The Adventures of Burnt Ends

Pork –  one of the most common meats used by my ancestors, and by my people to this day.  It is an important part of our diet.  It is not red/red meat, which cardiologists do not recommendBurnt ends.  But, it is still part of the red meat family and it does contain higher levels of fats, and not good fats.

Some might argue the Chinese “invented” pork belly, but I will argue that the Vikings introduced it to the Chinese during our exploration of the Far East.

You can enjoy this meat in moderations, and not slabs at a time.  In my fatty past, I could easily have consumed a nice sized pork belly within 1-2 days.  Not healthy.

My dietician who visited my house when I was at my lowest during my heart failure, confirmed that I should avoid this kind of white meat.  This was not something that I accepted too well but felt it was better for my overall recovery if I listened to my dietician.

Removing pork from a Dane’s menu is close enough to a death sentence.  Imagine no bacon, no sausages, no pork rinds, no pork belly and not to mention no Christmas pork roast.  What had life gotten me into?

This was not easy to swallow, so I started to do some serious research into the healthiness of pork meat.  And, to my joys, I found that pork meat can indeed be considered in a healthy diet.

Being high in protein and rich in many vitamins and minerals, lean pork can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

It apparently contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for your body’s growth and maintenance.  Eating pork may be particularly beneficial for bodybuilders, recovering athletes, people post-surgery, or others who need to build up or repair muscles.  The heart is considered a muscle, right?

SUMMARY – Pork is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus, and iron.

To help my heart recover, I wanted to prepare one of my favorite snacks, Pork Belly.  And, making this an even better experience, I created this on my newly acquired Traeger Pro series.

Making pork belly is actually not too difficult.  It just takes time and patience.

So, let’s get started, and here’s what you need.

  • 1 slab of pork belly, roughly 4lbs
  • Dry rub of your choice
  • 4 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of BBQ sauce
  • BBQ spray
    • 1 cup of coffee
    • 1 cup of apple vinegar
    • 1 can of beer

Simple steps to pork delight

  1. Cut the pork into 1 inch squares
  2. Place the pork pieces in a bowl
  3. Massge the dry rub all over the pork pieces
  4. Place the pork pieces on a fine grate
  5. Heat up your Traeger, or any other smoker, to 275F
  6. Once preheating has finished, place the pork belly on the main grate
  7. Smoke / cook the pork belly for roughly three hours, spraying it with your homemade BBQ spray, keeping it moist
  8. When the internal temperature reaches 190F, take out the pork belly
  9. Transfer the pieces to a tinfoil tray, and sprinkle over the brown sugar
  10. Strategically place the butter on top of the pork
  11. Sprinkle the honey over the pork
  12. Cover the pork with a good layer of BBQ sauce
  13. Mix it all together, and place it back in the Traeger
  14. Cook it for another hour
  15. Take it out of the Traeger and let it rest (cool off) a little

That’s it.  You’ve done it.  It was not hard, right?

The biggest challenge is the time it takes to prepare and cook.  You spend more time vooking these bites than actually eating.  I guess that is a good sign!

Word of caution – pork belly is a very addictive dish.  You need to practice extreme willpower not to eat all the burnt ends all at once.  The challenge is, they are so delicious and soft, especially when served warm.

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