Since pork belly is more on the expensive side and can be difficult to find, you might need to use a pork belly substitute in your recipes.
You can substitute using other pork cuts, beef cuts, and more alternatives. There are even some vegan pork belly substitutes.
The key to choosing the best alternative is to make sure it offers a similar flavor and suits your needs.
Pork belly meat is a cut of pork that is tasty, boneless, and fatty.
It is fattier than other cuts of pork.
A quality pork belly cut has an equal amount of fat and meat. It comes with a creamy white fat layer which is responsible for its unique, intense flavor.
You can find pork belly in the grocery store or wet market; it’s sold in slabs or strips.
Being a common ingredient in a wide variety of recipes, you often might need to choose the right replacement for your dish.
This meat has some unique characteristics that set it apart from other cuts of meat.
When choosing the best substitutes for pork belly for your specific dish, it is important to keep these in mind.
Here is a list of the best substitutes for pork belly.
Pork bacon is processed pork belly.
This substitute is the best option, and it is as close as you can get to the original cut in terms of flavor and texture.
It has several fatty layers making its texture similar to the texture of pork belly.
You can use it in almost all your dishes.
The sweetness of pork bacon is similar to what pork belly is known for.
It comes from fat, and pork bacon has plenty of it to emphasize this flavor.
The challenge of using pork bacon, though, is you need to find the right cut or thickness.
If you want to make roasted pork belly, pork bacon is not an ideal substitute.
Pork shoulder meat is not as popular as the other substitutes on this list, and it may be more difficult to find.
This delicious and suitable substitute has more fat content than other pork cuts and has the right amount of meat to replace pork belly successfully.
You will not notice any change in taste when using pork shoulder as an alternative.
This alternative is similar to pork belly, especially when it is subjected to direct heat.
Pork fatback is the meat cut that comes from the pig’s back. It comes in slab pieces with a high-fat content just like pork belly.
It is an exact pork belly substitute in terms of cut, style, flavor, and texture.
When oven roasting or barbequing, pork fatback is the best substitute for pork belly.
Beef bacon is a meat cut that comes from a different animal but has the same texture and taste as pork belly.
It is also one of the closest pork belly substitutes. It is tender and soft and will have a slightly different taste from pork belly.
This meat cut comes from the belly muscles of a cow, just like pork belly comes from the belly of a pig.
As is typical of belly meat, beef bacon, and pork belly are similarly delicious.
Duck meat is similar to chicken meat. It is, however, tastier and fattier than chicken meat making it more similar to pork belly.
This alternative comes from duck breast, and it offers a similar sweet taste and texture.
You need to make duck meat into duck meat bacon so you can use it as a pork belly sub.
Duck bacon is also available in grocery stores. This meat is just as tender, fatty, and as juicy as the meat of pork belly.
Goose meat offers a different flavor than duck meat, but it might work as a pork belly substitute.
Some parts of a goose are too lean, and these parts won’t work as a substitute in terms of flavor and texture.
Choosing fattier parts with a high-fat percentage will be the best option.
Turkey bacon has a lower fat content and a lighter color than pork belly. It also comes with a different texture and fewer calories.
Despite its many differences from pork belly, it can still be a good substitute, especially if you cannot eat pork belly or other pork cuts.
The beef belly is a fatty cut from the underside of a cow, also known as the beef navel end brisket underside of a cow.
It has a similar cut as a pork belly, except that it’s bigger and it is beautifully layered with fat and meat.
Soy is the best non-meat substitute for pork belly.
It’s less costly and easily available.
This option does not in any way resemble the flavor of pork belly because they are completely different.
However, it is a good substitute because both are rich in protein.
Tofu is a great alternative that can be used in many recipes that call for pork belly.
It is available in different textures, depending on how it is processed.
Firm tofu can be used in stir-fries, while soft tofu can be used in soups or sauces.
Tofu can also be flavored with different seasonings. Plus, tofu is a healthy option that is high in protein and low in fat.
Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that originates from Indonesia.
It is a good source of protein and is largely considered a plant-based pork substitute.
It is made by culturing soybeans; it is rich in flavor and has a meaty texture.
Plus, it has that greatly sought-after umami flavor, making them a great replacement for all kinds of meat.
Although beans are not as flavorful as pork belly, they can still be used as a pork belly alternative in some recipes.
Beans are high in protein and come in different kinds.
You have many options to choose from to be able to have added color, texture, and flavor to your recipes.
You may not find the perfect fit, but there are some good options when you need pork belly in your recipe but cannot find it.
In choosing the best substitute, you want to get the flavor and texture closest to this pork cut and other considerations.
Your pork belly substitute needs to be:
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you should choose the non-meat substitutes mentioned above.
There are non-meat ingredients you can use to replace pork belly, such as tofu, beans, and tempeh.
Pork belly is a well-loved pork cut because it can easily be used in many recipes.
The meat content allows it to be cooked with almost any ingredients because it easily absorbs all the flavors and seasonings.
It is commonly used in stew and soup dishes of Filipino, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Danish, Norwegian, and Hispanic cuisines.
It’s often slow-cooked to make it moist and tender.
It can also be used to make homemade uncured bacon, stuffed and rolled pork belly, glazed pork belly, barbecued pork, and fried pork belly.
More ideas on what to do with pork belly:
A pork belly is carved from the belly of a pig. A pork belly derived from different parts of a pork belly can have different fat contents.
Some pork belly fats have more fat content than meat, while some cuts will have more meat than fat content.
You can cook pork belly in many different ways. You can fry pork belly and serve it with a vegetable side dish.
Pork belly barbecue is a perfect companion when hanging out with family and friends.
You can also bake pork belly or make it an ingredient in your other recipes.
Yes, you can, but it depends on the kind of dish. There are some substitutes that can only be used for specific recipes.
For instance, you cannot substitute pork bacon or beef bacon if you need pork belly for barbecues because they come in thin slices.
But, you can use pork shoulder cut or pork fastback, and almost no one will notice the difference.
Pork belly is also known as bacon. It is a fatty cut of pork that is typically cured and smoked.
Your pork belly recipes can be just as delicious with one of the substitutes mentioned above. Be mindful of the preparation method of the substitute because some may require lesser cooking times.
There is no right or wrong option when choosing a pork belly substitute. It all boils down to taste because different cuts of pork meat or meat from other animals taste differently. A little tweaking of your recipe can help you achieve the same taste as pork belly.
Availability of your substitute meat is also an important consideration. Some pork belly replacements may not be available in your area.