For the big bacon taste test, we had 5 competitors:
- Nueske’s – Applewood smoked, pepper coated
- Dreymiller and Kray – Hickory smoked
- Prairie Grove Farms – Applewood smoked, uncured
- Trader Joe’s – Apple smoked, uncured
- Moore Family Farm – Smoked and cured
I should add that the Moore Family Farm is not available in stores. We are part of a buying group that buys meat and eggs from a farm downstate. We’ve been out to visit the farm a few times, so I’ve probably actually met the pigs that went into that bacon!
So here is the list of our rankings, with the grand prize winners at the end. The winner may surprise you!
|Nueske’s||Applewood smoked, pepper coated||6||Dark edges due to pepper, not as salty, less flavor than I expected, little bit of pepper after-burn|
|Dreymiller and Kray||Hickory smoked||7||wider strips, good texture, a little fattier, nice to have non-applewood, very salty|
|Prairie Grove Farms||Applewood smoked, uncured||8||salty, nice appearance, very good flavor|
|Trader Joe’s||Apple smoked, uncured||8||straightest, flattest bacon, sort of factory looking, salty, good flavor, lean|
|Moore Family Farm||Smoked and cured||4||fattier, sort of chewy, not very seasoned or salty, most authentically pork tasting, maybe good for soup|
|Nueske’s||Applewood smoked, pepper coated||7||The after taste is where all the flavor is, most smokey flavor|
|Dreymiller and Kray||Hickory smoked||8||Hickory: tasted a little more flavorful because of the fat|
|Prairie Grove Farms||Applewood smoked, uncured||8||Seasoned well can’t taste the smokiness or apple wood.|
|Trader Joe’s||Apple smoked, uncured||7||Lean, flat, good flavor – hint of apple wood but not too strong|
|Moore Family Farm||Smoked and cured||5||Thicker cut, more fat, so not as crisp, but not as flavorful|
|Nueske’s||Applewood smoked, pepper coated||7||light and peppery, good to try, but wouldn’t choose on a regular basis|
|Dreymiller and Kray||Hickory smoked||6||a little saltier, would be a good topping for pizza|
|Prairie Grove Farms||Applewood smoked, uncured||8||very salty but flavor is great – also pretty flat (think BLTs)|
|Trader Joe’s||Apple smoked, uncured||10||good pig flavor, nice flat slice|
|Moore Family Farm||Smoked and cured||4||stringy and chewy, flaovr is “piggy” but texture unappealing|
|Trader Joe’s||8 1/3|
|Prairie Grove Farms||8|
|Dreymiller and Kray||7|
|Moore Family Farm||4 1/3|
I was downright stunned that the Trader Joe’s one won. First off, it was the least exotic of the bunch. Second off, it was one of the cheapest (I can’t remember if it was cheaper than Moore Family Farm or not). Third off, it was probably the least impressive looking. After these results are in, I have discovered that this particular kind of bacon from Trader Joe’s has a big following. So really, this was a fantastic result, because this is the one kind of bacon that we might reasonably buy on a regular basis.
The other interesting thing was that the Prairie Grove brand came in second. This was the one that was the “healthiest”. Of course it’s still bacon, but it was hormone free, antibiotic free, etc. So even though you still have to feel bad about it, I guess you don’t have to feel AS bad about it.
We let Evie fill an evaluation out as well, but we didn’t count her ratings into the final results. However, you’ll notice something interesting! Evie picked the same two we did.
|Nueske’s||Applewood smoked, pepper coated||1||Might want to have it again, but not sure|
|Dreymiller and Kray||Hickory smoked||1||I don’t want to have it again|
|Prairie Grove Farms||Applewood smoked, uncured||10||That one was good too|
|Trader Joe’s||Apple smoked, uncured||10||I liked it|
|Moore Family Farm||Smoked and cured||1||Maybe I might have it again|
So, while we dismissed her comments, she was actually just as good at taste testing as we were! (To be fair, she would rate something a 1 and say I don’t want to have it again, while simultaneously trying to wheedle an extra piece away from one of us).