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

    • Kim Kardashian Concierge Reveals New Robbery Details: ‘They Weren’t There for Jewels’

      ET sits down exclusively with the concierge during Kim Kardashian's robbery, who recalls the terrifying events of Oct. 3.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Are a Disgrace to Music

      Last week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced 19 nominees for its class of 2017. Five of these nominees will be inducted into the Hall. I am certain many of the Hall’s members and voters mean well, and I have heard nice things about their museum (which I have not visited). But the Hall, as it exists now, is so deeply flawed that it risks not only having a lack of credibility, but also a lack of validity. In other words, it doesn’t just make mistakes; the mistakes seem to be endemic, built into the fabric of the organization. And you know what? Rock ’n roll deserves better. Rock ’n roll (by which I mean any and all manifestations of music-based expression and art, from King Oliver to Tony

      The New York Observer q
    • Tim Tebow answered Stephen A. Smith's dumb question with a riveting inspirational speech

      Hate on Tim Tebow all you want, but there’s no denying he’s one of the most motivational guys in sports — period. On Tuesday he appeared with Stephen A. Smith on First Take and dropped the best speech you’ll hear all week. When he was criticized for taking a long shot at making an MLB roster, Tebow dropped the hammer.

      SB Nation q
    • Family Heartbroken After 4-Year-Old Is Killed by New Dog Dropped Off Minutes Earlier

      The owner reportedly dropped the dog off less than an hour before the attack.

      Inside Edition
    • Pollster Frank Luntz: The Trump campaign ‘is an absolute joke’

      Perhaps best known as the wordsmith behind many Republican talking points, Luntz had quite a few zingers about Trump, including one about the GOP nominee’s sometimes stilted delivery of prepared speeches. “Stevie Wonder reads a teleprompter better than Donald Trump,” he jested.

      Yahoo News
    • Ex-Teacher Gets $75g In Settlement After Showing Up To Elementary School Field Trip Drunk

      A former elementary school teacher who passed out after showing up drunk to a bowling alley field trip is getting a $75,000 settlement from the Wisconsin city she sued. The ex-teacher, Maria Caya, filed a $5.5 million lawsuit against the city of Janesville last year claiming police improperly released her blood alcohol tests, Fox 6 reported. The city council approved the settlement Monday night. Investigators said her blood alcohol percentage was 0.27 percent on the day of the field trip in June 2013. The legal limit for driving in Wisconsin is 0.08 percent. Another staff member took Caya to the hospital after finding her passed out in the bowling alley bathroom, WKOW reported. As many as eight

      Fox News q
    • Hillary Clinton email saga continues as 33,000 erased emails may not be 'missing' after all

      Hillary Clinton just can’t seem to catch a break with her her ongoing email woes. While the consensus was that Clinton’s 33,000 notoriously ‘missing’ emails were permanently destroyed and beyond recovery, newly released FBI notes strongly suggest this might not be the case after all, the NY Post reports. In a May interview with the FBI, an anonymous executive from Platte River Networks (PRN) – the Denver contractor responsible for maintaining Clinton’s private server – revealed that an underling failed to purge all of Clinton’s subpoenaed emails, deleting only the ones he stored in a data file he used to transfer emails to the assistants of the presidential candidate. According to the PRN executive, the democrat’s tech specialist Paul Combetta “created a ‘vehicle’ to transfer email files from the live mailboxes of [Clinton Executive Services Corp.] email accounts.

      The Next Web q
    • IT HAPPENED TO ME: My Boyfriend Turned Out to Be a Slumlord

      In March of 2016, Malcolm* and I decided to move in together. We’d been dating for just about four months. It was alarmingly fast, but it felt right. We spent just about every waking second together.We met on Tinder and had an instant connection, even though our personalities were a bit mismatched. ...

    • World Series of Poker player lectures another about being a bully

      Poker is generally a quiet game with occasional banter, but Englishman William Kassouf just doesn’t shut up.

      Sporting News
    • 'Nothing short of a miracle' how kids survived suicidal bridge fall with dad, police say

      "When the officers found the children -- conscious and alert -- it's nothing short of a miracle, that's for sure," said Captain Christopher Depuyt with the Pequannock Police Department.

      WABC – NY
    • I Had Inexplicable, Incurable, Extreme Bloating For Almost a Year: Here's What Finally Fixed It

      A lot of things changed when I moved to San Francisco. I was much colder. I bought my first real jacket. I tried Philz Coffee for the first time. I started a new job. And, out of nowhere, my stomach started ballooning arbitrarily throughout the week making me look three-to-six-months pregnant at any given moment, for no apparent reason. Things that didn't change: my diet, my exercise routine (OK, I started doing a lot more SoulCycle), and my overall health. I wasn't eating more food or less healthy food, so I knew it wasn't weight gain . . . especially when my pregnant-looking belly would mysteriously disappear by morning, and I was back to a flat stomach. But sometime during the day, I'd eat

      PopSugar q
    • Entertainment Tonight
    • Walking Dead season 7: Steven Yeun opens up about Glenn's last words to Maggie before death

      The Walking Dead season 7's premiere episode saw Negan unleashing unspeakable wrath on Rick Grimes's group and killing Glenn and Abraham by smashing their skulls with his bat Lucille. Glenn's death was long coming as fans were speculating that the show will follow the path of the Comic book written by Robert Kirkman. "I'll find you Maggie" he told his pregnant wife before the notorious Savior leader bludgeoned him to death.

      International Business Times UK q
    • You Need To Read These Stories About Marshawn Lynch From His Former Seattle Teammates

      Just watch his episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls for proof of all of this. The Seattle Times caught up with a few guys on Seattle’s roster and asked for their favorite Marshawn stories. My first week here, we were outside on the field, and I was talking to Justin Forsett.

    • Inside Edition
    • Sexy & Gray: 13 Women Who Prove That One Does Not Negate the Other (13 photos)

      Sophie Fontanel — Parisian Instagram star, fashion journalist, and author of The Art of Sleeping Alone — has a thing or two to say about going gray. “Accept yourself and you will see a big change,” she tells Vogue in an Oct. 24 interview focused largely on her decision to stop coloring her hair. Fontanel, who is 54 and has more than 87,000 Instagram followers , takes Vogue readers through her own journey of acceptance that came after what she calls “living a lie” by never letting her roots show. After achieving literary fame in her 50s, she explains, she began noticing beautiful gray-haired women seemingly everywhere she went. She stopped one such woman in Los Angeles. “I was asking, ‘is it easy to be like you are?’ She said, ‘Yes. You know, before I was much more invisible and now I'm really someone strange. Everyone notices me,'” Fontanel recounts. “Life is full of signs. Two months later I was in Rome. There was a second one. Then I was in St-Tropez at a café and there was another woman with long white hair, very chic, in Valentino. She was very sexy. I [said], ‘OK, you're the third woman I've noticed, so tell me, does it take courage to get your hair?’ And she said, ‘No. It takes curiosity.'” The writer was emboldened by these other women, and, after some thought and convincing, decided to let her own locks go natural — but gradually, by growing her roots out slowly, and documenting the transformation on Instagram. Today, she says, she’s “happier than ever.” Click through the slide show above to take in the splendor of Fontanel and a dozen other empowered, curious, and sexy silver-haired women. Let's keep in touch! Follow Yahoo Beauty on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , and Pinterest .      

      Yahoo Beauty
    • Mama Dog and Her Day-Old Pups Rescued Right Before Being Put Down

      The whole dog family is now happy with a foster mom.

      Inside Edition
    • Phil Collins Witnessed Princess Diana’s Affair and 7 More Shocking Revelations From His Memoir

      In his new memoir, 'Not Dead Yet,' Phil Collins shares shocking stories about Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Adele and more — read Us Weekly's top revelations!

      Us Weekly
    • Russia publishes image of ‘Satan 2’, the missile that could ‘wipe out Texas’

      Russia has declassified the first ever image of its new thermonuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS-28 Sarmat.

      CNBC.com q