About Best Loved Brands
When you’re looking for the absolute best, grocery shopping can be quite the ordeal—dozens of brands, hundreds of choices. From cake mix to coffee, hot sauce to hummus, it can be daunting to make the picks that will make your homemade creations their best yet. That’s where Taste of Home comes in. Our culinary and editorial experts put 100+ products to the test. After undergoing a thorough review, our Best Loved Brands emerged. Find out which brands you should be grabbing at the grocery store.
Finding the Best Bacon
Now, we know what you’re thinking: all bacon is good bacon. You just might be right, but our Test Kitchen didn’t want to find just good bacon—our team of experts wanted to find the best bacon. In efforts to do that, our culinary team fried up and tried eight brands of bacon that you commonly find at the grocery store and judged them according to these standards:
You might be wondering why we didn’t judge this product’s texture. That’s because a lot of bacon’s texture depends on how it’s prepared. As long as you avoid these common mistakes when you’re frying (or baking!) it up, you should end up with nice, crisp bacon.
A good crispy bacon with a savory and smoky flavor is exactly what we all crave served up alongside our favorite pancakes. But why stop at breakfast? A great bacon should be served up at lunch, dinner and even dessert. Or for a snack, try this Gentleman’s Whiskey Bacon Jam. It puts a twist on one of our favorite savory treats. But what bacon should you be frying up all day? Well, check it out.
First Place: Nueske’s
Top honors go to Nueske’s, a Wisconsin-based brand. This bacon got remarkably high praise from our culinary and editorial staff alike. This thicker-cut bacon fried up nicely providing a bit of crunch without being crumbly like finely sliced bacon. This bacon was also perfectly smokey, something that you don’t often find in mass-produced bacon. Overall, this bacon tasted authentic, like what you’d be served up alongside farmhouse breakfasts; that’s because Nueske’s bacon is still smoked in traditional smokehouses using applewood. Now, that’s some old-fashioned cooking we can get behind.
$8.99 for a 12-oz. package; available at select grocers or online.
Second Place: Oscar Mayer
The biggest name in bacon made it into our top three in this test. While it had a more mild smokiness, our Test Kitchen experts thought it had a nice pork flavor with the right amount of salt. For a great basic bacon that you can find at any grocer, we definitely recommend Oscar Mayer.
$8.39 for a 16-oz. package; available at grocers nationwide.
Third Place: Farmland
Farmland—a supermarket staple—also performed well. Like Oscar Mayer, there wasn’t a ton of smokiness in this bacon, but there was some nice pork flavor. This bacon was just a bit saltier than the others in our top three but still had a great balance of pork and fat as well. For bacon on a budget, this is your brand.
$5.99 for a 16-oz. package; available at grocers nationwide.
What to Make with Bacon
What to make with bacon? More like what not to make with it! Bacon is a wonderfully versatile ingredient. It can be used simply on a BLT or wrapped around just about anything to make an amazing appetizer. You can even use bacon for dessert; it works similarly to salt (and we all love a good salted caramel recipe). Just check out these recipes for traditional and unconventional takes on our favorite salty treat.
And let’s not forget that whiskey bacon jam! It may sound a bit out there, but it’s truly delicious. Check out how to make it.
We hope this test helps you with your shopping! Be sure to check out all the rest of our Best Loved Brands.