What Is the Difference Between Pork Belly and Bacon?

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By Maria Turner • Last Updated: February 16, 2023

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Difference Between Pork Belly and Bacon

When it comes to delicious meals that can be prepared quickly and taken anytime, every food specialist will tell you to go for Pork Belly or Bacon. Their popularity comes from the fact that they are versatile, and you can pair them with any other thing you like.

Most people, however, like to pair them with burgers and soup. One vital thing to note is the fact that there is no single formula to determine what pairs nicely with Pork Belly and Bacon. It is a matter of personal preference as well as the taste that one likes.

One challenge that many lovers of Pork Belly and Bacon usually have is telling the difference between them. Some people think that these foods are the same. If you are one of them, then it is time to learn how each of them is unique from the other.

This article answers this question that is often hard to settle. It explains what Pork Belly is, what Bacon is, compares the two, how each is prepared/cooked, and finally gives a verdict. Here we go:

What is Pork Belly?

Pork Belly is a boneless cut from pig’s abdominal area or the “belly” area as the name suggests. It is often sold unsliced though you can order a sliced one from your favorite butchery if you like.

Usually, it is sold uncured, and that gives you room to do what you want with it especially when it comes to recipes. You can also cook it in a couple of ways including by roasting or dip-frying.

Although it is often tough when cutting it, Pork Belly is undoubtedly flavorful when prepared nicely. Also, since it is uncured and un-smoked, you enjoy the versatility it gives you, so you choose whether you want it with soup, sandwiches or burgers among others that you may want. You should, however, ensure that you know how to play with different recipes, and you will never regret buying Pork Belly.

What Exactly Is Bacon?

In simple and straightforward terms, Bacon is cured meat from pork. It too comes from the pig’s abdominal or belly area. Other types do exist as well. Bacon is cured and is not sold fresh like the Pork Belly.

The process of curing it involves merely soaking it in salt, drying it then finally boiling or smoking before it is offered for sale. It does not mean that you won’t have to cook it since it is already cured. You will still have to prepare it before consuming.

Depending on your recipe, you can grill it, fry or bake it. One more thing worth noting about bacon is the fact that there are varieties of it out there in the market. You can get non-pork types if you want.

Pork Belly vs Bacon

Having explored what each of this is, there is no doubt that there is a difference between them worth knowing if you love them. Some people think that they are one, and the same thing yet, in reality, that’s not true.

So what are the differences that set each of them from the other? Well, there are a couple of them.

First, pork belly is raw and unprocessed meat that comes from the pig’s belly area. On the other hand, bacon is cured through a process that finally ends in it being smoked or boiled. As a result of the curing process, there is less you can play with when it comes to bacon. For pork belly, you can play around with as many recipes as possible since it is raw meat. That, therefore, sets them apart, and you should consider this when making your purchase.

Another difference between pork belly and bacon is where they come from. For pork belly, it must strictly come from a pig specifically the abdominal area. For bacon, on the other hand, it also comes from the same, but these days there are variations. In some countries, bacon is non-pork for religious reasons. For instance, there is turkey bacon that is extracted from turkey meat. That, therefore, sets it apart from pork belly since it comes from pork only.

How is Each Prepared and Cooked?

Pork belly and bacon can be prepared in different ways depending on the recipe that one loves. There are a couple of easy and delicious ways to make them. Here are some of the best ideas you can consider:

The Best Way to Cook Perfect Pork Belly

One of the easiest and the best way to prepare your pork belly is to roast it in an oven but carefully observing the recommended temperatures and methods. Want to try it?

Here is how you can do it:

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
  • Slice lines diagonally across the pork
  • Season it with pepper and salt to add flavor
  • Place it in a baking dish
  • Roast it for 3 hours since it is uncooked
  • You have your crispy and perfectly cooked pork belly

The Best Way to Cook Perfect Bacon

Although you can cook your favorite bacon in many different ways, the best method is to use the oven, and here is how to do it:

  • Preheat your oven to about 425 degrees
  • Put a jelly roll sheet as the lining together with aluminum foil
  • Put your bacon and evenly space them
  • Put a cooling rack over the bacon
  • Roast your bacon for 6 minutes
  • Turn the pan and roast for another 6 minutes
  • You have your perfectly cooked bacon

The Verdict

In conclusion, there is no doubt that pork belly is different from bacon. Although bacon can be cut and made from pork belly, it doesn’t mean that they are the same. The big difference is that pork belly is raw & uncured, and you can thus try out different recipes with it.

Another difference is that bacon does not always have to come from pork. You can, for instance, get turkey bacon, and other types. Finally, there are different ways of preparing them depending on what you love.