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Best Artisinal Bacon/ Bacon Selection

Northern Light Oct 5, 2009 07:39 PM

I just wanted to put out a call for suggestions on where to buy (and/or try) the most interesting and high quality bacons in Toronto.

I've done the rounds at most of the gourmet supermarkets in town; and typically their bacon choice is between bacon and bacon! (maybe peameal too)

The odd time you can find maple bacon (usually of the mainstream and also-ran variety)

I'm looking for great quality hickory-smoked bacon or cherrywood smoked bacon, or double-smoked bacon or berkshire bacon, or some interesting and/or oddball flavours, honey-bacon? Balsamic-Bacon? I don't know, but I know I want to be surprised and pleasantly so!

Suggestions Please!

  1. j
    JPJ Oct 5, 2009 07:58 PM

    The Healthy Butcher's house double smoked bacon (I believe they use applewood) is quite possibly the best bacon I have ever had, and I eat a lot of bacon! It is cut thicker, and has just the right amount of salt. It has a slightly sweet flavour to it, no doubt owing to the applewood. The left over bacon fat is liquid gold. I use it to cook everything from potatoes to risotto.

    It is great sandwich bacon as well due to its thickness, you are still have a substantial strip after frying it to crisp perfection.

    I will go out of my way to pick it up whenever I need bacon.

    1. jayt90 Oct 5, 2009 08:29 PM

      Healthy Butcher counter products are pricey. I like Petit Goret thicksliced bacon from Quebec at Costco, about $5/kg.

      4 Replies
      1. re: jayt90
        JPJ Oct 6, 2009 06:15 AM

        You pay a premium for the philosophy, but I don't mind, the quality is consistently high. Plus I agree with the philosophy.

        It's cheaper than Cumbraes house double smoked bacon or their berkshire bacon and better.

        Petit Goret is fine, I have had it many times. Tends towards being overly salty, but at the price point it is at, it is hard to beat. Not as good as HB's.

        1. re: JPJ
          Splendid Wine Snob Oct 6, 2009 07:19 AM

          Second the Healthy Butcher bacon-it is friggin good.


          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
            Splendid Wine Snob Oct 6, 2009 10:10 AM

            Adding link to HB

            The Healthy Butcher
            565 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

            1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
              NegativeSleep Oct 6, 2009 10:47 AM

              I third the Healthy Butcher bacon. It tastes like what would happen if a pig and a maple tree had a baby. I have a 250 mL mason jar full of bacon drippings that I use for frying potatoes, much like JPJ.

        2. s
          Snarf Oct 5, 2009 08:51 PM

          The Pork Shoppe does the best I've had in years. They only slaughter a few pigs a week and make many great products. The Ayrshire style bacon is one of the best bacons in the province. Nice controlled Mennonite hogs.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Snarf
            jayt90 Oct 5, 2009 09:10 PM

            Whereabouts? Price?

            1. re: jayt90
              tbonetak Oct 6, 2009 08:47 AM

              The Ayrshire bacon is fantastic! It's a bit of a drive to Shakespeare, but it's (almost) worth it.


              1. re: tbonetak
                billforsyth.gta Dec 30, 2009 09:24 AM

                I agree. The bacon from The Pork Shoppe is out of this world. I don't know what makes it so different, if its the wood they use to smoke it or the way the pigs are raised, but after you've tasted it, its tough to go back to regular grocery store bacon. Just be prepared for your house to smell like a smokehouse for about 24 hours after you cook it! Does anyone know if the product is sold in the gta anywhere? Its a long drive to Shakespeare even for good bacon.

          2. Davwud Oct 6, 2009 04:54 AM

            Not sure about what is what with this bacon but Kingsway Meats at Jane and Bloor has the best bacon I've had in the city. Not that I've been sampling a lot.

            It's also got the kobasa in the city. Bar none.


            1. lyndak Oct 6, 2009 05:34 AM

              Excellent question!

              Viking on Laird does their own smoking so I wonder if they have any bacon worth trying? I know they use to carry it years and years ago when it was owned by Estonians and it was delicious back then.

              We've had tried the bacon from Stuart Carroll and it wasn't bad. Definately better than anything from the grocery store. I don't think it was smoked though, or maybe a very light smoke.

              9 Replies
              1. re: lyndak
                grandgourmand Oct 6, 2009 05:52 AM

                I really have to get back to Viking Deli. It's been months since I've been. I love their smoked sausages and smoked salmon.....I've never tried their bacon, and don't recall seeing it. But I might have overlooked it (a cardinal sin).

                1. re: grandgourmand
                  foodyDudey Oct 6, 2009 05:54 AM

                  I stopped in at Viking this weekend and bought some of the house-smoked bacon, but still have to try it. But yes it is available.

                  1. re: grandgourmand
                    foodyDudey Oct 6, 2009 06:39 AM

                    I cooked up some bacon from Viking this morning and thought it was quite good. It's quite dry, not wet or appearing fatty before it is cooked. It is not too salty like many other bacons. I only cooked it for about 3 or 4 minutes. I'd buy this bacon again, no major faults at all. It's $16.80 /kg.

                  2. re: lyndak
                    Splendid Wine Snob Oct 6, 2009 07:20 AM

                    Gotta try the bacon at Viking-I believe the owner is Finnish, not Estonian (although the two languages are closely related).


                    1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                      haggisdragon Oct 6, 2009 07:21 AM

                      Where is Viking please?

                      1. re: haggisdragon
                        Splendid Wine Snob Oct 6, 2009 07:34 AM

                        Here it is

                        133 Laird Dr, Toronto, ON M4G3V5, CA

                        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                          haggisdragon Oct 6, 2009 08:34 AM

                          Thanks, I'm going to check it out on the way home tonight!

                          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                            Paulustrious Oct 8, 2009 06:11 AM

                            Just playing around with google street view....


                        2. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                          lyndak Oct 6, 2009 07:56 AM

                          The existing owner is Finnish, it was originally owned by Estonians

                      2. haggisdragon Oct 6, 2009 05:40 AM

                        Avoid the bacon at Sun Valley, I tried it once and was very disappointed. A pound of bacon shriveled up into nothing. Blackstone butcher's bacon is organic, but lacking in flavour.

                        1. g
                          gastronom Oct 6, 2009 06:50 AM

                          I posted about it earlier, Leslieville cheese has an artisinal triple smoked bacon that is quite lovely, especially for on a burger or such. It's a bit dry, but that's why I like it. Really really tasty.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: gastronom
                            MattB Oct 6, 2009 11:55 AM

                            Superior on Dundas West at Trinity Bellwoods Park has both single and double smoked bacon. Really good. I always ask them to slice it extra thick and have never been disappointed.

                          2. a
                            acd123 Oct 6, 2009 12:04 PM

                            Following are my favourites:

                            Milbree Viking on Laird
                            Cumbrae (Berkshire or double smoked)
                            Superior Sausage
                            Scotch Mountain Meats (available at Brickworks and Liberty Village Markets)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: acd123
                              Otonabee Oct 6, 2009 05:08 PM

                              Totally agree with Scotch Mountain, their stuff is AMAZING!!

                            2. bunnylicious Oct 6, 2009 01:59 PM

                              I quite enjoy the thick-cut, smoked bacon at medium rare. Really good in a sandwich with tomato, avocado, mayo and even a bit of melted cheese.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: bunnylicious
                                Northern Light Oct 6, 2009 06:16 PM

                                First off I'd like to thank everyone for their replies/suggestions so far. I've definitely got a few places on my to try list.

                                But i want to note, most of the bacon suggestion is of the 'normal' variety, with some variation in how smoked.

                                I'm really curious if anyone has any suggestions on where to get (naturally) flavoured bacon(s) that are interesting. I've been to Whole Foods in the U.S. and seen 10 different bacons in one store (in the butcher case). I'd like to try some variations; but as best I can figure Bacon-of-the-Month doesn't ship here; and I'm not paying $190 U.S. for six lbs of bacon either, I don't care how good it is!

                                So just looking for local quirky and quality alternatives.

                                Please continue adding your suggestions, I've got 4 on my list so far I think to try ......

                                1. re: Northern Light
                                  Otonabee Oct 6, 2009 06:25 PM

                                  My apologies, IIRC the one from Scotch Mountain was a cherry wood smoked bacon. The flavour was really very different but lovely. Now I know their stuff does change from week to week at the Brickworks so you can always call them and have them bring it to any of the farmers markets that they go to.


                              2. l
                                LJS2 Oct 7, 2009 12:49 PM

                                Starskys on Dundas near Winston Churchill in Mississauga has many different Eastern European types of bacon. I doubt that the bacon could be considered artisanal but it sure is different than what you normally see in a supermarket. They also have a huge selection of sausage, both fresh and dried. For those that are looking for something different, this place is worth a look.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: LJS2
                                  chefhound Jul 9, 2010 01:41 PM

                                  There's also a Starsky's near Dundas and the West Mall (or thereabouts). The display of pork products is heavenly. They have many types of bacon - smoked, double-smoked, old-fashioned, pressed, the list goes on.
                                  If I'm in the west end, it's definitely a stop on the itinerary.

                                  2040 Dundas St E, Mississauga, ON L4X, CA

                                2. b
                                  bogie Oct 8, 2009 05:21 AM

                                  I know that it's a mainstream store, but I quite enjoy the PC Applewood smoked bacon. It is VERY smoky and the bacon itself is definitely a step up from the usual supermarket stuff.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: bogie
                                    bogie Nov 25, 2009 05:12 AM

                                    My mistake, the good Applewood bacon is actually from Sobey's, not PC brand.

                                  2. t
                                    tpw72 Nov 23, 2009 09:27 PM

                                    Twin Creeks organic farm has great smoked bacon(side and loin), I find the slices a little too thin but the flavor and quality are tops. It might be a tad too smokey for some. I'm also a fan of Superior Sausage on Dundas east of Shaw, they have two types, regular and double smoked and you can buy the whole belly and cut it yourself.

                                    1. chefhound Nov 25, 2009 03:15 PM

                                      I always buy Woodstown Farms bacon from Whole Foods. It's nitrate-free! And really delicious. It's a bit thick - I tried to wrap it around a date with difficulty and which also made it harder to cook but worth it flavour-wise.

                                      1. t
                                        tpw72 Mar 21, 2010 10:55 PM

                                        Gerald Tavelde sells great bacon from his organic non penned pigs at The Trinity Bellwoods market, verry smokey if that's your thing. I've also tried double smoked bacon from Superior Sausage (across the street) on Dundas. On a recent search I tried Rowe farms bacon sold at Fiesta Farms on Dufferin and Bloor, double smoked bacon at Goucho meats on College and smoked bacon at O Nosse Tahlo on Dudas west of Dovercourt. Both Superior and O Nosso Tahlo will let you pick from a few differnt belly's on display.

                                        Fiesta Farms
                                        200 Christie St, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

                                        1. t
                                          tpw72 Jul 9, 2010 01:23 PM

                                          I just did a taste test between Gaucho and Superior sausage's bacon and here is what I determined. Both were center cut and thick sliced. Both were cooked in a 320 degree oven. I found the texture on both to be similar, the fat from Gaucho's rendered quicker. It was also saltier than Superior's. The Superior bacon had a very nice sweetness that seemed to come from the fat. I found both to be of high quality much like both places other pork products. However Superior has an amazing selection of Sausages smoked hams/ham hocks and other polish specialties.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: tpw72
                                            Beermonger Jul 10, 2010 03:43 AM

                                            Not necessarily artisinal, but our bunch consistently enjoys the "cherry pink" bacon we pick up at West End Meats off Kipling Avenue...very little shrinkage and great tasting...

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