Pork belly is a fatty cut of pork from the pork loin. It has a high-fat content and is often used in Chinese cooking. Pork belly is also known as “lap cheong.”
This flavorful meat is always served on special occasions.
But what do you do when you run out of it? Do you wonder about the best pork belly substitute?
If so, check out the list of the best substitutes for pork belly below. We have also listed down how to use it for pork belly recipes!
What are the Best Pork Belly Meat Substitutes
When looking for a substitute for bork belly, you should check out the meat’s texture and flavor. The following are some of the most popular substitutes for pork belly:
1. Pork Fatback Meat
This is one of the most common substitutes for pork belly. You can find this at your local butcher shop. Pork fatback is leaner than pork belly but still contains enough fat to make it juicy. It tastes like pork belly with a little bit of saltiness. Pork fatback is a term used to describe hard fat meat instead of soft fat flesh taken from the pig. It is usually sold in packages of 10-12 ounces.
Why is pork fatback a good substitute for pork belly?
- It has a similar texture to pork belly.
- It is cheaper than pork belly.
- The same cooking methods with pork belly.
2. Pork Bacon
If you want to add bacon flavor to your dish, then pork bacon is a perfect choice. It is very easy to prepare because you just need to slice the bacon into small pieces. Then fry them until crispy.
Why is pork bacon a good substitute for pork belly?
- The pork bacon is already cooked so there is no need to cook it further.
- You can cook the pork bacon with any recipe that calls for pork belly.
3. Beef Bacon
Beef bacon is another great substitute for pork belly. It is made from beef brisket cut, which is removed before the beef is processed. Beef bacon is slightly harder than pork bacon because it does not contain much water. When compared to pork meat, regular beef bacon has a dry texture and less fat sweetness. Furthermore, beef bacon does not get as crispy when cooked as lard because it has a higher melting point.
Why is beef bacon a good substitute for pork belly?
- It can be easily cooked as grilled, fried, or baked.
- It can easily be mixed into any pork belly recipe because of its versatile texture.
4. Pork Shoulder
Pork shoulder is a boneless cut from the pork shoulder. It is quite different from pork belly because it is more tender and has a milder flavor than pork belly taste. However, pork shoulder is not as fatty as pork belly. Because of its low-fat content, pork shoulder can be used in many dishes such as stir-fries, soups, stews, and braises.
Why is pork shoulder a good alternative to pork belly?
- Tender and moist
- Low in fat
5. Turkey Bacon
Turkey bacon is a healthier alternative to pork bacon. It is made by removing the skin and fat from turkey thighs. As a result, it has lower fat content than pork bacon. However, turkey bacon is not as salty as pork bacon or other types of meat. It is mainly used in sandwiches instead of bacon.
Why is turkey bacon a good substitute for bacon?
- Recommendable for those who want less sodium-content on the food
- Has a lower fat content
- Fewer calorie content
6. Goose meat
A beef navel is a lean cut of beef meat that comes from the top round section of the cow. It is usually sold as steaks, but it can also be ground into hamburgers. The main difference between navel and chuck steak is that navy has a higher percentage of fat content. Therefore, it is recommended that you use this type of meat only if you are looking for a fatty cut.
Why is goose meat a good substitute for pork?
- Rich in fat and protein content
- Tender and juicy meat
- Goes well with marinating
7. Beef Navel
Beef navel is a lean cut of beef meat that comes from the top round section of the cow. It is usually sold as steaks but it can also be ground into hamburger. The main difference between navel and chuck steak is that navy has a higher percentage of fat content. Therefore, it is recommended that you use this type of meat only if you are looking for a fatty cut.
Why is beef navel a good substitute for pork belly?
- Perfect meat alternative to burgers and sandwiches
- Same cuts as pork belly
8. Duck Meat
Duck meat is one of the world’s most popular meats. It is available at almost every grocery store across the globe. Duck meat is similar to chicken breast meat in terms of size, shape, and color. However, duck meat is much fattier than chicken breast meat. Moreover, it is richer in fat than pork belly.
Use the correct quantities of pork seasonings to make your duck meat bacon taste like pork belly. We’re not merely using salt and pepper; instead, be more inventive by combining various spices to your duck bacon to mimic pork belly.
Why is duck meat a good substitute for pork belly?
- High in fat
- Similar to pork belly
- Conveniently available in supermarkets
What are the Best Vegan Substitutes for Pork Belly
These vegan substitutes will definitely work for you if you do not eat meat. They have been created to imitate pork belly, and they are all easily accessible. Here are some of them:
This is one of the best vegan alternatives to pork belly. It is extremely versatile since the blocks of tofu can be used in any dish or recipe where meat would normally be used. To prepare tofu bacon, simply slice it thinly and cook it until crispy. You may then add different flavors, such as garlic, onion, chili powder, or even maple syrup.
Why is tofu a good substitute for pork belly?
- Easy to cook
2. Tempeh Bacon
Tempeh bacon is another great option for pork belly. It tastes just like real bacon without having any animal products. For preparation, first, soak the tempeh overnight in water. Then drain and pat dry. Slice it into thin strips and pan-fry until crisp. Add some seasonings, such as soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil.
Why is tempeh bacon a good substitute for pork belly?
- No need to worry about the cholesterol content
- Taste like real bacon
Soy bacon is another great vegan substitute for pork belly. It’s easy to make and requires no cooking process. Simply combine soybeans, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Boil the mixture for 20 minutes and let cool before slicing.
Why is soy a good substitute for pork belly?
- Low in calories
- Healthier alternative
- Less sodium content
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Pork Belly the Same as Pancetta?
Yes, pork belly meat and pancetta are both types of bacon. However, there are differences between them. Pancetta is made with pork shoulder, while pork belly is made with pork loin. Both of them have a high fat content, which makes them perfect for frying.
Is Slab Bacon the Same as Pork Belly?
Slab bacon is also known as American bacon. This type of bacon has a thicker layer of fat on top. The rest of the meat is leaner compared to other types of bacon.
Is Uncured Bacon the Same as Pork Belly?
Uncured bacon is usually made from pork belly, but sometimes it comes from the leg area. It does not contain nitrates or nitrites, and therefore, it is safer to consume.