Pork belly is considered the favorite ingredient of millions in the world. As a result, they appear in many recipes, acting as a critical contributing factor to the deliciousness of your meals.
The best recommendations for pork belly substitutes will be summarised in our blog post today. Even if you’re a vegan, we’ve got your back because this list also includes some options for those who dislike eating pork belly or follow a vegetarian diet.
Pork Belly Substitutes: 7 Best Choice To Replace Your Pork Belly
1. Pork Bacon
Pork bacon ranks first on our list due to its delicious smell and taste, which bears a significant resemblance to pork belly.
Whatever ingredients you mix with pork bacon, its taste should always be similar to pork belly. Thus, you can easily follow your traditional recipes while processing and cooking them – maybe reducing a bit of salt because pork bacon already has some saltiness.
Additionally, there’s no need to add any oil when you fry pork bacon, as some of the fat available will ooze off while frying. You can use the same amount of bacon needed as in your pork belly recipe in most cases.
2. Pork Fatback
In fact, pork belly and pork fatback are quite the same. This type of pork – fatback – consists of both meat and fat, which will likely result in a fantastic taste if you know how to cook it properly.
Pork fatback – together with pork loin – is widely used to make salt pork. You might as well cook this pork fatback the same way as pork chops.
Remember that fatback tastes much better when salted. In addition, if you like to consume fat-flavored food, fatback should always live up to your expectations.
Grilling the fatback on its own or with some raw vegetables are also an excellent choice that’s worth giving a shot. In that case, make sure you have some chili and hot sauce on hand.
3. Pork Shoulder Cut
Pork shoulder deserves to be a potential alternative to pork belly. Unfortunately, many people believe that pork shoulder is quite tough to find, but don’t give up too soon. Spend some time in the local market; you’ll know what I mean after finishing cooking your pork shoulder and have a mouth-watering experience.
From my perspective, pork shoulder meat appears to be fatter than other cuts of pork (except pork butt). However, its lean portion is substantial and tasty. If you marinate it in your favorite sauce for approximately an hour before cooking, the result will be incredible.
To achieve an unforgettable flavor from pork shoulder, use your oven or a skillet to fry it.
If you’re making bacon out of pork shoulder, stick to the traditional recipe and seasoning. By doing this, your dish will taste like the pork belly that you already get accustomed to.
4. Duck Meat
Unlike the chicken, duck meat is usually fatter, similar to pork. Therefore, no doubt that duck meat can be a suitable substitute for pork belly.
What’s better? You are likely to find bacon duck meat available in most supermarkets and traditional markets worldwide.
When dealing with duck meat, you can apply the same cooking method as the standard pork belly. Nonetheless, pay more attention to the spices you use, or else the overall flavor will differ from pork.
To prevent that scenario, rely on special seasonings to add to your duck meat and replicate the taste of natural pork belly. You’d better combine various spices to achieve a smooth and attractive savor instead of just using pepper and salt.
5. Goose Meat
Another worth-mentioning alternative to pork belly is goose meat. It contains high fat and tastes awesome, offering a perfect balance of rich texture and sweet flavor.
Like duck meat bacon, goose meat is also widely available in the markets.
However, keep in mind that goose meat tends to be firmer and tougher than other types of meat. To tenderize your goose meat, soak it in a mixture of spices and oil before cooking for at least an hour.
How you process goose meat will depend on the type of seasoning you use. In most cases, the result should be great and look amazing to the eyes.
6. Beef Bacon
When it comes to pork belly substitutes, you cannot miss beef bacon. Many famous chefs have considered it one of the best choices out there, especially when adding the right spices to enhance its flavor.
If you like to eat fried food, don’t hesitate to fry beef bacon. Besides, you can combine it with traditional dishes and easy-baked goods to have a more diverse experience.
Last but not least, you should choose pork belly from grass-fed cows (instead of commercial food) for the best flavor and quality, which is more delicious and natural.
7. Turkey Bacon
If you have no other choices, turkey bacon can also be a good-to-go option.
Nevertheless, its taste seems to be pretty different from the original pork belly. This is because turkey bacon does not contain the same nutrient ratio as pork belly (high in fat, salt, and calories). Yet, people who desire a healthy lifestyle and diet should feel like no problem.
Since it’s low in calories while having more saturated fat and sodium than pork bacon, turkey bacon offers more health benefits. Check out Healthline’s article for more information and insights.
Bonus Options: Vegetarian Substitutes For Pork Belly
Everyone should make a healthy diet a priority if possible. Even if you are a meat lover, you had better try a vegetarian diet once in a while
Some groups of people are not allowed to eat pork due to religious reasons. For example, consuming pork is banned in Judaism and Islam. Others avoid pork consumption for health reasons, as some studies show and prove that red meat is less healthy than white meat. Thus, they decided to adopt alternative vegetarian diets.
Beans have successfully substituted bacon in several recipes of soups or sauces. There are numerous types of beans available today, each capable of supplying adequate nutrition, color, flavor, and texture to your cuisine.
Keep experimenting with as many beans as you like. Who knows, maybe this will turn out to be a new healthy eating habit that makes you fall in love immediately.
On the other hand, the time needed for cooking beans is not as much as that for pork belly – just approximately one hour for both the preparation and cooking stage.
Tempeh is also a fantastic vegetarian substitute for pork belly. It is even regarded as a superfood that provides many valuable nutrients.
This vegetarian ingredient has a pleasantly rich flavor and texture. Tempeh is made of grains and soybeans that have been mildly fermented and processed. Not only does tempeh works well as a pork substitute, but it can also replace other types of meat as well.
Ready-made tempeh is widely available in stores. It comes in various forms, including wheat gluten and seitan, making it an attractive meat alternative in sandwiches. Depending on the recipe, the proper tempeh seasoning will help you get the expected results.
Because tempeh is a frozen meal, it’s critical to cook it thoroughly. It can be grilled or fried in the same way as pork.
Tofu originates from soybeans, just like tempeh. Many people criticize tofu for its bland taste. Nevertheless, this is the advantage of tofu when it comes to satisfying your taste.
As long as you add seasoning to your liking, the taste of tofu will be improved much better, more than enough to replace your pork belly. Also, tofu is versatile in taste and cooking styles. It is suitable for a considerable number of dishes.
There are various types of tofu on the market, including processed products, namely wheat gluten, mixed tofu, and soy protein isolates.
To make tofu taste like pork, you just need to find the right recipe. In most cases, people will soak the tofu in their mix of spices before cooking for about one hour to achieve the expected flavor.
Soy is used in almost all meat substitute recipes, including bacon. It’s well-known as its texture is more similar to meat than any other vegetarian choice.
Furthermore, dried soybeans are inexpensive and easy for everyone to prepare. However, when cooking soybeans, be mindful that they often absorb a lot of water. Hence, cook it for a more prolonged period is recommended.
Pro tip: Season the water before boiling it with the soy. Like a sponge, the soybeans will “suck” both water and spices. Keep an eye on it because your soybean pot could run out of water and burn itself.
Once the soybeans have been boiled, they can be cooked exactly in the same way as pork. Adjusting spice and timing may be a little challenging for a newcomer, but through regular practice, you will eventually become accustomed to it.
Lastly, despite their comparable texture, soybeans do not have the same taste as meat. In fact, it still has a subtle but distinct soybean flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Cook Pork Belly?
When it comes to pork belly, there are a plethora of recipes to choose from. Pork belly can be fried and served with a variety of tasty side dishes. You can also bake using a more complicated recipe. For instance, pork belly is likely to be a must-have for every get-together barbecue with family and friends.
As mentioned in this article, there may be no differences between the cooking method for pork belly and its substitutes. However, remember to adjust the cooking time properly for each dish based on what you have on hand.
What Is The Difference Between Pork Bacon And Pork Belly?
Pork bacon and pork belly differ essentially in their origin. The pork belly is taken from the hog’s belly only. Meanwhile, pork bacon can be made from various meat types then salted for one week.
After this brining process is over, the pork bacon is then smoked and dried (in some cases). Bacon is processed meat; meanwhile, pork belly is raw meat.
Is Salt Pork The Same As Pork Bacon?
The salt pork is derived from the fatter portion of the loin or pork belly. Unlike pork bacon, salt pork is neither smoked nor dried. This meat type is usually salted a couple of days after cutting.
What Cut Of Meat Is The Pork Belly?
The pork belly comes only from the belly of the pig. It can come from any part of the abdomen, but the percentage of fat and lean will not be the same at each cut of meat.
Listed above are our best recommendations for Pork Belly Substitutes. Whether it’s meat or vegetables, all you have to do now is pick your desired recipe and go fr the right ingredients.
When referring to vegetarian options, you’ll need more patience and creativity. Since tofu and soy are flavorless, getting the pork flavor you want will require some practice.
Initial attempts at these alternatives may not be as successful as expected. Nevertheless, you will have a better cooking experience over time and achieve your ultimate goal of making an enjoyable meal even without pork belly.