Whether you eat a side of it for breakfast or pile it high on a BLT, bacon is one of life’s greatest pleasures (as evident by its prominent role in our podcast). That mixture of salt, fat, and crunch is downright addicting, especially if you’re biting into a piece of top-notch, quality meat. If you’re looking to buy the very best bacon, we rounded up seven succulent brands for you to try. These porky delights are at the top of their game, so you’re getting the very best when you fry up a strip.
Better known for the delicious hams they’ve made since 1947, this business smokes all their meats in a small smoker out back of their facility in Tennessee. The hand-rubbed bacon is cured for weeks before undergoing 48 hours of smoke on each side for pig perfection.
Buffalo Gal produces some of the finest buffalo meat in the country — but right now we’re talking about bacon. The brand’s wild boar bacon is maple-smoked and has a rich, porky flavor with an earthy game quality. Plus, an overpopulation of wild boars in the American South causes tens of millions of dollars in agricultural damage per year, so frying up these strips is doing some good for the ecosystem.
The heritage hogs used in this dry-cured bacon are raised in Iowa free of hormones, antibiotics, and the use of farrowing or gestation crates. Happier hogs means better bacon, especially if its smoked with cherry wood like this glorious stuff is.
This melt-in-your-mouth bacon is made from acorn-fed Spanish Ibérico pork that’s hand-rubbed with salt and slow smoked over hickory in Kentucky. Ibérico pigs roam free in the dehasa forests of southwest Spain where they get plenty of exercise and nutrients from the antioxidant-rich acorn diet. Nutty, smoky, savory and sweet, this bacon is like an adventure for your palate.
Cutting corners isn’t something that Bill E does. His mouth-watering bacon starts with Berkshire Red and Chantilly White pigs raised on 25 Midwestern family farms. He then cures the bacon for eight days in pink salt and brown sugar for a meaty treat that makes our mouths water before it even hits the skillet. It took him three years to perfect the recipe, and now it’s available for carnivores everywhere to enjoy.
Allen Brothers supplies some of the best steakhouses in the country, so you know you’re getting top-notch quality when you buy their meat. Their thick-sliced, English-style Bakers Back Bacon is cut from the loin and belly, so it’s leaner and meatier than some other brands. Allen Brothers uses sustainably-raised heritage pork from small family farms and cures it naturally without nitrates, so you can feel extra good about indulging in this bacon.
The craftsmen at Iowa-based Vande Rose Farms slow-smoke their thick-cut bacon with brown sugar, salt and pepper. But perhaps more importantly is what their family farm suppliers don’t use. The heritage breed Duroc hogs their bacon is made from aren’t given antibiotics or hormones, and eat a vegetarian diet of corn and soybeans. Oh, and you won’t find any water or phosphates — cheater ingredients used to get the flavor of artisanal bacon — in these strips.
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Article originally published by Chase Scheinbaum on April 13, 2017. Last updated by Amanda Gabriele on January 24, 2018.