Smoked Beef Belly: A Novel Cut to Try!

April 25, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

I have only recently started smoking beef belly. The recipe was introduced to me by a fellow chef and I have been playing around with it ever since. Finally, I have found the perfect combination.

In this post you will discover the best smoked beef belly recipe and learn how to make burnt ends too. Let’s begin!

Smoked Beef Belly

What Cut of Meat is Beef Belly?

Before I share this smoked beef belly recipe with you, I first want to explain in what this cut of meat is.

As the name suggests, beef belly comes from the under belly of the cow. This cuts is also referred to as beef navel.

beef belly steak

It is the muscle that connects the brisket to the cow’s plate. It is similar to pork belly, but is slightly larger than this cut.

In addition to making smoked beef belly, this cut of meat can be cured, used to make pastrami, or can even be turned into beef bacon!

Is Beef Belly Same as Brisket?

Some people consider beef belly to be a part of the brisket while others don’t. Therefore, it really is about personal opinion.

That being said, you do prepare smoked beef belly in a similar manner to smoked brisket. In this sense, they are more or less the same.

Prepping the Beef Belly

As you can imagine from the name, beef belly has a really thick fat cap. Due to this, you have to first trim this fat.

If you leave the cut as is, the heat will not be able to penetrate through. As a result, it will take a lot longer for the meat to cook.

So, as hen prepping a cut for smoked brisket, you need to trim the fat so that it is no more than one-fourth of an inch thick.

Your prep work doesn’t end here, however.

Go ahead and flip the meat over. You will notice silver skin on this side. Now, this is a tough feature and isn’t appetizing at all. As a result, it needs to be trimmed away.

Use a sharp knife to cut away the silver skin. As you do this, be very careful not to take any pieces of meat along with it.

Initially this prep time will take a while but you will be able to cut it down as you get the hang of the process.

Smoked Beef Belly Recipe

Smoked Beef Belly recipe


  • 4lbs. of beef belly
  • 2 tbs. of yellow mustard

dry rub

  • 3 tbs. of cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbs. of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. of onion powder
  • 2 tsp. of chili powder
  • 1 tsp. of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. of mustard powder


Step 1

Trim the fat and silver skin from the beef belly.

Step 2

Combine the ingredients of the dry rub in a small bowl.

Apply a thin layer of yellow mustard all over the beef belly.

Sprinkle on the drub and press into the fat and flesh.

Step 3

Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F.

Step 4

Place the beef belly on the smoker, close the lid and start cooking.

Cook until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F.

Take out and place on the cutting board.

Rest for up to 30 minutes and the slice and serve.

How to Make Beef Belly Burnt Ends?

Do you have two cuts of beef belly and one to turn one belly into burnt ends? Here is your guide to making beef belly burnt ends:

Beef Belly Burnt Ends


  • 2 – 4lbs of beef belly
  • 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar

dry rub

  • 1 tbs. of kosher salt
  • 1 tbs. of black pepper
  • 1 tbs. of garlic powder


Step 1

Preheat the smoker to 250 degrees F.

Step 2

Combine the ingredients of the dry rub in a small bowl.

Sprinkle the dry rub all over the belly.

Step 3

Place the belly in the smoker and cook until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees F.

Take the smoked beef out and place on a cutting board. Rest for 20 minutes.

Step 4

Preheat your grill.

Cube the belly and place in an foil pan. Sprinkle the meat with brown sugar and BBQ sauce.

Place on the pan and grill for 2 hours. Take the burnt ends off and serve while hot.

Related Reading

Tips for Smoking Belly

Here are the some of the top guidelines to follow:

Choose the Right Wood Chips

Usually when I smoke beef I do go for stronger flavored woods like hickory or mesquite. However, in this case, the cut is largely made up of fat.

So, I prefer something a little milder. If you want a nice smoky, neutral flavor then oak wood is the way to go. If you enjoy your smoked meat with a little bit of sweetness, then opt for something like cherry or apple wood.

Pay Attention to the Internal Temperature

Never use time as a measure of whether or not your beef is done. Instead, always use a food thermometer to track the internal temp.

Stick the probe into the thickest part of the cut. Make sure that it goes all the way through the fat and sticks in the beef.

When the meat probe registers the appropriate internal temperature then take the beef out.

fresh beef belly

Let the Meat Smoke

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when smoking food is to keep opening the door and checking on the beef. There is no need for you to do this as the thermometer will let you know precisely when the food is done.

Whenever you open and close the door all you do is let cool air in, causing the temperature of the cooking chamber to fluctuate.

The other thing that you should avoid doing is to spray the belly with apple juice or any other kind of liquid.

While most people imagine that they are adding moisture although they are really doing is washing the seasoning off.

Due to all the fat, this cut has all the moisture it requires. As long as it cooks to the right internal temperature, you shouldn’t have any issues with dryness.

Rest the Smoked Belly

Last but not least – always rest the meat. This is important when making smoked beef or when making burnt ends.

By allowing the beef to rest, you allow the cut to reabsorb any moisture that it has lost. In doing so, you get a nice and tender dish. Skip this step and you will be left with tough, chewy beef no matter how well you cooked the dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Beef Belly Used For?

It can be used for smoking, to make pastrami, or to be used as bacon.

2. What is the Best Part of Beef to Smoke?

Any part of beef from brisket to chuck can be used for smoking.

Wrapping It Up

So there you have it – all that you need to know about smoking beef belly! This is definitely a unique dish but one that you should definitely try out. It is so succulent, you are sure to want to try this dish over and over again!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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