Animal Science Department



Fresh vs. Frozen Bellies for Bacon

Date of this Version

January 2003


Published in 2003 Nebraska Swine Report, compiled by Duane Reese, Extension Swine Specialist, Department of Animal Science, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Published by Cooperative Extension Division, Agricultural Research Division, and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


The use of frozen pork bellies is a common practice in the bacon manufacturing industry. Frozen bellies permit the leveling of supply with sliced bacon needs, seasonal variations and the increasing value recovery from the belly. Freezing provides an excellent means of storing bellies for more efficient use at later times. Concerns that quality does not improve with freezing and storage and a greater understanding of the impact of freezing bellies on bacon quality are very important. Bellies in this study were frozen for at least 15 days prior to defrosting and the start of processing. Results suggest that the use of fresh or frozen bellies in the manufacture of bacon would lead to similar yields. Processing yields including percent pump, smokehouse yield, slicing, and total bacon yield were very similar. Genetic line and sex of the pig impacted quantity measures including the processing yields of bacon. Longer storage times could have added to quality differences and concerns. Short-term frozen storage of bellies has minimal impact on sliced bacon quality and performance attributes.

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