Food Guide

Which Pork Cut is Better For You? Pork Belly or Shoulder? Find Out Now!

As any experienced cook knows, there are many cuts of pork.

Some leaner than others, while some fattier – the choice for which cut to use is largely up to personal preference.

Pork shoulder and pork belly are both great cuts of pork, but which one is better for you to choose to cook this dinner?

Let’s learn how these pork cuts differentiate from each other in this article below.

What is pork belly?

Imported Pork Belly 'Salo' with eatable rind(skin) 1lb by HolanDeli

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Pork belly is a cut of meat from the belly of a pig.

It contains both layers of muscle and fat that are laid on top of each other.

Pork belly is used in dishes such as bacon, guanciale, and fatty sausage.

It’s important to know how to cook pork belly properly because if you don’t, it will cause stomach upset or worse.

Pork belly can be cooked using different methods, with the most common being slow-roasting or frying it.

To prepare pork belly you should trim off any excess fat and skin from the meat before cooking it.

The best way to cook your pork belly is by roasting or frying the meat until its internal temperature reaches 137 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is pork shoulder?

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Pork shoulder is the upper part of the pig’s front leg.

It is also known as pork butt.

Pork shoulder is a popular cut because it can be roasted, smoked, braised, or barbecued and has enough fat to keep it moist and flavorful.

The shoulder has plenty of connective tissue which means that when cooked properly, it creates an incredibly juicy piece of meat with tons of flavor.

What are the differences between pork belly vs pork shoulder?

Pork belly and pork shoulder are obviously different from each other because they come from the different parts of the pig.

But is there any distinction between them? Here are some:

 Pork bellyPork shoulder
Pig’s partFrom the pig’s bellyFrom the upper part of the pig’s front leg (the shoulder section)
Fat content and textureFattier because of the high amount of fat under the skin and between muscle layers  Less fat and more connective tissue, therefore it might taste chewier and tougher if improperly cooked
FlavorRicher because there is more fatLean and milder
PriceHigher because it requires more work to prepare and cookCheaper
Cooking timeFasterLonger because of more connective tissues
UseCommonly used in some recipes like bacon-wrapped dates or as a topping for pizza, being cured with salt and sugar before being cookedUsed for pulled pork, slow-cook dishes, or cured

What are the similarities between pork belly vs pork shoulder?

Pork belly and pork shoulder differ a lot from each other, however, they still have the base taste of pork, which is distinctive from beef or poultry.

Pork belly and pork shoulder are both flavorful and besides the specific taste of pork, they will absorb flavors from other ingredients that go into the recipes they are being cooked in

Which one is better?

Product ComparisonImported Pork Belly "Salo" with eatable rind(skin) 1lb by HolanDeliPork Shoulder Butt Roast Boneless Step 1
Product ImageImported Pork Belly 'Salo' with eatable rind(skin) 1lb by HolanDeliPork Shoulder Butt Roast Boneless Step 1
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Conclusion paragraph: After reading this, we hope you have a better understanding of pork belly and pork shoulder.

To determine which cut is best for your needs, you need to know what kind of dieter you are following.

If your goal is weight loss or maintenance-focused (especially if you’re a paleo eater), then the best cut would probably be either lean or super lean, which is the pork shoulder.

For people who want higher levels of fat in their diets- especially with a focus on omega 3’s from animal sources – then it may be more beneficial to cook with fatty cuts like pork belly that have lower protein content than other parts.

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Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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