1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Pork SIde vs Belly

Discussion in 'Hot Smoked Bacon' started by xjcamaro, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. xjcamaro

    xjcamaro Smoking Fanatic

    What is the difference between the two? Are they two different cuts? I went to my butcher and asked for a belly, i got one there before and he looked puzzled, and asked what i was doing with it and i said making bacon, and he said oh you want a side. So he grabbed one and it physically looked like bellies ive got before, but when i got it home and thawed it, it didnt seem like one. The belly i got before had a distinct tough skin with a layer of fat under it. This peice of side had a thin layer of skin, almost felt like chicken skin and there wasnt barely any fat under it. Im no butcher but i think its two completely different peices and i think side meat is not what i want for my bacon. I dont know what my butcher was thinking ( i really dont know him at all, ive only been in there twice) It was like i was asking for something completely out of the ordinary, but he is the one that gave me the belly the first time. Im actually very mad about it. Any thoughts?
  2. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Pops will prolly be along to square this... I found this on google.


    This one


    probably does the best job of describing the area of the hog we are talking about. There is not much difference between belly and side. They are both lean cuts and either can become bacon. (Also note that the jowl area is sometimes made into bacon.) Most probably the difference between side pork and pork belly has more to do with geographical idioms than anything peculiar about the pig.
  3. xjcamaro

    xjcamaro Smoking Fanatic

    Alight, thanks, it just seems like this peice of meat that the butcher called side meat just doesnt seem like the other bellies that i have got in the past.
  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now I have gotten many bellies and they all have had a thick skin on them. Now they do seem to be much leaner then and bacon that I have seen in the stores too. If I could get the side cut that's even more lean I think that it would be a good thing. You don't need that much fat to get good flavor out of it either.
  5. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great job researching the pig parts'n'pieces, Craig!  

    You're absolutely right, there is no difference between 'side' and 'belly', they are one in the same.  

    That being said, there is a wide difference between one side belly and another side belly; because it's the difference between individual hogs.  But, the landscape is still the same on each provided they are both cut in the same manner.

    Here is a whole pig split and laid out showing all the parts


    Same picture, except only half of it, labeled with each part, showing the proper cutting lines used to separate the pig into its correct individual parts:

  6. xjcamaro

    xjcamaro Smoking Fanatic

    Alright, thanks guys! I dont know what the deal was with that peice of meat i got then. I ended up throwing it out, the whole thing just didnt look right to me. The skin the texture the color. I think i might get one from the other butcher next time. 
  7. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I haven't seen side meat in a store for a while.  Or even heard the term for that matter.  My dad used to love it when I was a kid.  As Pops stated, my memory of it was simply as an uncured non-bacon bacon if that makes any sense.  He liked it fried up.  It can simply be salted and used for great flavor in soups, stews and sauces.  Think salt pork. Good stuff!

    Good luck and good smoking!