted, “My mother developed this recipe for whole turkey barbecue many years ago so that our family members who did not eat pork could still enjoy great barbecue. It became so popular in our family that I started serving turkey barbecue in my restaurants and at events as well.” Be mindful to adjust the amount of seasoning and cooking time if your turkey differs from the suggested size.


18-20 pound turkey

1 cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup red pepper powder

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

2 tablespoons sugar

Optional: ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder


  1. If you are using a direct heat grill, place the coal or wood pieces in a rectangular pattern on the bottom of the grill large enough that the turkey can sit above the space in the rectangle.
  2. Bring the temperature of your grill up to 250-275 degrees.
  3. First split/butterfly the turkey but keep it attached at the breastbone.
  4. Lay it out, skin side up, above the inner space of the rectangle of coal or wood pieces. 
  5. Roast for two hours then flip so it sits skin side down and roast for another 45 to 60 minutes. 
  6. While the turkey is cooking, combine all of the remaining ingredients.
  7. Once the turkey is cooked to your preference, take it off the grill and remove the skin and bones making sure to remove all small bones as well.
  8. Chop or pull the turkey according to your preference.
  9. Mix the following ingredients into the meat by hand.
  10. Once the ingredients are well blended, serve over potato buns with coleslaw.

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