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Best Mail Order Bacon?

JenJones24 May 3, 2012 01:50 PM

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

  1. meadandale May 3, 2012 02:00 PM

    Father's Country Ham's wins my vote.


    I liked this sampler:


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

    3 Replies
    1. re: meadandale
      JenJones24 May 3, 2012 02:07 PM

      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
        meadandale May 3, 2012 02:14 PM

        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.


        1. re: meadandale
          JenJones24 May 3, 2012 02:16 PM

          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. h
      hawkeyeui93 May 3, 2012 02:24 PM

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

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

      2 Replies
      1. re: hawkeyeui93
        JenJones24 May 3, 2012 02:29 PM

        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
          hawkeyeui93 May 3, 2012 02:42 PM

          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. u
        UTgal May 3, 2012 05:04 PM

        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. Will Owen May 3, 2012 06:01 PM

          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.


          2 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen
            Sharuf May 4, 2012 02:45 AM

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

            1. re: Will Owen
              Pzz Jun 11, 2012 09:10 AM

              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. j
              jester99 May 4, 2012 08:44 AM

              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. cowboyardee May 4, 2012 02:04 PM

                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. m
                  MattDBrewer May 5, 2012 10:16 AM

                  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.



                  1. s
                    Steve May 6, 2012 08:23 PM

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


                    1. j
                      JenJones24 May 8, 2012 06:06 AM

                      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. LaLa May 9, 2012 05:00 PM

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

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: LaLa
                          JenJones24 May 10, 2012 06:20 PM

                          I think he enjoyed his present. Thanks all!

                          1. re: JenJones24
                            hawkeyeui93 May 10, 2012 06:27 PM

                            Good deal!

                          2. re: LaLa
                            Will Owen May 11, 2012 03:47 PM

                            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
                              Bourbonandbacon May 17, 2012 08:16 AM

                              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
                                BobB Mar 30, 2013 05:33 PM

                                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
                                  LaLa Apr 13, 2013 06:49 PM

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

                                  1. re: LaLa
                                    BobB Apr 15, 2013 03:06 PM

                                    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
                                    Steve Apr 14, 2013 10:51 AM

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

                            2. John E. Mar 30, 2013 06:39 PM

                              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.





                              1. Bill Hunt Apr 13, 2013 09:07 PM

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


                                1. d
                                  donnamay Apr 16, 2013 07:06 AM

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

                                  1. j
                                    JenJones24 Apr 16, 2013 07:18 AM

                                    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.

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