What is pork belly?
Part of our Frequently Asked Culinary Questions. Click to see more answers to your questions.
Pork Belly and Pancetta
Pork belly is a fatty, meaty cut from the underside of a pig. It’s popular in several cuisines, valued for its richness and succulent flavor. When cooked, the layers of fat and meat bring out an intense, savory taste, making it a favorite for roasting and braising. Try the sliders.
Pancetta is essentially Italian bacon made from pork belly. It’s cured with salt and spices but unlike bacon, isn’t smoked. It’s often rolled and then sliced thin or diced, making it a common addition to pasta dishes and stews to enhance flavor. Or sandwich: Pancetta Baguette.
Difference between Pancetta and Bacon
While both pancetta and bacon are cured pork belly, the main difference lies in the preparation. Bacon undergoes a smoking process post-curing, giving it that distinctive smoky flavor. Pancetta is unsmoked, offering a more straightforward, meaty taste with a spicy edge from the curing process.
Substitution You can usually substitute pancetta for bacon and vice versa, adjusting for the smoky flavor if necessary. Since bacon can be saltier and smokier, using it in place of pancetta may change the dish’s overall flavor profile.