Pork SIde vs Belly

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xjcamaro

Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Mar 16, 2009
313
13
Western PA
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?
 
Pops will prolly be along to square this... I found this on google.

http://www.mealsforyou.com/cgi-bin/customize?meatcutspork.html  

This one

http://www.highview-farm.com/images/Pork...723007.jpg

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.
 
 
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.
 
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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.
 
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

411055d7_pigroast3.jpg


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:

9844800e_halfpig.jpg

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

http://www.mealsforyou.com/cgi-bin/customize?meatcutspork.html  

This one

http://www.highview-farm.com/images/Pork...723007.jpg

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.
 
 
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. 
 
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!
 
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