Find the Best Bacon Brands
Compare Reviews for Top Bacon Brands
Read 82 Reviews
Smithfield Bacon is produced by Smithfield, a company that only makes pork products. This laser-focus has been creating mouthwatering products such as pork loins, bacon, ham and more since 1936.
Read 44 Reviews
Kirkland is a brand with many different products in a multitude of categories. The company sells their products in Costco stores across the united states.
Read 29 Reviews
Great Value Bacon is the Walmart brand of bacon. Solely sold in Walmart stores, the bacon is available in varieties such as naturally hardwood smoked, center cut hickory smoked, hardwood smoked thick sliced and turkey bacon.
Read 43 Reviews
Wright Brand's Bacon is made by hand, which means it's hand selected, hand trimmed and hand smoked. It's been that way for more than 90 years. Available in varieties like applewood smoked, maple, hickory smoked and barrel aged.
Read 35 Reviews
Farmland Bacon's passion for pork comes across in every hand-trimmed tenderloin, pork chop and strip of bacon. Farmland has worked with local farm families for over 50 years securing high-quality pork to become a Farmland product.
Read 89 Reviews
A mainstay in grocery stores across the United States, Oscar Mayer Bacon has been part of the Oscar Mayer line of products for over 90 years. Varieties include bacon bits, turkey bacon, bacon jerky and butcher thick-cut bacon.
|Hormel Black Label Bacon|
Read 46 Reviews
Hormel Bacon's line of Black Label products include thick-cut bacon seasoning in flavors such as brown sugar, applewood and jalapeno. Canadian bacon and microwave-ready bacon are also available.
Read 23 Reviews
Applegate Bacon has been producing a line of organic and natural meats for the last 25 years. The products do not contain antibiotics or hormones, come from animals that were raised humanely and have been minimally processed.
|Trader Joe's Bacon|
Read 10 Reviews
Trader Joe's started in the 50s as a small chain of convenience stores. They now sell their own products and take the concept of value very seriously, which is great food and great prices.
Read 9 Reviews
Wellshire Bacon is produced by Wellshire Farms from livestock that is fed a vegetarian diet free of growth hormones, preservatives, nitrites, nitrates, artificial ingredients or steroids. It is sold solely at Whole Foods Markets.
How to choose quality bacon
Bacon is not healthy to eat consistently, even though it is high in protein. Consumers should clearly understand what risks there are for eating bacon and what to look at when it comes to the nutritional value of each product.
- Fat content: About 68 percent of bacon's calories are from fat, among which roughly half is unsaturated fat; just two slices of standard pork bacon have roughly seven grams of fat, so it is advised to limit intake of regular bacon or opt for healthier bacon options.
- Cholesterol: There are roughly 30 milligrams of cholesterol in just one ounce of bacon, which means eating a lot of this meat product can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Sodium: One slice of pan-fried bacon has nearly 200 milligrams of sodium, already roughly 10% of a healthy individual's suggested daily sodium limit.
There is a reason why bacon is so popular: it tastes good. It is why there are air fresheners that smell like bacon and why approximately 74 percent of people prefer it on breakfast sandwiches.
- Wood: While liquid smoke can be used to speed up the production process, consumers prefer the classic taste of hickory-smoked bacon as well as other wood-smoked flavors such as applewood-smoked bacon and cherrywood-smoked bacon.
- Spices: Bacon hand-rubbed with spices and other flavorings is the trend now, as everything from Cajun and brown sugar to jalapeno and sun-dried tomato is being used to give the meat an added punch.
- Uncooked or fully cooked: In general, buyers find fully cooked to be convenient for on-the-go meals, but not crisp or flavorful enough; thus, for optimal taste, uncooked bacon is recommended.
Cooking method, nutritional needs and personal preference should factor into what type of bacon slice is bought. Slabs of bacon (or unsliced bacon) can also be purchased and sliced to the desired thickness individually.
- Standard: Great for frying in a pan as well as other cooking methods, standard bacon is sliced into strips that are roughly 1/16-inch thick.
- Center-cut: For those looking for a low-fat pork bacon option, choose center-cut bacon; this meat comes from belly meat that is close to the bone, and it contains about 30% less fat than standard bacon.
- Thick-cut: An excellent addition to pastas, soups and other recipes where the bacon needs to hold its shape, thick-cut bacon measures about 1/8-inch and thus can take roughly twice as long to fry.
Uncured options are seen as healthier and increasingly available at food markets, however, cured bacon remains the premium choice among buyers. By definition, pork belly must be cured in salt to even become bacon, but this definition has been loosened to include healthier, uncured alternatives (which are actually cured with naturally occurring nitrates from celery powder rather than chemical additives).
- Immersion-cured: The high majority of commercial bacon is wet-cured, meaning it is set in a brine solution containing nitrite, salt and flavoring materials for a total of 2-3 days.
- Dry-cured: A pre-measured amount of cure mixture (salt, nitrite and flavorings) is rubbed directly onto the bacon, and then the bacon is left to hang for roughly two weeks, allowing moisture to be drawn out (this is what makes dry-cured bacon pricier).
- Pumped bacon: The cure mixture is directly injected into the meat and left to sit for 6 to 24 hours and then drained using a heating method.
Bacon's production process essentially requires that it contains additives. Consumers are advised to know the health risks.
- Salt: As the main curing agent, salt is a big part of what makes bacon so tasty, but it's also why sodium levels are strikingly high.
- Nitrite: While in the meat and being digested by the body, nitrite turns into compounds known as nitrosamines, and research has shown that nitrosamines are cancer-causing.
- Flavorings: As mentioned, bacon is often flavored with a variety of seasonings and spices, so it is important to check how such additives impact overall nutritional value.
Bacon ranges tremendously in price, which makes it an accessible food product for all consumers. While price does not always dictate quality, there are some factors to consider for each price range.
- Cheap: There is a lot of quality bacon sold at grocery stores for low prices, however, consumers should take precautions when buying such products as some may be unusually high in sodium and additives, lack taste or proper texture and/or not be 100% real bacon.
- Mid-range: This is typically immersion-cured bacon and is usually consistent in its nutritional content across brands, but it is still necessary to take the same precautions as with cheap bacon to ensure proper quality and taste.
- Expensive: Dry-cured bacon is often expensive (and often more flavorful), and center-cut bacon is lower in fat content and thus often priced at the high end of the price range for bacon products.
What are the different types of bacon?
This is common pork bacon, and by far still the most popular type. Flavors vary based on the curing process and kinds of seasonings added.
Made from turkey, this has become a popular alternative to pork bacon thanks to its low fat content (which is roughly half). Some brands of turkey bacon still have high sodium content so it is important for health-conscious consumers to carefully read nutrition labels.
Smoked and fully cooked when packaged, Canadian bacon is ready to eat before it is even bought. Made from pork loin, the flavor of this type of bacon is actually closer to ham.
An Italian form of bacon, this cured pork belly differs from American bacon in that it is not smoked. It is sliced into spirals or diced and then sold. This is a popular addition to salads.
Who eats bacon?
Those with carnivore tendencies tend to fall in love with the flavor of bacon. Proof of its popularity is in its consistent ranking as of one of North America's favorite meats.
The BLT sandwich is as ubiquitous as apple pie. Bacon can be incorporated into a wrap, sandwich, burger or sub.
Compared to other meats, like lamb, steak and even some deli meats, bacon is affordable -- and just as tasty.
Bacon is a great topping for pizza, pasta, salad and can even be used in cocktails.
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Compare Reviews for Top Bacon Brands
Read 8 Reviews
Niman Ranch began with an 11-acre ranch in the 1970s. Today the company has grown to over 700 independent farmers and ranchers raising cattle on all-natural feed. Their bacon is free of artificial ingredients and is gluten-free.
|Coleman Natural||Read Author Review|
Since 1875, Coleman Bacon has long pioneered quality in organic and antibiotic-free meats. The company partners with like-minded family farmers throughout the country to bring quality chicken pork, beef and lamb to the public.
|D'Artagnan||Read Author Review|
By partnering with small ranches and farms to bring free-range, natural meats to market, D'Artagnan can maintain strict standards to ensure farms aren't using antibiotics or hormones and are using humane farming practices.
|Nodine's Smokehouse||Read Author Review|
A family-owned business in the foothills of the New England Berkshires, Nodine's Smokehouse Bacon products are found in grocery stores and delis across the United States. Varieties include Cajun rubbed, garlic rubbed and uncured.
|Tender Belly||Read Author Review|
Tender Belly Bacon is the product of Tender Belly, the Iowa-based company founded in 2010 by Erick and Shannon Duffy. The guys make sure the pigs have plenty of space to roam free and are fed a vegetarian diet free of hormones.
|Vande Rose||Read Author Review|
Vande Rose Bacon from Vande Rose Farms is brown sugar-cured then slow-smoked over applewood chips to bring out an old-fashioned flavor in every mouthwatering bite. It is made using high-quality pork from Duroc hogs.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
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