Pork Belly Substitute (10 Delicious Alternatives)

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Pork belly is one of the best cuts of pork you can get. 

But sometimes you need an alternative for pork belly.

Maybe you can’t find it at the supermarket or it’s really expensive!

There are plenty of different types of meat that you can use instead. 

There are even some vegan options and vegetarian options that work!

We’ve put together some great alternatives to pork belly so that you can cook a variety of dishes. 

Have a read of the guide below to find a replacement for pork belly meat. 


Bacon is easily the simplest and best substitute for pork belly. 

They’re cut from the same area, but the belly is the whole slab and bacon is just a cut of the slab. 

Pork bacon is one of the most popular substitutes for pork belly and your taste buds won’t be disappointed.

Want to smoke your own bacon? See how to do it like a pro grill master.

Pork Fatback

Pork belly is super similar to pork fatback so it easily works as a substitute. 

We recommend cooking it in the same method as pork chops. 

Be sure to salt your fatback as well, it will taste much better!

Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder is normally used for pulled pork

That being said, it tastes great and you can get some fantastic results. 

We recommend smoking it and then shredding it. See how to make pulled pork here.

If smoke your pork shoulder to make pulled pork make sure it reaches at least 200°F, this will ensure it is tender enough to shred.

Salt Pork

Salt pork comes from pork belly except that it’s placed in brine. 

This means that it will have a different moisture content and flavor than pork belly. 

But, it will still work as an alternative if you can adjust your recipe for salt. 

Smoked Ham

Ham is a perfect substitute for pork belly. It has that light salty flavor profile

Want to smoke your ham? Try my smoked ham recipe here or try my smoked Christmas ham recipe.

Duck Meat 

Duck meat is easily available and you can find it in most supermarkets. 

Duck bacon can result in some fantastic meat and we highly recommend this as a substitute. 

Be careful when seasoning your duck or the meat will be overwhelmed. 

Goose Meat

Goose bacon is high in fat but also has a great balance of sweet and savory flavors. 

It also comes with a rich texture and can be firmer and tougher than other meat. 

Be sure to tenderize, soak and process your goose meat before cooking. 

Pork Belly Recipes

Manage to find some pork belly at a reasonable price?

Try some of these recipes

Smoked Pork Belly

Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Beef Bacon

Beef bacon is a delicious dish and another fantastic pork belly alternative. 

For the best beef bacon go for stuff from grass-fed cows

This will ensure excellent quality and flavor. 

Beef Belly

This is also known as the navel end brisket or beef navel. 

Beef bacon and pastrami are likewise beef products that come from the beef belly. 

The beef belly is a perfect substitute for stews and soups that require pork belly. 

Turkey Bacon

Turkey bacon is pretty different from bacon but it also has some health benefits. 

It has a high-fat content and high sodium content, but it’s also lower in calories. 

Turkey can also be full of other nutrients making it a healthier alternative for pork belly. 

Salmon And Cod

Fish also works as an alternative if you’re not interested in other meats. 

It is also great for those that have dietary restrictions or allergies. 

Salmon and cod are the best substitutes without sacrificing flavor or texture. 


Vegetarian And Vegan Options

Not everyone has an animal-based diet and that’s okay. 

We’ve put together some vegetarian and vegan substitutes so that everyone can cook! 


Beans cook much quicker than pork belly.

They will only need one hour for both the preparation and the cooking process. 

Beans are a great option if you don’t have much time but still want an excellent substitute. 


Tofu is very different from pork but you can still use it as a substitute for pork belly. 

To get your tofu tasting like pork belly you need to soak the tofu in spices. 

One of the advantages of tofu is its high protein content and overall health benefits. 


The meaty texture of soy makes it an excellent substitute for a meat dish. 

Dried soybeans are also super cheap which makes for an affordable option. 

You’ll have to cook soybeans for a longer period, but it’ll be well worth it. 


Tempeh is made up of soybeans and grains that have been fermented and processed. 

It also comes as a frozen meal so be sure to cook it thoroughly. We recommend grilling or frying it like you would with pork. 

Pork belly is a cut of meat that’s packed full of flavor. 

And there are so many options out there when it comes to tasty substitutes. 

From beef to duck to beans and everything in between! There is something for everyone regardless of dietary requirements, preferences, or budget. 

Ultimately, it will depend on your recipe and cooking method. 

What do you like using instead of pork belly?

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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