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Best Mail Order Bacon?

Hi Chowhounders,

I was hoping you could assist in suggestions for the best mail order bacon. I'm looking to order my husband a bacon sampler for his birthday.

I've seen Nueske's mentioned quite a bit, but Cooks Illustrated rated it poorly in their testing.

Let me know if you have any bacon insights.

Best, Jen

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  1. Father's Country Ham's wins my vote.

    http://www.fatherscountryhams.com/

    I liked this sampler:

    http://www.fatherscountryhams.com/12-...

    After I worked my way through that I ended up ordered 5# each of pepper and cajun.

    3 Replies
    1. re: meadandale

      Thanks for the links! Sounds delicious. That actually seems better priced compared to quite a few of the samplers I've seen so far.

      1. re: JenJones24

        By the way...I found these guys because they were featured in an episode of crave. They make bacon the old fashioned way: salt cured and then hickory smoked. The bacon hardly shrinks when you cook it and it has an amazing smoky flavor that permeates anything you add it to.

        http://www.foodnetwork.com/crave/epis...

        1. re: meadandale

          You had me at salt cured and hickory smoked :) I just watched a video on YouTube of the company http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7NRWC...

    2. This bacon is excellent, but may not meet your "sampler" parameters ... http://www.vanderosefarms.com/best-ba....

      Here's an article ranking it in Cook's Illustrated: http://www.vanderosefarms.com/assets/...

      2 Replies
      1. re: hawkeyeui93

        I had read about them, but could only find a 5-pack available online for $65 + shipping. Hesitant to order that much of one kind without knowing if he'll like it (although it is bacon...so I'm sure he would)

        1. re: JenJones24

          Jen: That is steep, indeed. I live in Iowa where it is raised/produced and a 12 ounce package is $5-6. It is excellent bacon, but I would struggle with the "premium" mail order pricing as well.

      2. Thank you for the great gift idea! My husband is a big bacon fan, hard to shop for, and tends not to splurge on himself. THANK YOU! :-D

        1. Broadbent's in Kentucky. They're most famous for their country hams; I actually prefer some of the Tennessee ones, but I've never had better bacon. They offer several different kinds of smoking; I find their hickory-smoked is just fine. Although I get the 5 lb. slab, which with shipping costs me a bit over $30, they will ship smaller quantities of the sliced ones. Unlike Nueske's this is dry-cured, so it cooks more like a meat. Delicious.

          http://www.broadbenthams.com

          2 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            Does it come on the rind? What a nice bonus.

            1. re: Will Owen

              Got a very questionable batch of applewood smoked bacon from Broadbent's recently. One package actually smelled bad. Their customer service was defensive and only willing to give me a voucher for one free package of bacon for my next order (which won't be happening).

            2. I 2nd Brodbent, Colonel Newsom's I like alot, heavy on the smoke. Edward Surry ham is a solid as well. Of course, there is the godfather of all pork products Bentons bacon.

              For a bday, the zingerman's bacon of the month club is a solid. I had that for a gift and they send u a pack of bacon a month.

              1. I've tried benton hickory smoked bacon and Vande Rose farms dry-cured applewood smoked bacon, mentioned above.

                The Vande Rose bacon is kind of like the Platonic ideal of bacon. It's balanced in flavor, moderately smoky, crisps up perfectly but also has a nice texture while chewy. It tastes like the bacon we all know and love from the supermarket, made a little better in every way.

                The Benton bacon has a powerful smoky flavor and aroma. It doesn't crisp up quite as perfectly, but the texture is still very good. It's a great product, but whereas Vande Rose farms makes awesome bacon, Benton makes a product that is so distinctively smoky and intense that I tend to think of it as its own thing with its own uses.

                Both are fairly thick cut. Both are fairly expensive, especially when shipping is factored in.

                1. Zingerman's.com has a bacon of the month club!

                  It includes two of my favorites.. Allen Benton and Nueskes... You can order individually as well.

                  Cheers,

                  Matt

                  1. Petit Jean from Arkansas, all the bacon is exceptional, but the peppery bacon is outrageously good.

                    http://www.petitjeanmeats.com/Bacon/p...

                    1. Thanks everyone for the awesome tips/leads! Now I have gift ideas for him for every major holiday haha.

                      I got him a Father's Country Ham bacon sampler, but will definitely try some of the others too.

                      1. I am from Ky and still order Fathers and Brodbent now I live in SC.....slight edge to fathers!

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: LaLa

                          I think he enjoyed his present. Thanks all!

                           
                          1. re: JenJones24

                            Good deal!

                          2. re: LaLa

                            I didn't know about Father's, so I went to look. A little disappointing that they have umpteen different flavors of bacon but no slabs, otherwise I'd try'em.

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              i would definitely vote Benton's simply because the amount of smoke on it makes it a one of a kind product. plus, you could also get your husband some country ham to fry up alongside. if you are looking for something really different, you could try and cure and smoke your own bacon. i use pink salt and smoke my own on a weber kettle grill with a lot of success. that way i can cut the bacon to whatever size i want. check out ruhlman's recipe from his charcuterie book if you are interested in going the homemade route

                              1. re: Bourbonandbacon

                                I agree about the amount of smoke on Benton's - the first time I cooked it the whole place smelled like a smokehouse for two days (oh, yeah!) but it was also insanely salty. I love salt but this stuff is ridiculous, almost inedibly salty. And now I'm stuck with three more pounds of it. I wonder if they started slipping after getting that plug on Bourdain?

                                And yes, I know this is a year-old thread, but hey, who doesn't want to talk about bacon?

                                1. re: BobB

                                  Nope...eat Benton products at leat two times a month...usually more...and they are still quality.

                                  1. re: LaLa

                                    Weird - I wonder if I just got a bad batch. I opened the second of the four pounds I bought today with high hopes, but it too was almost inedibly salty. Maybe somebody slipped with the measuring cup the day these were made.

                                  2. re: BobB

                                    I had some Benton's ham at a restaurant last month. My first time with Benton's. Jaw-droppingly good.

                            2. I missed this thread the first time around. If others are interested in a great mail-order bacon, I know of an interesting story from my neck of the woods.

                              More than 10 years ago a food writer for the New York Times wrote a short piece about bacon from a small meat market in central Minnesota. A cousin of the owner of the meat market was a chef in New York and gave the write some of the bacon. The writer included the telephone number for Thielen's Meats and the price per pound (at the time it was about $4).

                              Apparently, the telephone rang off the hook and they had to have two people answering the phone and they went from smoking 1,500 hundred pounds of pork bellies a week to 5,000. That was some time ago, but apparently, they still have a big mail order business.

                              I have eaten the bacon and it really is as meaty as indicated in the story. My late uncle used to drive 2 hours each way several times a year to buy meat at this place and he died in 1997, long before their bacon hit the big time.

                              http://thielen-meats.com/index.html

                              http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/09/din...

                              http://brainerddispatch.com/stories/1...

                              http://www.examiner.com/article/revie...

                              1. The two, that have always come through for us have been Allan Benton and Harringtion's of Vermont. Both have always come through 100%.

                                Hunt

                                1. Try Hatfields, Tipton Ford, Missouri, between Neosho and Joplin

                                  1. Ha! I like how this thread is still going a year later. We enjoyed the Father's Country Ham bacon sampler. Although, it does make the house smell smokey for a day (which could be a good thing depending on how you look at it). I liked the BBQ bacon the best, while my husband liked the peppered bacon.