Left three slices: Open Nature
next group: Oscar Mayer
Middle group: Pederson's Natural Farms
Far right: Home made
FIRST UP: OPEN NATURE Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon Center Cut. "100% Natural*. No Antibiotics. No Preservatives. No Nitrates or Nitrites**." Don't you just love those asterisks? The first one says: 'no artificial ingredients - minimally processed'. The second one says: "except for those naturally occuring in celery powder". Minimal processing is processing. Celery powder is manufactured. There HAS to be nitrites and nitrates in bacon, or it wouldn't be bacon and/or would be full of germs.
Upon opening the package, I sensed a nice, smoky applewood aroma. Package weight 12 ounces; actual weight 12.7 ounces, and it cooked down to 3.7 ounces and produced 175 ml of bacon fat. It had nearly a 100% thickness variation. Some slices were about 1/16 thick and others were about 1/8! I think this is a form of artificial artisinal-ity. Do manufacturers actually set their cutters to be un-even? To be artificially craft-y? It seems so in this case.
NEXT: Pederson's Natural Farms Uncured Hickory Smoked bacon. Another "uncured" bacon. Uncooked bacon had more of a sweet smell, almost like pineapple. Funny coincidence, I was scanning the NY Times book review and there's an interesting book this week about the history of Hawaii. I might pick it up.
The package showed 10 ounces and the uncooked bacon weighed in at 10.2 ounces; final weight after cooking 2.8 ounces and produced 150 ml of bacon fat.
Unlike the artificial artisiniality, these slices were industrially even. Almost perfectly identical. The protein ribbons cooked into a very richly colored pallete. The texture of this cooked bacon was kind of like a fruit roll-up - odd - quite salty but too sweet and not enough real bacon flavor. Seems to be a 'made up' bacon. Odd.
THIRD: My old standby, Oscar Mayer. These are the 'center cut' variety, left over from a few days ago. It cooked up very wet looking and seems more like Canadian bacon than regular bacon. Wife comments: "No good. Oily. Unimpressive." She detected a hint of beefiness in the flavor. This was an odd batch; just OK.
LAST AND BEST: My home made bacon from last week's blog post. It weighed in at 10.2 ounces and cooked down to 4.1; produced 120 ml of fat. Son Jack had a couple of friends over, and the universal opinion is it was the best. See last week's post for flavor profile. Salty and good!