12 Best Pork Belly Substitutes With Images

Pork Belly is a meat from the pig’s belly. A boneless and fatty cut of meat. Most of the time, it is often used to make bacon, but it can be used in other dishes as well. However, there are instances when pork belly is not readily accessible or available, or you might want to replace using pork belly. In this guide are some of the best pork belly substitutes that you can try.

Best Pork Belly Substitutes

Choosing the Substitute for Pork Belly

When choosing the best pork belly substitute, you may need to remember that it has to have these features:

  • It has to be boneless
  • It needs to be Juicy
  • It Needs to be tender
  • It must be Fatty
  • It must be high in protein content

If you are looking for the best meat to substitute pork belly, you have come to the right place. The best pork belly substitute that will also make your dish the same flavor as when you are using pork belly meat. Check out the list of pork belly substitute below.

Pork Bacon

The very first on the list of pork belly substitute is Pork Bacon. Considered to be one of the closest substitute there is when looking for an alternative for pork belly. Although it has a more thinner cut than pork belly. Uncured bacon is a boneless, thin strips of pork meat that contains high protein.


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The taste is pretty similar to pork belly. In fact, when replacing pork belly with pork bacon and using the same ingredients and following the same cooking process you might actually think you are using pork belly instead. Although, the same amount of pork should also be used as that of the pork belly. However, you might want to lessen the amount of salt you put into the pork bacon. Pork bacon tends to be more saltier than pork belly.

Also, most of the fat will come out of Pork Bacon meat, you don’t need to add more oil when frying it.


Pork Fatback Meat

Since Bacon tends to have a thinner cut, you might to need another pork belly substitute with a much more bigger cut. Another great pork belly substitutes is the Pork Fatback Meat, fat that comes from the back of the pig. It can either be with or without the skin. This type of meat is considered to be hard fat meat as compared to other meat taken out from the pig which are considered to be soft fat.

Pork Fatback has also the same taste as that of pork belly, making it another great pork belly substitute.

Most of the time, Pork Fatback is also used to make salt pork. What is Salt Pork? It is a kind of salt cured fat taken from the belly and the sides of the pig. Adding salt to the recipe when using Pork Fatback will make the dish more delicious.

If you want more fat but lesser meat, Pork Fatback is the perfect meat for you.

There are different cooking options for Pork Fatback, you can either grill or bake the meat. Either way, adding a spicy sauce for that hint of spiciness will turn your meat dish into a whole new level.


Pork Shoulder Cut or Boston Butt (Pork Butt)

Pork Shoulder cut is another pork belly substitute, however it is less popular as it is now always readily available and accessible. Most of the time, Pork shoulder cut a triangular cut of meat taken just above the front leg of the pig.

Pork Shoulder cut has more fat as compared to other cuts of pork while at the same time also has a considerable amount of meat too. Fat and meat all at the same pork cut making it another good alternative for pork belly. It has the same fat content as with pork belly and its texture but of a slightly different flavor.

One of the best ways of cooking this Pork shoulder cut is by marinating it first. Marinade the pork shoulder cut of meat using marinade sauce of your choice for at least an hour so. After which, you can either grill the Pork shoulder cut, put it in the oven or fry it. Either way, Pork shoulder cut still yield a flavorful and delicious dish just like when using a pork belly meat.


Duck Meat

Another meat to replace pork belly is by using Duck Meat. Although not the kind of substitute that is taken from a pig but still a good meat to substitute pork belly.

Duck meat is similar to pork belly meat in a way that it also has more fat, as compared to chicken meat. To use duck meat as a substitute for pork belly, you might actually need to make as duck bacon. The bacon is made from Duck’s breast fillets making it fatty.

Duck bacon are available and can be purchased in most of the supermarkets anywhere. You might want to check out your nearest supermarket and look for Duck meat bacon if you want to use it as a pork belly substitute.

In order for your duck meat bacon to taste like pork belly, you might want to add the right amount of seasonings. I’m not talking about just using salt and pepper, but instead be more creative by adding and combining different varieties of spices to your duck bacon to make the taste similar to pork belly.


Goose Meat

Using Goose Meat is also another great alternative to substitute pork belly. Goose meat high fat content than chicken, which makes it more alike to pork belly meat. Also, Goose meat is more darker in color as compared to chicken meat, turkey meat or duck meat.

Similar to Duck Meat mentioned above, to make it taste like pork belly you might want to turn Goose meat into Goose bacon as well. That way, the fat and the meat texture of Goose bacon will be the same as that of pork belly.

Goose Meat are likely to be harder, you might want to soften it out first. You can do this by soaking Goose meat into a bowl with a mixture of seasonings and oil for at least an hour or so. You can use your own oil and seasoning preferences for Goose meat that you would also use if you are using pork belly.


Beef Bacon

Beef Bacon or Kosher Bacon is a bacon that is made from beef instead of pork. Whilst pork bacon is a kind of meat that is smoked, cured and sliced pork belly, Beef bacon on the other hand is a kind of meat also made by curing, smoking, drying and slicing beef belly. The cut to make beef bacon is the short plate of the cow, just under the short ribs.

Beef Bacon is also considered to be one of the best substitutes for pork belly. Beef bacon is widely popular and is used in different dish varieties. By adding the right amount of seasonings, pork seasoning, the taste will actually be the same as that as if you were using pork belly for the dish.

Beef Bacon can be cooked as fried, grilled or baked. For a more richer flavor of beef bacon, it is recommended to get the meat from cows that are grass fed rather than cows fed with commercial foods.


Turkey Bacon

The last option to consider as a substitutes for pork belly is the Turkey Bacon. The fat content is lower than that of pork belly, and the meat texture of Turkey bacon is slightly different. However, if you have no other pork cut available as a substitute for pork belly you can use Turkey Bacon instead.

Turkey bacon is considered to be a healthier alternative since it has fewer calories, more on saturated fat and sodium than that of other pork cuts.

You can add Turkey bacon to sandwiches, burgers, and grilled meat salads.


Beef Belly

Beef Belly is also known as Beef Navel or Navel end brisket. It is also similar to pork belly, but made from cow rather than pig.

If you’re wondering why in most of the supermarkets, there isn’t a label that says Beef belly but rather labeled as Beef navel or Navel End Brisket. This is because cuts such as Beef bacon and Pastrami (made from beef brisket) are taken from Beef belly.

Vegetarian Substitutes for Pork Belly

The mentioned meat above to replace pork belly cannot be used with vegans or vegetarian individuals. There are also other substitute pork belly that isn’t meat, but may have the same texture than that of pork belly. To be considered a vegan substitute for pork belly, it must contain high protein.

Soy 

Soya chunks can be added to the pork belly recipes. Soy are high in protein content. Make sure to use a considerable amount of seasonings to make it more delicious and flavorful


Tofu

Tofu is also known as Bean curd that is used to replace pork meat or any kind of meat in a recipe, mostly used by vegetarians. With the right amount of spices, can be a great non meat substitute pork belly.


Tempeh

Tempeh is an Indonesian food that is made from fermented soybeans. Similar to Soy, it also has high protein content.


Beans

Although the taste and texture of the beans may not be the same as that of a pork belly, obviously, however due to its high protein content Beans are considered to be a great substitute pork belly for vegans.


Three different cuts of Pork that can be mistaken for as Pork Belly cut

Fresh Ham

  • The cut is lean but does not usually give you the right amount of fat that Pork belly can. Although Fresh ham are easily accessible.

Fresh Picnic Shoulder

  • Also contains the right amount of fat.

Bacon

  • Bacon is often mistaken to be Pork belly meat, although both comes from the same animal however they differ in taste as bacon tends to be salty than pork belly.

FAQs

Which beef cut is more similar to pork belly?

The kind of beef cut that is more similar to pork belly is the beef bacon and other cut of beef meat that is taken from the belly.

What cut of meat is Pork Belly?

Pork Belly is a kind of meat that is taken out from the pig’s belly. Although it can also be taken out on any part of the pig’s abdomen although the amount of fat and lean meat will no longer be the same as compared to Pork Belly taken from the belly.

How to cook pork belly?

There are different cooking options and different varieties of pork belly recipes. Cooking options includes frying the meat and serving it with side dishes, you can also bake pork belly and grilling is another great option.

Are Pork Belly available for purchase in the grocery store?

Most of the grocery stores sell pork belly cut. Aside from that, pork belly cut can also be available in a butcher shops nearest you.

What is the difference between Pork Bacon and Pork Belly?

The main difference between Pork Bacon and Pork Belly is that Pork bacon comes from the belly, back or side of the pig that is cured and smoked while Pork belly on the other hand only comes from the belly of the pig but is not cured nor smoked. Basically, Bacon are processed meat while Pork Belly is a raw meat.

What is the difference between Pork Shoulder and Pork Belly?

Pork Shoulder meat and Pork Belly are not the same. Although they are similar in terms of its texture and fat content however they differ from which part of the pig the meat was taken.

Basically, Pork belly is made from the belly or the underside of the pic whereas Pork shoulder is made using a cut on the top of the front limbs.

What is the difference between Salt Pork and Pork Bacon?

The main difference between salt pork and pork bacon is that salt pork comes from Loin or pork belly that has more fats. Salt Pork is not smoked or dried as with pork bacon.

What is the difference between Pork Fatback meat and Pork Belly meat?

The difference between the two is from which part of the pig the meat was taken. Fatback comes from the pigs back, while Pork belly on the hand comes from the belly or underside of the pig.

Can Bacon replace pork belly?

Yes, Bacon can definitely replace pork belly because of its flavor and its texture.

Conclusion

Pork Belly is one of the most flavorful part that you can get out of the any pork meat. Although at times it can be expensive and are hard to find, you need to find an alternative to replace it with. If you cannot find pork belly or does not want to eat pork (Vegans), there are different pork belly substitutes too choose from.

We hope that this guide has helped you understand and know more about the different pork belly substitute. You can try from the lists as your pork belly substitute to know which one suites you best.