When I first started making my own bacon the hardest part was actually finding a pork belly. I went to every grocery store in Baton Rouge and came back with NOTHING! Eventually I ended up doing a special order through Whole Foods and finally got to start on some bacon making adventures.
Times have changed and now I have a couple of reliable sources of pork belly and I wanted to pass them along to you!
Pork Belly at Costco
I am buying my bellies from Costco these days. My local Costco sells whole bellies and sliced bellies which is extremely convenient. If I want to make a slab of homemade bacon then I can buy a whole belly. If I want to make a small batch of pork belly burnt ends then I buy the sliced belly.
A huge benefit of buying the sliced belly from Costco is that I can inspect the packages and make sure that I am getting plenty of meat and not just a pile of fat.
If you do not have a local Costco then there are are couple of online options for you.
(By the way, I have never seen bellies at Sam’s Club.)
Purchase Pork Belly from Porter Road
I am a HUGE fan of the folks over at Porter Road. They have taken everything that is wrong with the commercial meat industry and fixed it in their shop.
Porter Road is based in Nashville and they only buy animals from local farmers in Tennessee and Kentucky. These are small farmers that treat their animals humanely. The pork bellies Porter Road sell comes from pigs that lived their lives in a pasture, not confined in a metal crate. This is a choice between small farmers raising animals in the sunshine versus large corporations and inhumane factory farms.
I don’t know how much shipping will be to your house but for them to ship to Baton Rouge has only cost me $5.
Porter Road sells uncured bellies in the 3 pound range that do not have the skin attached.
Purchase Pork Belly from Snake River Farms
The only problem with buying from Porter Road is that they are a small shop and they have been known to run out of specialty cuts. If Porter Road is out of stock then another source of bellies is Snake River Farms.
The bellies from Snake River Farms come from a premium breed of pig (Berkshire) that are also raised on small family farms. Berkshire hogs are renowned for their higher fat content and better flavor than the bland supermarket pork most commercial farms produce.
These bellies are uncured, skinless and come in the 5-6 pound range.
Pork Bellies on Amazon
The last time I searched Amazon for pork bellies it was pretty slim pickings.
The only belly I could find was a six pound slab with the skin on. What was interesting though is that the bellies are Spanish and is Iberico pork. Iberico pork comes from black footed pigs (Pata Negra) that have been raised in the forests where they eat a diet based heavily upon acorns.
The meat from Pata Negra hogs is always described as more complex and richer than our standard commercial pork. Standard phrases are that the meat is rosey and almost beeflike in flavor. These hogs are a step up from the Berkshire hogs at Snake River Farms.
Any Other Sources?
Do you know of any other sources of pork belly that I have missed? If so drop a comment below and I will check it out!