My little boy is a pretty lucky kid. He ate at more world-ranked BBQ joints before the age of one than most people do in their whole lives, and at some of those more than once. He spends most of his time while I am on the grill or smoker with his nose pressed up against the patio door glass. He’s a kid who loves his ‘cue. Unsurprisingly, he also loves bacon (and now my Bacon Burnt Ends) and eats them with glee and an expression on his mug that we’ve come to jokingly call “bacon face”.
Given his love of BBQ and bacon, I was excited to be passing through Houston on a BBQ road trip this past year so I could stop at Heim’s BBQ and try their famous bacon burnt ends.
The name is sort of a misnomer. They’re not sliced thin like bacon, burnt to a crisp, or necessarily from the end of the pork belly. What they are is cured or dry brined pork belly, smoked to doneness, chunked, sauced, and cooked until the sauce coat is baked on like you would ribs. So, they’re basically heaven. They along with beef short ribs are my two favorite pieces of BBQ. (By the way, may I recommend our Texas Keto BBQ Sauce?)
So, I finally was going to get the Heim’s bacon burnt ends experience, except I had made a rookie BBQ fanboy error in planning the trip — always check the hours. Texas BBQ joints have a bit of a reputation for having random hours and open days. I managed to schedule our trip during one of these times. For the time being, I had to be satisfied with reading about them in Texas Monthly’s BBQ section and doing enough research to attempt what I feel is my own platonic ideal for smoked and chunked pork belly.
This recipe is the culmination of about a half dozen attempts and a few grease fires later, but my chief BBQ tester didn’t seem to mind at all.