When it comes to cooking pork belly, bacon probably is what immediately comes to mind. And hey, we get it! Bacon is, no exaggeration, a crucial part of so many of our favorite recipes. But pork belly goes so beyond being just where bacon comes from as well as a pretty impressive dinner protein, too. Whether you use pancetta, straight-up pork belly, or St. Louis-cut ribs, all cuts of pork belly add tons of savory richness to pasta dishes, vegetables, and even BBQ. Best of all, it's a pretty cost-effective cut. These 10 clever pork belly recipes show that saving money can also be pretty delicious too! Who knew?!
First things first: What is pork belly? As the name suggests, it's a fatty cut of meat that comes from the belly of a pig. When you spot it at the grocery store, you'll notice it looks like a large slab of marbled bacon. When cooked whole as a roast, pork belly is savory, smoky, and salty and is ideally cooked low and slow, but also crisps up perfectly when sliced. A key part of Korean and Vietnamese cuisine, pork belly to add tons of umami to our recipes for jajangmyeon noodles and Vietnamese braised pork belly.
Other notable pork belly cuts include pancetta as well as St.Louis-style ribs and spare ribs (which, despite their name, are actually located part of the belly). Feel free to swap in pancetta in place of bacon (or guanciale) for our recipes for carbonara pizza, tagliatelle with bacon & mushrooms, and creamy bacon asparagus gnocchi. It's a tiny but big-impact way to add a bit of fanciness to your weeknight dinner, guaranteed!