Supermarket standoff: Best bacon

Bon Appetit

View gallery

.
Bacon taste test

Which bacon scored best? (Photo: iStockphoto)

We have embarked on a taste test tour of supermarket foods. We nibble (or sip), we score, and we share the results to help you avoid the paralysis of Brand Choice Overload.

Today's topic: bacon.

Carnivores, rejoice. This edition of Supermarket Standoff puts front and center the meat that claims unabashed adoration from food writers, chefs, and dudes 'round the world. Bacon has inspired large-scale festivals, questionable hygiene products, and an international holiday. People love bacon.

A lot of it is produced in the U.S.--more than 2 billion pounds each year--which became quite clear when we were researching for this taste test. We whittled down the large volume of brands by choosing classic hickory- or applewood-smoked versions. We included both cured and uncured bacon; the latter is rising in popularity due to health-conscious baconnoisseurs. (Not-so-fun-but-at-least-educational-fact: the term "uncured" is a little misleading, since it's meant to indicate that the bacon is free of pork-preserving sodium nitrite. But uncured bacon generally uses celery juice, which releases natural sodium nitrate and nitrite anyway.)

Some of our tasters prefer their bacon crispy and charred, while others wanted it chewy and ham-like. Whichever camp you're in, you can be guided by both our top picks and nutritionist Marissa Lippert's favorites.


Nature's Rancher Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon
Our Favorites for Flavor

#1 Nature's Rancher Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon

Nutrition: One serving (2 pan fried slices/15g) = 70 calories, 6g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 140mg sodium, 0g total carbs, 3g protein.

More from Bon Appetit: 10 Snacks You Thought Were Healthy But Really Aren't

Ingredients: Pork, water, brown sugar, sea salt, celery juice powder, lactic acid starter culture.

Cost: $5.99 at Whole Foods in New York City.

Blind Tasting Notes: "Good, homey breakfast bacon"; "This would probably be great for a sandwich but not alone"; "Really good, crispy and flavorful"; "Good salt and pork flavor, not artificial tasting"

(See also: Best potato chips)

Farmland Hickory Smoked Bacon
#2 Farmland Hickory Smoked Bacon

Nutrition: One serving (2 pan fried slices/15g) = 80 calories, 7g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 15mg cholesterol, 260mg sodium, 0g total carbs, 4g protein.

More from Bon Appetit: Spring Pasta Recipes

Cured with: Water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphates, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.

Cost: $4.49 at ShopRite in Paramus, NJ.

Blind Tasting Notes: "Smoky and woodsy"; "Tastes like it was cooked by a campfire. I like this"; "Crisped up nicely, nice salt content".


View gallery

.
#3 Oscar Mayer Naturally Hardwood Smoked Thick Cut Bacon

Nutrition: One serving (1 skillet-cooked slice/12g) = 60 calories, 5g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 250mg sodium, 0g total carbs, 4g protein.

More from Bon Appetit: The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

Cured with: Water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphates, sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrite.

Cost: $6.99 at The Food Emporium in New York City.

Blind Tasting Notes: "Lots of flavor for a crispy bacon"; "Ham-y"; It's good--not amazing".


Nutritionist Marissa Lippert's Picks

Some comments from Lippert: "The bottom line: bacon is bacon. We all know it's not the best for us in terms of fat and calorie content, but it's pretty darn delectable and just a small amount can add incredible flavor and depth to a dish. So indulge on occasion when you're really craving it.

I sifted through our options by focusing on ingredients, as usual; we're really aiming for pork, water, salt and spices--no other funny stuff necessary to cure good ol' bacon. Then I further sifted by honing in on sodium content. Bacon can be quite salty! Those brands with less salt came to the top of my list.

Be aware of how much salt is sneaking its way into your diet for disease prevention and to keep blood pressure at bay. Some sodium is essential for our bodies, but the daily recommendation is less than 2,300 mg. That's equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of table salt, or less than 1,500 mg if you're 51 and older."


View gallery

.
#1 Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon

Nutrition: One serving (1 skillet-cooked slice/15g) = 70 calories, 7g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 135mg sodium, 0g total carbs, 2g protein.

Ingredients: Pork prepared with water, salt, turbinado sugar, celery power. Gluten-free.

Cost: $6.99 at Whole Foods in New York City.

Our assessment: Shocking! Niman Ranch, an overall great company, turned up dead last for flavor in this competition.


Nature's Rancher Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon
#2 Nature's Rancher Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon

Nutrition: One serving (2 pan fried slices/15g) = 70 calories, 6g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 140mg sodium, 0g total carbs, 3g protein.

Ingredients: Pork, water, brown sugar, sea salt, celery juice powder, lactic acid starter culture.

Cost: $5.99 at Whole Foods in New York City.

Our assessment: Hooray! We ranked this numero uno for flavor.


View gallery

.
Wellshire Thick Sliced Dry Rubbed All Natural Uncured Bacon
#3 Wellshire Thick Sliced Dry Rubbed All Natural Uncured Bacon

Nutrition: One serving (2 pan fried slices/11g) = 60 calories, 3g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 0g total carbs, 4g protein.

Ingredients: Pork, water, sea salt, less than 20% of celery powder and evaporated cane syrup. Gluten and casein free.

Cost: $5.99 at Whole Foods in New York City.

Our assessment: This ranked smack in the middle for us; some thought it was "OK" others said it had an "almost like beef jerky textured when chewed" and other were more direct: "Ew"

*Yahoo! Shopping was not compensated by any brands listed within this article.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos’ son is 19 now and the internet is freaking out over how attractive he is

      Beautiful people often have beautiful kids, and this is no exception. Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos’ oldest son is 19 and super…

      Hello Giggles
    • Stephen Hawking: 'This is the most dangerous time for our planet'

      As a theoretical physicist based in Cambridge, I have lived my life in an extraordinarily privileged bubble. Cambridge is an unusual town, centred around one of the world’s great universities. Within that town, the scientific community that I became part of in my 20s is even more rarefied. And within that scientific community, the small group of international theoretical physicists with whom I have spent my working life might sometimes be tempted to regard themselves as the pinnacle. In addition to this, with the celebrity that has come with my books, and the isolation imposed by my illness, I feel as though my ivory tower is getting taller. So the recent apparent rejection of the elites in both

      Business Insider q
    • Ric Flair talks about the fight that could 'knock you off your chair' at WrestleMania 33

      Rumour mills are in over drive as to who Triple H might fight against at WrestleMania 33, which is scheduled to take place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida on 2 April 2017. Speculations are Triple H could square off with Seth Rollins, Bill Goldberg, or even work with UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor in a segment at the pay-per-view (PPV) event. Although the above scenarios promising something spectacular, Ric Flair, who recently signed a new deal with the WWE, has opened up about a fight that could "knock you off your chair" at WrestleMania 33.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Willie Robertson of ‘Duck Dynasty’ Walks Daughter Rebecca Down the Aisle in Mexico Wedding

      Rebecca Robertson tied the knot with John Reed Loflin in Mexico on Saturday. The beautiful bride was walked down the aisle by her father Willie, Duck Commander CEO and star of the A&E reality series. Rebecca’s sister and former Dancing with the Stars contestant Sadie Robertson was one of the many wedding attendees to share their memories of the big day on Instagram using the hashtag #LoflinWeddedWife. “WOW WOW WOW what a wedding,” Sadie captioned a photo with the bride and family members Bella and Mary-Kate. “Every single moment was just absolutely priceless.

      People
    • Selena Gomez went out in her PJs and looked like a dream

      Celebrities where pajamas outside! Just like us! Who hasn’t gone to the grocery store, class, or the movies, wearing pjs hoping no one…

      Hello Giggles
    • Dear Abby: Our child's friends need help on fees

      DEAR ABBY: My daughter has been friends with twin girls for several years. Their parents are divorced, and we’ve always known that money is tight in their family. We invite them over to eat as often as we can, and they know our home is their home and a safe place. The girls are now all applying to colleges, but the twins have repeatedly expressed concern that they don’t have enough money to pay the ACT submission fees or the college submission fees. They are both working long hours and trying to save money for college. We are in a position to help them submit these applications, but don’t know how to approach the topic. We are not close with either of their parents. Most important, we don’t want

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • NYPD: Men yelled 'Donald Trump', tried to pull off victim's hijab on subway

      18-year-old Yasmine Seweid is recounting the ugly attack that happened on Thursday night. It was around 10 p.m. when the college student jumped on the 6 train to head home to New Hyde Park, when she noticed three young men in the car.

      WABC – NY
    • Video: Growing Outrage Over Road Rage Death of Former NFL Player

      The admitted shooter of Joe McKnight was released without charges while authorities investigate the case.

      ABC News q
    • Trump hits China where it hurts, with tweets on FX, trade manipulation, South China Sea

      Donald Trump has lashed out again at China, accusing Beijing of manipulating its currency, unfairly taxing U.S. products and militarizing the South China Sea.

      CNBC.com q
    • Kylie Jenner Flaunts Her Famous Curves in Cutout Bikini on Miami Vacay

      Welcome to Miami. Kylie Jenner is currently living it up in the Magic City with her rapper boyfriend Tyga, and you better believe that she has the bikini photos to prove it. The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star shared a pair of snaps on her Instagram account today which feature her rocking a black two-piece swimsuit that has a sexy cutout top and shows off all of her bodacious curves. In the images, the 19-year-old wears her long brunette strands in loose waves as she lounges on a white l

      InStyle
    • Video Appears To Show Man Punching Kangaroo After Finding It Strangling Dog

      It may be one of the most bizarre battles fought in the animal kingdom.  A video uploaded to Facebook on Saturday appears to show a man punching a kangaroo in its face after coming across the marsupial attacking a dog.  The video, which has been viewed more than 3.6 million times as of Sunday afternoon, shows the man running up to the canine-kangaroo skirmish. “Well, we’re not sure what’s going on here but the roo has the dog, not the other way around,” a man narrating the video says. Upon seeing the man, the kangaroo pauses. The distraction allows the wriggling dog to break free, sparking a near eye-to-eye boxing match between the man and the kangaroo.  The man throws a punch at the kangaroo

      The Huffington Post q
    • Watch This Hero Get Into A Fistfight With A Kangaroo To Protect His Dog

      THIS DUDE REALLY SQUARED UP WITH A KANGAROO TO HELP HIS DOG LMAOOOOO pic.twitter.com/fCfROO185z

      UPROXX
    • 11 Gifts to Give Yourself From Sephora (12 photos)

      While you’re shopping for gifts for your loved ones to let them know just how much you appreciate them, make sure you remember the most important person — YOU. You’ve made it through another year; don’t you think you deserve a little something too? We think so. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite beauty finds (all available at Sephora ), because 'tis the season to treat yourself. Related: The Best Beauty Products at Sephora, According to Sephora Pro Artists Let's keep in touch! Follow Yahoo Beauty on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , and Pinterest .

      Yahoo Beauty 27 min ago
    • Madonna Offers to Remarry Sean Penn for $150,000: ‘I’m Still in Love with You’

      The 58-year-old singer hosted a charity gala on Friday night at Art Basel in Miami, where she raised more than $7.5 million for the African nation of Malawi, the Associated Press reported. Wearing a short, black, gold, and silver-patterned long-sleeve dress, Madonna auctioned off rare photographs, tour memorabilia, and pieces from her own art collection, the AP reported — for a star-studded audience that included Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Bethenny Frankel James Corden, Courtney Love, David Blane and ex-boyfriend A-Rod. Much of the event was shared on social media, including a moment where Madonna offered to re-marry Penn if he bid $150,000.

      People
    • Carl Faces Negan and Negan Sees Carl's Face on 'The Walking Dead'

      This week’s The Walking Dead had Carl sneak into the Savior’s sanctuary in an attempt to kill Negan. During the visit, Negan got to show Carl the extreme loyalty that his subjects give their leader. Carl also got to take a look at Negan’s harem, where Negan got to show off all of his wives to the teenager.

      Superfan TV
    • Peta Murgatroyd And Maksim Chmerkovskiy Kicked Out Of Birthing Class

      Maksim Chmerkovskiy said he’s traumatized after he and Peta Murgatroyd were kicked out of their first birthing class.

      International Business Times
    • A Gunman Has Been Detained At A DC Pizza Restaurant That Was At The Center Of A Fake Clinton Conspiracy

      On Sunday afternoon, a lone gunman entered the Comet Ping Pong restaurant, a popular pizza and family establishment in Washington D.C., and fired several shots. According to the Washington Post, Police Chief Peter Newsham stated his belief that the incident was not terror related, although the gunman’s motive remains unclear. Newsham was also quick to note that this restaurant was tied to fake news and conspiracy theories, which circulated earlier this year, about the Clinton campaign.

      UPROXX
    • Trump lashes out at China after getting criticism over phone call with Taiwan

      President-elect Donald Trump lashed out at China on Sunday, accusing the nation...

      Business Insider
    • Jennifer Aniston declines Brad Pitt's dinner invite as it 'would be an insult to Justin Theroux'

      Brad Pitt reportedly invited his former wife Jennifer Aniston for dinner when they both were in London recently. The Horrible Bosses actress is said to have declined the offer as she thought meeting Pitt "would be an insult" to her husband Justin Theroux. Pitt and Aniston split in January 2005 after five years of marriage.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Plane landing gear collapses on landing in San Antonio

      Authorities say everyone was safely evacuated from a United Express plane after its nose gear collapsed when it landed at San Antonio International Airport.

      WPVI – Philadelphia