Taste Test: The Best Bacon

We taste-tested pounds of bacon from the grocery store and online to find our favorites and the sizzling winners.
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bacon

BEST ODDBALL
Mountain Products Smokehouse Country Sliced Chipotle Southwest Smoked Bacon
This pork is slab-smoked with apple and hickory wood chips, then rubbed with pepper and a spicy chipotle seasoning. One taster wanted to eat it "hot out of the pan," and another couldn't wait to slice it into some gooey mac 'n' cheese.
($8.95, mountainproductssmokehouse.com)

 
meal

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BEST TURKEY
Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon
With their reddish-purple hue, chewy texture and buttery flavor, these turkey strips are almost as tasty as the real thing -- with half the fat. "It ain't bacon, but it does a good job of fakin'!" noted one judge. Use it in a BLT or chopped into a Cobb salad for a lightened-up lunch. ($2.99, at grocery stores)

bacon egg club sandwich

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BEST THICK-CUT
Jimmy Dean Thick Slice Premium Bacon
You might need a fork and knife to eat this chewy, country-style bacon. Much thicker than regular bacon strips, these slices are substantially delicious. "It's salty, porky and fatty," raved one judge; another said she'd like to "douse it in steak sauce and down it like a filet." ($2.95, at grocery stores)

smokin chicken burger

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BEST SWEET
Beeler's Uncured Apple-Cinnamon Bacon
This sugary, thick-cut bacon wooed judges with its "cinnamony-sweet" flavor. Each strip cooked up crisp around the edges, leaving the middle tender. Its dessertlike quality would pair well with pancakes for special-occasion breakfasts. After popping a piece in his mouth, one taster closed his eyes and said, "It's Christmas, isn't it?" ($5.99, at grocery stores)

muffins

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BEST ORIGINAL
Ozark Trails Hickory Smoked and Peppered Bacon
Tasters loved this hand-trimmed winner for its "campfire smokiness" and "deep pig flavor." Eating these hearty slabs, with their ideal meat-to-fat ratio, made one judge "feel like a lumberjack." Crisscross strips atop a burger for extra crunch, or eat with fried eggs at breakfast. ($6.95, at select grocery stores)

egg on top of salad

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Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in December/January 2010.

 

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