Sunday, September 20, 2015


If you are not a vegetarian or vegan, chances are excellent you love bacon. Good smoked bacon fried to your favorite crispness is wonderful. The old saying is you get what you pay for is particularly true for bacon. Compare the flavor of a lowest-priced supermarket bacon with that you buy in a good butcher shop. What a difference!

I experimented one day with bacon and here is my result.

I bought three kinds of bacon, two from a supermarket one of which was a low-priced (but not the lowest in the display case) and one from the deli counter. I stopped next at my favorite butcher who sells high-quality meat including excellent bacon.

I carefully weigh six slice of each on an accurate laboratory scale. I fried all three separately to about the same degree of crispness and had my taste testers ready to a blind test of all three. Needless to say the butcher bacon came up on top without question. The supermarket bacon fared according to the prices, the weakest the low-priced display case bacon. No surprise there.

I weighed the resulting bacon minus the fried out fat and the butcher and supermarket deli yielded very close results. The standard brand yielded the least, 27% of the original weight. The loss was fat that sizzled out and water that evaporated on frying. The edible portions of the butcher and supermarket deli bacon were close about 35% but the flavor from the butcher’s was far better. They were also close price-wise. My conclusion is that it’s more economical to buy the best bacon you can find. No matter how stingy your food budget is, it’s cheaper to get high-priced bacon.

But considering unit price of edible meat bacon is quite costly.

Top-quality bacon is the result of smoking and curing process. In cheaper bacon the meat processor cannot afford the time it takes to smoke the bacon, instead they inject a brine solution with artificial smoke flavor into the pork belly that eventually becomes bacon.

We can also find expensive dry-cured bacon in high-end butcher shops but they are not common. Its moisture content is reduced low enough that it stable at room temperature and doesn’t require refrigeration.

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