Cracklins

I have heard that nothing is wasted on a hog but the squeal! So what do you do with that tough skin? Turn them into crispy, salty, crunchy nuggets of love!

Start by taking the skin with fat on and cutting into 1-2″ strips. Put in a large covered pot and boil for 30 minutes to soften them up and render some of the fat out. You may want to open a window, too, as the pungent odor from boiled pig skin can be nasty.

Salt each strip and hit it with your favorite rub. The rub I used for smoked pork belly burnt ends will work well. Fire your smoker up to 225F and lay them fat side down for an hour. Then, crank the heat up to 400F and go another 45-60 minutes until they are golden brown.

Remove from grill and hit them with some more salt, rub, cayenne pepper, and/or hot sauce. These are perfect if you’re on an Atkins or Keto style of diet.

Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Similar to the succulent nuggets of beef love you get from a beef brisket burnt ends, these pork belly burnt ends are even more tender and juicy than it’s beef counterpart, and they don’t take 2 days to make!

Start with a 5# or so slab of pork belly. If the skin is on, you will need to remove it. You’re going to want to cut the pork belly into 1.5-2″ cubes, so I find it easiest to just score the skin into 1.5-2″ strips, cut away the skin, and then finish the cut, removing the strip of pork belly, and trimming the next strip.

Don’t throw out the skin! And don’t worry about cutting away a bit of fat and meat, too. You can turn these into cracklings.

Cut the pork belly into 1.5-2″ squares. Toss in about 2T of olive oil, and then season with your favorite pork seasoning. I use the following rub:

  •  1/4 cup brown sugar or Turbinado sugar
  •  2 tablespoons sea salt
  •  1 tablespoon black pepper
  •  1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  •  1 teaspoon chili powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Arrange the seasoned nuggets on a wire rack and smoke at 225 for about 3-4 hours, or until a good bark forms. While they are cooking, you can prepare your BBQ braising sauce. Take 1C of your favorite BBQ sauce and add it to 4T of melted butter and 1/2C honey.

Next, move the burnt ends into a foil pan and coat them with BBQ braising sauce mix. Cover the pan and return to the grill for 90 minutes. Cook until they get to an internal temperature of 205F. Once done, uncover the pan, stir, and leave on the grill another 30 minutes to tighten up the sauce.

Smoked Meatballs

Delicious morsels of beef and pork smoked to perfection. Drop them into a sandwich or put them on top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese!

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2C bread crumbs
  • 1/2C parmesan cheese
  • 1T sugar
  • 1T fennel seed
  • 2T Italian seasoning
  • Chopped garlic to taste (I typically use about 4 cloves)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Crushed red pepper to taste

Mix everything together and form into balls. I typically go for quarter pounders, about 3-4″ in diameter. You can make them smaller, but watch your cook time. Once they hit 165, they are done.

Smoke at lowest setting on smoker for 2.5 hours, then turn the heat up to 400F and cook for 25 minutes to finish.

Golden delicious nuggets of meat love!
A meatball with a smoke ring? Damn straight!
  1. I have made these meatballs before and now my boys are begging me to make them again. It is their…

  2. These are delicious! I have first hand knowledge 😊