Pork Belly vs Bacon: A Comparison of Indulgent Pork Delights

Pork Belly vs Bacon: A Comparison of Indulgent Pork Delights

If you’re looking for a tasty, savory treat to add to your next meal, then you should consider the debate between Pork Belly vs Bacon. In recent years pork belly has become increasingly popular among food lovers and chefs alike – but is there really any difference? Is it worth trading bacon in for this new-found favorite?

In this blog post, we will compare and contrast pork belly vs bacon so that next time you’re choosing between these two delicacies, it’ll be a breeze. We will explore their culinary differences and similarities in terms of taste, texture, cooking methods, and how they pair up with other ingredients between pork belly vs bacon. Whether you prefer thick-cut slabs of bacon or succulent strips of pork bellies grilled over an open flame – by the end of this post everyone will have their answer on what tastes better!

What is Pork Belly?

A pork belly is a cut of meat taken from the underside of a pig. The fatty, succulent strips are usually sold with the skin still attached and is most often used for bacon or as a roasting joint.

Pork belly can also be cured, smoked, or boiled and served in many dishes around the world. From Chinese braises to Filipino deep-frying, its preparation values make it deliciously fall-apart tender when cooked correctly.

What’s more, pork belly is a healthier alternative to streaky bacon because there are no preservatives like nitrates or nitrites found in cured meats.

What is Bacon?

Bacon is a delicious, classic meat that has been beloved by many for generations. It is typically cut from the pork belly of a pig, but can also be sourced from locations like its back, collar, shoulder, and jowl. What’s more, there are also “bacon” alternatives cut from cows, turkeys, and chicken if you’re looking for something different.

It’s cured and smoked, giving it its distinctive flavor. Its typically presented as thin slices that are cooked by pan-frying, boiling, or grilling before being enjoyed on their own or used to add flavor to dishes such as salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes.

In the U.S., pork bacon tends to be salt-cured or brined – but it’s worth noting that some cuts sold in stores can contain unhealthy compounds like nitrates and nitrites for color and extended shelf-life.

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However, if you’re looking for healthier and higher quality bacon that does not contain these compounds then ButcherBox bacon could be a great option – as it’s sourced from heritage-breed pigs without any of these unnecessary chemicals!

-Why Is Bacon Called Bacon?

The term “bacon” is likely derived from a combination of two Old English words: “bak”, which means “back”, and “one”, which means “pig meat.” Put together, these words mean the side of the pig that bacon is usually cut from.

-Types of Bacon:

There are several types of bacon, from standard supermarket varieties to artisan-cured versions.

-Regular Bacon: This type is the most widely available and is made from different cuts of pork belly such as a center cut or streaky bacon. It’s cured with a mixture of salt, sugar and spices before it’s smoked and then cooked.

-Thick Cut Bacon: As its name suggests, this variety is cut thicker than regular bacon which gives it a richer flavor and more robust texture.

-Artisan Bacon: Artisan bacon is made by small producers who use their own unique curing methods and recipes to achieve a particular flavor profile.

-Canadian Bacon: Also known as back bacon, this type of bacon is usually made from a leaner cut of pork belly that has been trimmed and cured. It’s generally not smoked and has a mild flavor.

What’s the Difference Between Pork Belly and Bacon?

1-The Location:

Bacon is usually sourced from a pig’s belly, although other cuts such as the back, collar and shoulders can also be used. It’s cured with salt and then smoked to achieve its signature flavor. Pork belly, on the other hand, is made from the underside of the pig and has a richer flavor than bacon due to its higher fat content.

2-The Curing:

Curing is an important step when it comes to making the delicious bacon we all know and love.

Curing involves a preservation process that helps enhance the shelf life, texture, and flavor of pork belly meat. It involves using salt and nitrates to prevent spoilage or contamination.

Without this curing process, we couldn’t enjoy the flavors of bacon—so while they may look similar on the surface, pork belly and bacon can really only be distinguished by the curing process that one has gone through.

Understanding this process makes it easier for buyers to choose between the two options wisely when out at the store.

3-The Flavor:

It’s no wonder bacon is such a popular dish, when the curing process with salt gives it a salty flavor that makes you salivate just at the thought!

Moreover, smoked bacon adds an extra layer of flavor along with its smoky notes due to the wood used in the smoking process.

On the other hand, Pork belly has its own special taste that requires additional salt and spice for flavor. Whether you choose salted or smoky bacon or prefer something new like pork belly, one thing is certain–your palate will be tantalized!

The flavor of bacon is salty and smoky due to the curing process it goes through, while pork belly has a more unprocessed taste that allows its natural flavors to shine through.

4-The Taste:

Bacon will have a smoky flavor due to the smoking process it goes through while pork belly has more of an unprocessed taste that allows its natural flavors to shine through. The texture of both can vary depending on how thickly or thinly they are sliced and cooked but overall pork belly has a softer texture than bacon- it tends to melt in your mouth.

5-The Price:

The price of pork belly and bacon can be a deciding factor when it comes to purchasing either one. Bacon tends to cost more per pound than pork belly because of its enhanced flavor and the additional curing, smoking, and preparation processes that go into making it.

Although both are relatively inexpensive compared to other cuts of meat, bacon will usually cost between 8-15 dollars per pound while pork belly may range from 5-10 dollars per pound. So depending on your budget you can decide which type would best fit your needs!


When buying bacon and pork belly, I like to have the butchers slice it in a certain way.

Bacon is usually cut thin so that it will cook easily when frying, and pork belly is sliced thicker due to its versatility in different recipes.

Thickness plays a huge role in how these cuts of meat are cooked and prepared. Knowing exactly how I want these meats cut makes all the difference when I’m cooking at home.

Bacon is usually cut into thin slices while pork belly can be thicker or thinner depending on how you wish to cook it.

7-When to Use Pork Belly vs. Bacon

Bacon and pork belly are two must-have ingredients for those who love to cook!

Use Bacon if You’re:

Perfectly cooked bacon can add texture to salads, pasta, and side dishes for a delicious upgrade.

It also can help take breakfast sandwiches to the next level – something as simple as an egg and cheese with bacon between two slices of toast can be taken from ordinary to extraordinary.

Wrapping certain ingredients in bacon is also an excellent idea, like shrimp tails or pineapple chunks, for a tasty contrast of both sweet and savory flavors.

Bacon is traditionally prepared thin-cut, by frying it in a shallow pan over heat. Once cooked, you can enjoy the bacon just as it is or add it to salads, soups and sandwiches.

Use Pork Belly if You’re:

Use pork belly if you’re looking to transform an ordinary meal into an extraordinary experience.

From slow cooking and oven-roasting to deep-frying and making a stew, the possibilities are endless. Pork belly brings an unbeatable flavor profile to noodle dishes like ramen, while also standing up beautifully in braises.

On top of that, there’s nothing quite like the smoky flavor of pork belly when it comes to grilling.

The dish can be served as an entrée or added to salads, sandwiches, BBQ spreads, and side dishes. It’s no wonder, why cooks all over the world, prefer pork belly for its versatility and taste!

Pork belly can be prepared in various ways to bring out its excellent flavor – oven-roasting, frying, braising, slow-cooking, or smoking.


Bacon and pork belly may be similar in the way they look, but when it comes to nutritional content, pork belly is the healthier choice.

It contains less cholesterol and saturated fat than bacon due to its lower fat content. It also has a higher amount of protein than bacon which makes it perfect for those who are looking for leaner sources of protein.

So while both types of meat are delicious, pork belly should always be your go-to option if you’re looking to make healthier food choices.

Regardless of what type or preparation method you choose, bacon and pork belly will always remain staples in the kitchen! Enjoy them both in moderation and savor their unique flavor profiles every time.

9-The Cooking:

Bacon is usually cooked by frying, boiling, or grilling it while pork belly can be slow-roasted, grilled over an open flame, seared on a stovetop or cooked in a smoker. While both methods can yield delicious results, slow-roasting pork belly will give it extra tenderness and flavor that you won’t find with bacon.

10-The Pairings:

Both bacon and pork belly are great additions to salads and sandwiches but their subtle taste differences come into play when pairing them with other ingredients. For instance, bacon pairs well with sweet flavors like maple syrup or honey while pork belly is better suited for savory flavors like garlic, herbs and spices.

Can You Substitute Pork Belly for Bacon?

-Use Bacon if You’re:

looking for a quick and easy dish that only takes minutes to prepare, wanting the smoky flavor of bacon in salads, sandwiches, soups or burgers, looking for something crispy and crunchy.

-Use Pork Belly if You’re:

looking for a more robust flavor profile that needs longer cooking times such as roasting, braising or slow-cooking. Wanting an entrée with less saturated fat and cholesterol than bacon? Looking for a meatier texture that pairs better with other ingredients like vegetables or beans.

Pork Belly and Bacon Recipes:


  • Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
  • BLT Sandwich
  • Cheesy Bacon Pull-Apart Bread

-Pork Belly:

  • Roast Pork Belly with Apples and Sage
  • Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce
  • Char Siu Grilled Pork Belly.

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FAQs About Pork Belly Vs Bacon

Is Bacon Always Made of Pork?

Yes, bacon is always made of pork. It’s usually prepared from the belly of the pig and cured with salt or sugar which gives it its signature flavor.

Is Pork Belly the Same as Bacon?

No, pork belly is not the same as bacon. While they are both cuts of pork, they come from different parts of the animal and have a distinct flavor profile. Bacon has a smoky flavor while pork belly is more savory. Bacon also requires less cooking time than pork belly.

Are Both Types of Meat Healthy?

When eaten in moderation, both types of meat can be part of a healthy diet. However, due to its lower fat content, pork belly is considered healthier than bacon. It contains fewer calories, less cholesterol, and saturated fat, and more protein than bacon.

So while both types of meat are delicious, pork belly should always be your go-to option if you’re looking to make healthier food choices.

What Dishes Are Good for Bacon and Pork Belly?

Bacon is great for a variety of dishes such as BLTs, quiches, breakfast sandwiches, and more. Pork belly is perfect for slow-roasted recipes like roast pork belly with apples and sage or braised pork belly in soy sauce. It’s also deliciously grilled over an open flame or seared on a stovetop. Both types of meat can be used as toppings on salads, burgers, tacos and pizzas.

Are There Any Recipes that Use Both Bacon and Pork Belly?

Yes! One popular dish that uses both bacon and pork belly is char siu grilled pork belly which consists of marinated pork slices cooked over an open flame and served with a sweet and savory char siu sauce.

Is Pork Belly Better than Bacon?

That depends on your preference. Pork belly is considered healthier than bacon as it contains fewer calories, less cholesterol, and saturated fat, and more protein than bacon. However, if you’re looking for a quick and easy dish that only takes minutes to prepare then bacon is definitely the way to go.

Conclusion on Pork Belly vs Bacon

When it comes down to it, the debate between pork belly vs bacon is determined by personal preference. If you’re looking for a smoky flavor then bacon is your best bet but if you prefer something more subtle, then pork belly is the way to go. Both are delicious in their own right and can be used in a variety of dishes so don’t be afraid to try them both out!

No matter which one you choose, you can rest assured that there won’t be any disappointment at the dinner table – the only question will be whether or not you’ll have enough of each to keep everyone happy!

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