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

    • A Mysterious Blob Has Washed Up On A Beach In The Philippines

      A giant, hairy blob has washed up on a beach in the Philippines, baffling locals and prompting a worldwide race to identify it.

      The Huffington Post UK q
    • This teen’s warning has people looking out for shirts wrapped around their windshield wipers

      If you were getting into your car late at night and saw a shirt wrapped around your windshield wiper blade, what would…

      Hello Giggles
    • Infant who survived in 1920s sideshow incubator dies at 96

      Lucille Conlin Horn weighed barely two pounds when she was born, a perilous size for any infant, especially in 1920. Doctors told her parents to hold off on a funeral for her twin sister who had died at ...

      Associated Press 54 min ago
    • Honey Boo Boo Reveals How Mama June Hid Shocking Weight Loss from the Public: ‘She Went Overboard’

      Honey Boo Boo is spilling all of the details surrounding her mother’s body transformation. Stopping by PEOPLE Now, Mama June Shannon‘s daughters Alana Thompson (AKA “Honey Boo Boo”) and Lauryn (“Pumpkin”), opened up about watching their former pageant mom go from 460 lbs. to a size 4. Since losing weight and filming for WE tv’s new docu-dramedy Mama June: From Not to Hot, Shannon, 37, has remained hidden from the public eye as to not reveal her drastic new transformation before the show’s premiere — and it hasn’t been easy.

      People
    • The Best and Worst Dresses Ever Worn at the Oscars (30 photos)

      The  89th Annual Academy Awards  is just days away. To prepare for the fashion hits and misses from some of the biggest stars, including Emma Stone , Viola Davis, Amy Adams, Ruth Negga, and more, here’s a look at the best and worst dresses in Oscars history. From Demi Moore’s black-tie athletic getup to Halle Berry’s jaw-dropping sheer Elie Saab gown, all of these looks are unforgettable — for better or for worse. Which attendees will make history this year? Check back at Yahoo Style Sunday night to see! Read more: All-Time Best Dressed at the Oscars: Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, and More The Best Oscars Dresses That You’ve Probably Never Seen A Look Back at Outrageous Oscars Style — and Why It Would Never Happen Today Let’s keep in touch! Follow Yahoo Style + Beauty on   Facebook ,  Twitter ,  Instagram , and  Pinterest .

      Yahoo Style
    • Witnesses: Bar gunman shouted 'get out of my country'

      OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Witnesses said a man accused of opening fire in a crowded bar yelled at two Indian men to "get out of my country" before pulling the trigger in an attack that killed one of the men and wounded the other, as well as a third man who tried to help.

      Associated Press 19 min ago
    • Ree Drummond’s Oklahoma Restaurant Gets 6,000 Visitors Per Day — in a Town of Only 3,500

      Ree Drummond spent years renovating her newly-opened bakery, deli and retail store, The Mercantile, but the headache appears to have been worth it. The Food Network star—better known as the Pioneer Woman—recently told Spurdge that the Pawhuska, Oklahoma storefront averages 6,000 customers per day, with as many as 15,000 on occasion. “This is our home, and anything we do here we want it to benefit Pawhuska,” she says.

      People
    • 'No anonymous sources,' Trump scolds _ after WH uses them

      WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump escalated his criticism of the news media Friday, taking direct aim this time at the use of anonymous sources. Reporters "shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name," he declared, just hours after members of his own staff held a press briefing and refused to allow their names to be used.

      Associated Press
    • Former Nursing Home Worker Accused of Giving Lap Dance to 100-Year-Old Patient Speaks Out

      A former Ohio nursing home worker accused of performing a lewd act on a 100-year-old patient with dementia is speaking out.

      Tribune
    • A sighting of this deep sea creature is a very bad sign

      Mysterious sea creatures have found themselves at the center of a conspiracy theory that suggests they can predict earthquakes. Several of the massive deep-sea dwellers washed up in the Philippines just before a killer earthquake tore through one of the islands. The little-known bony fish were found ahead of the deadly 6.5 quake that devastated Mindanao Island on Feb. 8. In one instance, a 10-foot-long oarfish washed up onto a beach on the island just two days before, and another was caught by a fisherman. Five more oarfish were found off Mindanao’s northern coast in the days following the natural disaster. It has prompted speculation that the sea creatures are able to “predict” or detect early

      New York Post q
    • DeVos Questions If Schools Should Provide Free Lunch

      Devos jokingly said she is the "first person to tell Bernie Sanders to his face, there's no such thing as a free lunch."

      International Business Times
    • AP Source: Deron Williams headed to Cavs after Mavs waiver

      LeBron James wanted a playmaker to help the Cleveland Cavaliers. Deron Williams is ready to be that guy. The Dallas Mavericks waived Williams on Thursday, and the five-time All-Star is now looking to join the Cavaliers as they pursue a second straight championship, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.

      The Associated Press
    • Mama June’s Weight Loss Surgeries Revealed -- How She Went From 460 Pounds to a Size 4

      How Mama June got down from 460 pounds to a reported size 4.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • ‘Nashville’: I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive

      The beating heart of Nashville has always been Connie Britton’s Rayna James. There’s a reason why Charles Esten’s Deacon Claybourne cries more easily than Rayna: She’s the strongest person in any situation she’s handed. Only fans who hadn’t read that Connie Britton was signed for 10 of the fifth season’s 22 episodes could have been shocked by what happened on Thursday night.

      Yahoo TV
    • Woman Allegedly Framed in Craigslist Rape Fantasy Plot Tells Dateline ‘Apologies Don’t Rebuild Your Life’

      The specifics of the allegations were astounding: Hadley was accused of posing as Diaz on Craigslist and soliciting men to attack her via “rape fantasy” ads. Now, in her first TV interview airing Friday, Hadley tells Dateline NBC, “I appreciate the apologies.

      People
    • The Pioneer Woman Serves 6,000 People a Day at Her Restaurant

      Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, has built an empire around her enviably comfy life in the country, which she chronicles across her blog, cookbooks, and Food Network show. Recently, Drummond expanded her portfolio to include a sprawling 25,000-square-foot restaurant/marketplace in Pawhuska, Oklahoma where fans can fully immerse themselves in the country-chic Pioneer Woman lifestyle. We have LOVED welcoming new visitors to our small town! Thank you to everyone who has made the trek to Pawhuska! We ❤️ having you.

      Eater q
    • Trump can't find any US trade surpluses. Here you go, Mr. President

      Trump has heavily criticized international trade deals and trade deficits with Mexico and China, in particular.

      CNBC
    • Arrest warrant: Man used hands to kill teacher inside home

      Teacher and former beauty queen Tara Grinstead vanished from her south Georgia home in 2005, leaving a mystery that had stumped investigators for nearly 12 years — until a tip led to an unexpected arrest. ...

      Associated Press
    • Ask Amy: Kid’s freakout grounds whole family

      DEAR AMY: My husband and I have two boys, ages 7 and 4. The 7-year-old is a great traveler, but the last time we flew on a plane, when he was 5, our older son completely freaked out. I think the sound of the engine and the motion of the takeoff and landing scared him. He was fine once we were in the air, but to this day he says that he never wants to fly on a plane. He also had a big fear of bounce houses, also because of the sound of the air being blown into them, but after a couple years of avoiding bounce houses he actually had a lot of fun on one. It was a small miracle. My question is about travel. We have been avoiding trips that would involve flying, but we would like to try to take a

      MercuryNews.com q