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Jan 1, 2008 08:32 PM

Bacon Challenge - need help from bacon afficionados!

The Hickory Smoked Sugar Cured Bacon from Swiss Meat & Sausage Company has been THE bacon in our house for the past year since I got a sample pak from the Grateful Palate among the other bacon products as one of hubby's Christmas gifts. After tasting all, we decided this particular one from SMSC is our favorite and have been ordering it a few times ever since. We like that it has the right balance of sweet and savory in taste and the fat to lean ratio is also just right.

Since bacon is one of hubby's "passion", I plan to organize a bacon taste test right in our home kitchen to hopefully discover other excellent bacon in addition to the one from SMSC. However, now our expectation is high - we are looking for a bacon that is, if not better, at least just as good as the ones from SMSC.

My challenge is to find 3 to 5 mail-order suppliers who specialize and are known for their bacon - to be specific, they have to be "Crème de la Crème" in the bacon world. So I can order to have their signature bacon delivered to our door for the bacon taste test event I am planning for hubby. Please recommend the mail order sources that you bacon afficionados have been ordering bacon from as well as the specific product you are addicted to.

Many thanks in advance!!

PS. If any of you who share a passion for bacon happen to be located in Chicagoland and are interested in taking part in the bacon taste test to be hosted in our home, feel free to drop me a line. I suspect we will end up having more bacon than the two of us can consume and may be able to share ... it is just too sinful to eat that much bacon ourselves!

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  1. My favorite bacon is Nueske -- I like the slab bacon so I can have it cut as thick as I want.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Yup. Neuske makes one of the very best in the country. It is higher in cost per pound, but it also shrinks far less than other bacons (Nueske uses lean Canadian pigs and feeds them barley instead of corn), so the it's only slightly higher per pound. Wonderful cure, wonderful smoky flavor. Deserves a try.

      Also try Niman

      1. re: maria lorraine

        I was disappointed in Niman bacon products until a few months ago when I tried their dry-cured applewood-smoked center cut bacon. It's very, very good. Their other bacons I wouldn't bother with. It's very reasonably priced at Trader Joe's.

        I forgot to mention that the original poster might be able to find the Nueske at a retail butcher -- especially in the Chicago area -- instead of having to mail order it. The butcher near my house carries it, so I can satisfy my craving by going in and having them cut a couple of thick slices instead of buying more than I should eat! It's so satisfying that a couple of slices go a long way.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          For years my staple had been the no nitrates Niman's applewood bacon I normally get from TJ's, but lately we liked the Fresh & Easy British Back Bacon better. I guess that doesn't help the OP, but I would suggest trying a British Back Bacon from another supplier in Chicago.

          Tried Neuske, but I found it too smokey and meaty. My preference is for the very lightly smoked, and not too lean/crispy.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Second the Niman Ranch applewood from TJ's.

          2. re: maria lorraine

            I'm on the Nueske bandwagon, as well.

          3. re: Ruth Lafler

            Sounds great. I have not heard of them, but appreciate the URL. Gotta' try some. Just found a smoke house in Tennessee (sell to Blackberry Farm), and I'll list them, as soon as wife gets back, as I do not recall the name - very, very good, plus "country hams."

            Still trying to find the smokehouse that provides a local resort with their "applewood smoked, thick-sliced bacon," but all calls and e-mails have gone un-returned.

            Good topic, I'll be watching this one to learn a thing, or two.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Blackberry Farm is where I was introduced to Benton's, and I assume they're still the provider. Just outrageously good.

          4. Just for fun, when purchasing the bacon for the taste test, go to your local supermarket and find the cheapest brand of bacon available there. Peak in the back of the packages at the representative slice until you find one that looks pretty good, and buy it.

            The cheap bacon may not win the contest, but you might be surprised at how well it compares with the more expensive stuff. I know that I was!

            1. This sounds like a great idea! You have to report back!

              I don't have a lot of experience with mail-order bacon, but I would suggest trying the Dakin's Farm bacon from Vermont. Very tasty bacon.

              1. One word: Bentons! They are located in Tenn. I am addicted to their bacon

                2 Replies
                1. re: gatun

                  Benton's was also my immediate thought when I read the original post. Outrageously good.

                  1. re: gatun

                    Oh thank you! I do not have to wait for my wife to return from So. Cal. Bentons, that is it. They do several products, that appear in Blackberry Farm's menus, and all were excellent - the bacon, the ham and the "country ham."

                    One of the best bacons that I have ever tasted - next to that served at Los Caballos in Wickenburg, AZ, but they will not tell me their provider.


                  2. Edwards Hickory Smoked Sliced Bacon from - delicious