The RV Chronicles — Makin’ bacon at the ‘Jimmy Rockford’ (Recipe: Bacon Burnt Ends)

A Sunday morning rarely goes by without me lamenting.

No, I’m not sad that I’ve chosen to stay a while in an RV down by the Galveston Bay. Neither am I upset that — after six years writing these pages — I have but 20 loyal followers.

It’s really about the eggs. And bacon.

Though the Jimmy Rockford is outfitted with a full kitchen, I do most of my cooking outdoors. On an old Coleman stove. In a cast iron Dutch oven. Atop Adam’s Little Astrodome, my cheap charcoal grill. I even do sous vide in an old stockpot, which sits just outside my flimsy door.

I’ve made some wonderful steaks, succulent Gulf seafood and even a dessert or two out of doors, but nothing causes neighborhood envy like the aroma of bacon wafting through the Sunday morning air. The excitement of Saturday night NCIS reruns, however, always seems to clip the memory of my intentions … and the bacon continues to gather frost in my tiny freezer.

Go figure that a raw pork belly — the very genesis of bacon — captures my attention. It didn’t happen on a Sunday morning, and there were no fried egg compliments. In fact, the process took half a week. A pain, really. And worth every succulent bite.


Whether served on a bun, in a tortilla or eaten directly from the pan, Bacon Burnt Ends bring an explosion of sweet salty flavor unmatched by other barbecue forms. Yes, unmatched.IMG_6400

If you have a smoker, great. If not, a cheap kettle grill works just fine. (Notice the photo of my pork belly on said grill?) If you don’t own a slow-cooker, what the hell is wrong with you? Go get one, for crying out loud!

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Bacon Burnt Ends


Bacon Burnt Ends — Smoky. Sweet. Salty.  A flavor unmatched by other barbecue. Yes, unmatched.


4.5 from 2 reviews
Bacon Burnt Ends
Bacon Burnt Ends — Smoky. Sweet. Salty. A flavor unmatched by other barbecue. Yes, unmatched.
Recipe type: Main
  • 2½-3 lb – Pork belly, skin removed
  • 1 TB – Light brown sugar
  • 1 TB – Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup – Light brown sugar
  • 2 TB – Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 TB – Kosher salt
  • 1 TB – Paprika
  1. Rub light brown sugar and Kosher salt all over the pork belly; place in zip-close bag and refrigerate for 3-4 days, flipping daily.
  2. Remove pork from zip-close bag; rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
On a smoker
  1. If you own a smoker, smoke the pork belly fat-side up over hardwood (oak, hickory or pecan) until it reaches 195°F internally. The slower (6 hours or more), the better.
On a charcoal grill
  1. Soak a couple handfuls of hardwood chunks in water while preparing the coals for cooking, about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Fill grill about halfway up with hardwood chunks (oak, hickory or pecan); burn until the wood has turned to coals.
  3. Using a small trowel or other tool, move coals to one side of the grill; place aluminum drip pan on other side (next to coals), and fill with water, apple juice or beer.*
  4. Place soaked wood on coals.
  5. Put grate on the grill and place pork belly – fat-side up – directly over the drip pan (away from coals).
  6. Cover grill and allow to smoke for about 2 hours.
  7. Remove pork belly from grill and place in slow cooker with about 2 TB of water; cook on low for 4 hours.
The final steps
  1. Remove pork belly from slow cooker or smoker and refrigerate until firm – at least overnight.
  2. Cut lengthwise (as if you were cutting bacon) into 1-inch slices; then cross slice to create 2-inch cubes.
  3. Place cubed pork belly in disposable aluminum roasting pan.
  4. Top with all ingredients on Topping list.
  5. Place pan over medium-high grill and cook, stirring regularly, until much of the fat has rendered and the topping has reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove meat from pan with a slotted spoon.
  7. Serve in sandwiches, tacos or even on a platter with toothpicks.
* - I used a leftover half-bottle of flat Prosecco.



  1. Daniel Weaver says:

    Purely awesome. It all makes me realize how uncomplicatedly delicious life can be. I have serious Rockford envy. I aspire to such greatness.

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Sir. Just be careful what you’re envious of. I think my rotator cuff is shot from typing at this ‘dining room’ table for 18 months. Meanwhile, you should come visit.

  2. Pork belly’s been on my list to smoke for years now. This might just be the recipe to use. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to make my neighbors drool!

    • adamjholland says:

      This one’s definitely a keeper, Christiane. If I weren’t feeding others, I’d probably spice it up a bit.

  3. Always last to the party, I’m embarrassed to say that after many Top Chef episodes (not so much lately) I just didn’t get what pork belly was.
    I’ve been kind of afraid to try to do something with it, s bit intimidated. I think I could do this. It looks simply amazing.
    You’re a great instructor and encourager to try new things.
    BTW I can only get four stars to load. Weird. That’s happened twice now.

    • adamjholland says:

      First, I’ll take those four stars! Thank you! And it’s funny that you mention how you were intimidated by trying to cook pork belly. For whatever reason, I was too for a long time. Not sure why, since it’s fatty (which means it’s also very forgiving). Give this a shot, Jill. And if you want to do something with fewer steps, shoot me a line. Oh, and thank you for your very kind words.

  4. OMG thanks for the inspiration! Can’t wait to share this with my family.

  5. Another one “outta the park”, Adam..!!

  6. I have a wonderful smoker and I’ve been talking about something to cook on there since the weather seems to be holding out all winter long………….now I have something! I just need to find a pork belly!

    • adamjholland says:

      Let me know if I need to mail you one. (The mail order versions are more expensive than prime grade beef.)

  7. Your sandwich looks mouthwatering Adam. There’s something about a pickle on a sandwich, gets my attention. I’d love to try this – I’ve always been intimidated by pork belly.

    • adamjholland says:

      Why is it that so many (of us) have been standoffish about pork belly? I once felt your pain. Go out there and get one. (They’re cheap.) And get busy! 😉

  8. Dang. I don’t have a slow cooker. But finally I’ve found a reason to really get one!


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