Hello to all of our amazing readers. This article is all about pork belly, what you need to look out for before you purchase it and where the best places to find this cut of meat will be.
If you are new to buying this cut of meat it can be tough to know where you will get the best quality. Luckily for you, we have you covered. Because we are going to cover that and more in this article.
Let us tell you all about this tender meat and where you can purchase it. So, without further ado, let us begin!
What is Pork Belly?
Pork belly has a rich flavor and chewy texture that makes it perfect for adding to recipes or using as an ingredient in its own right. You can find pork bellies at any grocery store, but if you are buying them fresh, make sure they have not been frozen.
The fat on pork bellies helps keep the meat tender. Pork belly is most often served with savory dishes, like stews, soups, sautés, roasted meats, and braises. It’s also great in stir-fries, sandwiches, burgers, tacos, and panini.
The reason it is so popular is that pork belly is a fatty cut of meat. This means that it cooks up really well, especially when cooked slowly over longer amounts of time. Pork belly is delicious all by itself. However, it is also perfect for use as an ingredient in other foods, such as roasts, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, pasta, etc.
The key thing about cooking pork belly is making sure you don’t overcook or undercook it. When we say “undercooked,” we mean that the exterior should be crispy while the center still needs to remain juicy.
For this reason, you will want to avoid microwaving pork belly due to the fact that the heat can destroy the integrity of the muscle fibers.
Pork belly meat can be absolutely delicious if it is prepared right. But, where can you actually purchase this delicious pork? Well, let us answer that for you in the next section.
Where Should You Go to Buy Pork Belly?
Now it is time to answer the question you have all come here to have answered. Where should you go to buy pork belly? Well, no point in dragging it out. Let’s get started!
If your local supermarket or butchers do not have pork belly it might be a good idea to check out an alternative or specialty shop. Asian food markets, for example, often sell meat like this. The only issue with this option is that it can be quite expensive.
But, if you are in a tight spot and need good quality meat, an alternative store is a fantastic option.
Farms in Your Local Area
Purchasing your meat from local farms is extremely popular at the moment. This is because there is less of a carbon footprint and of course you can support local businesses.
On top of that, you can be assured that your provider treats their animals humanely and produces only the best meat. If you do not know about any farms in your area it is quite easy to find out more.
All it takes is a quick google search or a post on social media and you will quickly find some good suggestions. If this fails you can always ask your butcher.
But the point here is that purchasing meat from a local source will offer you incredible quality and assurances about the conditions the animals were raised in.
Stores like Sam’s Club or Costco often have pork belly at a reasonable price. You may even have a choice between sliced and whole pork belly.
If you want more freedom over the seasoning and curing it will be better to get a whole pork belly as opposed to the sliced. It is also a better way to purchase this cut of meat in bulk and save money.
Supermarkets do not always have raw pork belly and if they do, it is typically cured or smoked. This sadly means that you will probably not have as much freedom with the flavoring of your pork.
But, sometimes at the butchers’ section, you can get lucky with finding a cut of this meat that has not been treated. If not, see if you can make a special order.
If you have failed to find any shop, farm, supermarket, or alternative store you can try searching for an online option. Below are three of the most popular stores you can visit:
- Buy Pork
- Crown Cow
- Porter Road
One downside to purchasing from any of these stores is that they can be quite pricey. On top of that, you will not get the opportunity to pick out your cut of meat.
So, getting that pork belly with a perfect layer of fat and marbling may not be possible with this option/ But, if you have no other options this is a good place to get this cut of meat.
Why is Pork Belly a Good Idea?
Pork belly is the perfect meat if you are looking for meat that is succulent, diverse, and delicious. Not only does it taste good on its own, but it is also perfect for a variety of different recipes. There are many reasons why pork belly is one of the best cuts of meat to eat. Here are some more:
- Pork belly is low in calories.
- Its lean nature gives it a lower level of cholesterol than regular meat.
- It is low in sodium and contains very little saturated fats.
- Pork belly tastes delicious on its own, or it can go into many types of cuisines and recipes.
- It can be used in a wide array of dishes, from sandwiches, ribs, pasta, salads, pizzas, soups, and even appetizers!
So, what do you need to know before purchasing pork belly? We’ll cover that below!
Things to Consider When Purchasing Pork Belly
Before you purchase pork belly there are some things you might want to consider. This is why we have curated a selection of things that you should look out for when you are deciding where to purchase your pork belly. There are some common mistakes people make when they are looking for pork belly meat.
That is why we have created this section. So, you can learn everything you need to know. So, without further ado let us take a look.
The Quality of the Meat
The quality of your pork belly can really affect how tasty the meat will be. If the pork belly you buy is too tough, then it won’t cook properly.
Then again, if the pork belly isn’t tough enough then you may end up having to put in extra effort to achieve results. To avoid these problems, you need to ensure that the pork bellies you purchase are high-quality and that all parts are of equal size and thickness. This way you get a piece that will cook evenly throughout.
So, how do you tell if pork belly is good quality? Well, you can determine the quality simply by checking the packaging and label information that comes with the meat. Check if they mention the source of the product; whether it was raised locally, humanely treated, organic, antibiotic-free, etc.
Also, make sure to check the expiration date. Choosing a reputable brand name is also an important factor in the quality of your pork belly meat. You shouldn’t necessarily stick to just one brand, though. It’s better to find one with great reviews and a track record of providing quality products.
It could also just be that it is worth spending a bit more money on quality.
On top of local sources having better quality, you can also get an idea of what the meat will be like based on the breed of pig they use. The breed standard and breed rep for different animals varies enough that it will have an impact on how your meat will taste or how the marbling of the meat will look.
For example, traditional breeds of pig-like the large black or Tamworth are well known as meat pigs and because they are bred for meat we have an idea of the breed standard.
So in the end, there are a lot of things that can affect the quality of the meat you buy. It is up to you, in the end, to make sure that you understand what exactly to look out for, and with our guidance, you now have a rough idea how to tell pork belly is of good quality.
If you have decided that purchasing pork belly in bulk is a good option for you, the next step is to consider the implications of this decision.
How are you going to cure the meat? How are you going to flavor the pork belly? There are several practical concerns that need to be sorted out as a result of bulk buying this delicious cut of meat.
So whether you are making bacon, smoking the meat, or buying pork belly in bulk, make sure that you have thought about the logistics.
Shopping locally is a critically essential thing you can do as an individual that will support the businesses and farms in your area. This is why purchasing pork belly that comes from a local area is a good idea.
On top of that, by doing this you can be more sure that the animals were treated humanely, had good living conditions before they were slaughtered and butchered.
But, the way that the pigs were raised and what they eat does have a big impact on the flavor of the meat, and of course, we are all advocates here for humane and kind treatment toward all animals. Even if they are destined for the table.
The size of your pork is also something you will need to consider. Different brands offer varying sizes. Some tend to have larger chunks while others come in smaller pieces. However, regardless of the size, make sure that it’s consistent among each piece so as not to waste any part.
Purchasing pork belly in bulk is also a great way to save money. But if you want to do this you will need to be careful where you get the meat from. Some stores may not sell larger pieces of meat.
If you frequently make bacon from pork belly it might be a good idea to purchase a stand-alone freezer, so you can store larger quantities of pork belly.
The takeaway from this is that the size and quantity of the pork belly are important and certainly something that you need to be considerate of.
How Expensive is it?
Pork belly can be a money-saving investment. Buying small batches to keep for later use or freezing them to create other meals can work well. The cost per pound can vary widely, and it will depend on where you are and where you are getting your meat.
But making your own bacon from this cut of meat will definitely save you money in the long run. It is cheaper per pound when you compare the prices to store-bought bacon. This may not always be true, but this is what we have found in our experience.
Whether you decide to buy your pork belly in bulk from a butcher shop, grocery store, or online retailer, there are many factors that go into making the final choice.
This includes the origin, type of meat, price, shelf life, and of course how much you like the taste of the meat. Make sure that you think through all these things thoroughly.
When choosing which cuts of pork to put towards your next meal, remember that pork belly is one of the most versatile cuts available.
That is all for this article. Have a wonderful day, and we wish you luck on your quest to purchase the best quality pork belly. Farewell.