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.
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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