Who's makin’ the best bacon?

Consumer Reports

View photo

.
Best bacon taste test

Photo by James Worrell


Chocolate-covered bacon, bacon martinis, bacon ice cream, bacon-of-the-month clubs—Is there any doubt that bacon is beloved? Unfortunately, there’s also no doubt that bacon is not health food. Just two slices of pork bacon can have about 80 calories, 7 grams of fat (about a third saturated), and 200 to 400 milligrams of sodium. Eat turkey bacon and you can cut those numbers in half, but you’ll cut taste too, our tests showed. We tested regular and thick-sliced uncooked bacon, precooked bacon, and turkey bacon.

MORE AT COnsumer Reports

Kirkland Signature was the only excellent product. It crisped up nicely and consistently had balanced fat and meat flavors complemented by wood smoke and a hint of sweetness. The other pork bacons were close in quality and very good overall. Niman Ranch, Trader Joe’s, Wright, and the two precooked bacons were smokier than some others; the two Hormel Black Labels were a bit sour.

The turkey bacons, cheaper but lower rated than the rest, were uniform slices of seemingly re-formed meat. They tasted low in fat, with a flavor of liquid smoke.

Bottom line. Enjoy bacon occasionally. Kirkland Signature Regular tastes best. It’s sold as four 1-pound packages, so you may need to freeze some. (In general, you can keep opened bacon in a refrigerator for up to a week.)

Very good alternatives include Great Value Lower Sodium or, for thicker slices, Oscar Mayer Thick Cut. A higher price didn’t mean better bacon: The priciest product of all, Oscar Mayer Fully Cooked, rated lower than many others.

Heating bacon in a microwave oven is quick and convenient; pan-frying gives you control over crispness; and broiling or baking lets you cook for a crowd.

Bacon 101

100% real bacon! Huh? That’s a claim on Oscar Mayer Fully Cooked.

Fully cooked. Eaten from the package, in a BLT sandwich for example, it’s not very crisp. You can crisp it by cooking, but that defeats the purpose. The fully cooked pork bacons we tested didn’t taste as good as the others.

Nitrites, nitrates. They help in curing bacon—a preservation, flavoring, and coloring process—but can form nitrosamines, chemicals found to cause cancer in lab animals.

No antibiotics ever. The animal wasn’t fed antibiotics for illness or to promote growth, a practice that can lead to a rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Niman Ranch is the only tested brand claiming to raise pigs without these drugs.

Thick cut. Some bacons boast of thicker slices, and they have a serving size of one slice instead of two. Niman Ranch is thicker than most but doesn’t advertise it.

Uncured. Curing is done with salt, sodium nitrite, sugar, and sometimes other ingredients. Uncured bacon contains no synthetic nitrites or nitrates, but (as with the Trader Joe’s and Niman Ranch bacons) it has them in natural form—from celery powder, for example.


Copyright © 2006-2013 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.

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

    • Bringing Cisco's cash back to the US would cause a rush of dividends, buybacks and M&A, CEO says

      Chuck Robbins says if all goes as planned, it would ultimately create jobs for Cisco.

      CNBC
    • Dear Abby: May I fantasize my husband's a woman?

      DEAR ABBY: I’m a woman, twice married. My first marriage was to a woman who hurt me deeply by lying and cheating. I am now married to a man who, even with his faults, is a wonderful husband. My thing is, I am still strongly attracted to women. I consider myself to be bisexual. When my husband notices that I look at women, I’m honest and tell him what I admire about a particular woman. What I leave out is that I’m turned on by them. He is not open to my actively being bisexual, not even a threesome. Is it all right for me to fantasize when I’m intimate with him that he’s a woman? I know some people fantasize about being with a celebrity or a more attractive mate, but is it all right to fantasize

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • Constant Gym-Goer Ditched Her Cardio Workouts for Powerlifting and Lost 37 Lbs.

      For years, Alice Fields was a cardio queen, who would toil away on the treadmill in the hopes of slimming down. Fields tried this weight loss method unsuccessfully for around five years, and says she “felt trapped in my own body,” until a friend introduced her to powerlifting 18 months ago. “Not only had my strength increased dramatically, but my whole body composition changed.

      People
    • New Zealand passport robot tells applicant of Asian descent to open eyes

      A New Zealand man of Asian descent had his passport photograph rejected when facial recognition software mistakenly registered his eyes as being closed. Richard Lee's attempt to renew his passport was blocked after he submitted the picture to an online passport photo checker run by New Zealand's department of internal affairs. "No hard feelings on my part, I've always had very small eyes and facial recognition technology is relatively new and unsophisticated," Lee told Reuters.

      Reuters
    • Japan's sex problem is so bad that people are quitting dating and marrying their friends

      The Japanese sex problem has become so desperate that its young population are giving up on dating and are just marrying their friends. A Government survey found 69 per cent of Japanese men and 59 per cent of Japanese women do not have a romantic partner. One Japanese aggregator website has since been awash with stories of how people have simply got married to life-long friends. The country has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, with just 8.4 children being born per 1,000 inhabitants over the last five years. Its population of 127m people is predicted to decrease to 87m by 2060. The survey, carried out by the country’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, also

      Business Insider q
    • It Just Became Incredibly Easy To Grow Marijuana At Home. Meet LEAF.

      With last month’s election, the U.S. reached a tipping point in the long fight to decriminalize cannabis. have now declared pot legal, either for medical or recreational use. Seven states plus the District of Columbia have now legalized recreational pot, and 21 others allow it to be taken as medicine. It’s perfect timing for the appearance of a high-tech game-changer for regular marijuana users: LEAF, a smart, self-contained, single-purpose grow-chamber that enables anyone to grow cannabis (or food and herbs) in their own home. The sleek machine the size of a smallish fridge launches today with an asking price of close to $3,000 (pre-orders being accepted with a $300 deposit). The price tag fits

      Forbes q
    • Woman shuts down saleswoman who called her $130 engagement ring 'pathetic'

      When it comes to love, it's not about the money. Quinn and Ariel McRae dated for two years before tying the knot. But a saleswoman where the couple bought Ariel's rings tried to put a damper on the festivities by calling the jewelry "pathetic." "My husband doesn't have a lot, neither of us do," McRae explained in a Facebook post about the encounter. "We scrape and scrape to pay bills and put food in our bellies, but after almost 2 years of dating we decided that we couldn't wait anymore, so we didn't." "I wasn't even thinking about rings, I just wanted to marry my best friend," she continued, "But he wouldn't have it. He scraped up just enough money to buy me two matching rings from Pandora." The two headed to the store and picked out a pair of rings they could afford — two rings for $130. SEE ALSO: Little boy proposes to his classmate with his mom's diamond ring McRae was was thrilled to get her rings, and then, the couple encountered a saleswoman. "While we were purchasing my rings... another lady that was working there came over to help the lady selling them to us," she wrote. "She said, 'Y'all, can you believe that some men get these as engagement rings? How pathetic.'" "I watched my now husband's face fall," she continued. Quinn was already upset that he couldn't his fiancé a more expensive ring, so the saleswoman's words crushed him. "He was so upset at the idea of not making me happy enough and of me not wanting to marry him because my rings didn't cost enough money or weren't flashy enough," she explained. "Y'all I would have gotten married to this man if it had been a 25¢ gum ball machine ring" she proudly posted. "When did our nation fall so far to think the only way a man can truly love a woman is if he buys her $3,000+ jewelry and makes a public decree of his affection with said flashy ring?" McRae quickly shot down the pretentious saleswoman, calmly saying, "It isn't the ring that matters, it is the love that goes into buying one that is." "My husband was so afraid of me not wanting him because he couldn't afford a piece of jewelry," she posted. "But here I am though, courthouse married, $130 ring set, the love of my life by my side and happier than I could ever imagine." Looks like this marriage is off to a pretty perfect start. Mashable reached out to McRae for a comment, and will update the story when she replies. BONUS: Tom Hanks photobombed a wedding photoshoot in gym shorts

      Mashable
    • Boeing responds after Trump knocks contract for Air Force One jets

      Donald Trump declared Tuesday morning that the Air Force should cancel its contract with Boeing to build two new presidential airplanes, asserting that the agreement had a $4 billion price tag. “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. It’s not clear how Trump, who frequently tweets exaggerated or baseless claims, arrived at that number.

      Yahoo News
    • Forget the NES Classic, this $49 console can play all the retro games you want

      Nintendo NES Classic is one of the hottest products of this holiday shopping season, and stores are hardly able to keep up with demand. But it’s not the only console you should consider to get your retro gaming fix. For as low as $49, the RetroEngine Sigma will give you access to a lot more game than Nintendo’s new NES. DON’T MISS: Amazon's 12 best daily deals: Black Friday returns for one 4K TV, deep Apple Watch discounts, more The campaign has a month left to hit the $20,000 needed to move forward with the project, and it already raised more than $13,000 in pledges on Indiegogo. The console is about as big as the NES Classic and supports as many as 28 distinct classic gaming consoles, so it should offer plenty of extra retro excitement, on top of what the NES Classic has to offer. On top of supporting a variety of old consoles, the new system is also supposed to make actual gaming a seamless experience for the user. The RetroEngine Sigma supports wired and wireless controllers, and can be used as an at-home media system. The system runs an Armbian OS desktop and would even let users browse the web, and “write a novel.” Sure, with crowdfunding campaigns there’s always the risk of not seeing the product delivered to your door. But assuming the team behind RetroEngine Sigma will be able to fulfill its promises, you’ll get your new “old” console in April. Head over to Indiegogo to read more about the RetroEngine Sigma console, and watch the following video to get a taste of this tiny desktop PC / retro games emulator concept.

      BGR News
    • All of the Gorgeous Photos From Mark Ballas and BC Jean’s Dream Wedding (14 photos)

      The Dancing With The Stars pro married his Alexander Jean bandmate at a Nov. 25 ceremony

      People
    • 22 heavily armed men post mannequin challenge on Facebook, much to delight of cops

      In the video, they were all clutching firearms of various caliber. Pistols and shotguns hung frozen in the air, their blunt ends aimed at various persons, who remained as still as, well, mannequins. One man was prostrate under the back of a car, as if for cover, the barrel of his shotgun peeking out. Another hid behind a plastic trashcan, flimsy protection if this were a real battle. From one angle, it appeared to be a Madame Tussauds wax museum exhibit — a re-eneacted modern-day gunfight in rural Alabama involving at least 19 guns and 22 young men, frozen in time, scored by the pulsating beat of pounding rap music. It was a version, albeit an edgy and ultimately inadvisable one, of the mannequin

      Washington Post q
    • The best bottle of wine in the world costs $6

      And you can pick it up at Walmart.

      The Street q
    • Matt Jordan Slams Kenya Moore

      Matt Jordan posted a lengthy Instagram caption slamming his ex-girlfriend, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kenya Moore.

      International Business Times
    • ‘This Is Us’ Fans Shocked by ‘Shocking’ Fall Finale

      On the midseason finale of This Is Us, Toby surprised Kate by flying across the country to declare his love for her during a Christmas party. "I can live without pizza and cookies and potato chips and whatever that brownie thing was that they were serving on the plane," Toby said. "The one thing I cannot live without, is you." After that speech, Toby and Kate snuck away to express their feelings without their clothes on, but when they were done, it was clear something was wrong. Toby was breathing heavily, and then later, he collapsed, presumably from a heart attack. Fans of the show took to Twitter to express their concern for Toby. Destinee Chrystal wrote "I'm going to be so upset if Toby dies. This is the worst cliffhanger ever," and KayKay tweeted "It took me 6 minutes to process that ending. All I know is Toby better be alive on January 10th."

      Superfan TV
    • Legal Expert Weighs in on Owner’s Responsibility for Oakland Warehouse Fire: ‘Building Codes Were Put in Place to Prevent Tragedies Like This’

      After a fire ripped through the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland, California, and claimed 36 lives, the question lingers: What could have been done to prevent such a tragedy? As the investigation into the cause of the fire – one of the deadliest structure fires in the U.S. in the past decade – continues, the building’s operator and master tenant, Derick Ion Almena, apologized for the tragedy in an emotional interview – but denied he had made it unsafe or shirked safety codes. The answer may turn out to be that both bear responsibility, Eustace de Saint Phalle, a San Francisco-based attorney for the firm Rains Lucia Stern tells PEOPLE.

      People
    • 17 times Ariel Winter set the red carpet on friggin’ fire in 2016

      There’s so much to love about the hit show Modern Family. And one of our favorite parts is the insanely talented cast –…

      Hello Giggles
    • As Trump pushes back on Boeing, consider this: His private jet cost a fraction of Air Force One

      One reason Donald Trump is pushing back on the cost of Air Force One is that his own plane cost less than a tenth of Air Force One.

      CNBC.com q
    • Tennis-Djokovic splits with coach Becker

      Tennis world number two Novak Djokovic has split with coach Boris Becker three years after adding the German multiple grand slam winner to his team. Serbian Djokovic, who won six of his 12 major titles after hiring Becker but has suffered a slump in form over the past six months, confirmed their parting of ways on his website on Tuesday. "After three very successful years, Boris Becker and I have jointly decided to end our cooperation," Djokovic, who lost his number one ranking to Andy Murray last month, said.

      Reuters
    • Julianne Hough Shares Epic Dancing Throwback with a Young Mark Ballas — and They’re Both ‘Tan AF’

      Before Julianne Hough and Mark Ballas were Dancing with the Stars pros, the longtime friends danced side-by-side in competitions as kids — and Hough has epic evidence to prove it! Prior to becoming a household name, Hough and her brother Derek moved in with Ballas’ family (his parent’s Shirley and Corky were family friends) as children — Julianne was just 10 and Derek 13 — to train as ballroom dance pros at the prestigious London dance school Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. Witnessing their love be sealed under a beautiful Oak tree in front of family friends was such a special moment.

      People