The Bacon Thursday Taste Test

What began as a random comment posted on Twitter about a month ago has become a weekly event–Bacon Thursday! Thursday is one of the days when I’m “working” from home, so I have the luxury to fry up some bacon for breakfast. I get my bacon from the awesomest butcher around, Holzkopf Meat Market in Edgewater (on Broadway near Granville.) They’ve recently added a third bacon option to their lineup so I thought it would be fun to try them all together to see which I liked best.

Bacon Thursday Taste Test #3

Karen, my partner in all things Holzkopf, needed no convincing to join in on the taste test and since she really does work from home, she was able to make an appearance at Bacon Thursday. We fried up three slices of each of the three bacon varieties: Jones Hickory Smoked, Usinger’s Applewood Smoked and Dreymiller & Kray Applewood Smoked.

Bacon Thursday Taste Test #2Bacon Thursday Taste Test #1

The Dreymiller & Kray bacon (on the left) looked the most distinct right out of the package. The meat was pinker, looked fresher, and seemed to have a higher ratio of fat-to-meat. The Usinger (bottom right) was the most fragrant and wonderfully smokey. The Jones (top right) looked most like your (above) average supermarket bacon.

Bacon Thursday Taste Test #4

Now, how did they taste? The Jones hickory smoked (top) was the mildest. Once cooked up, the slices were widest and the taste wasn’t as salty as the others. This reminded me most of the bacon I grew up eating. Tasty but nothing special.

The Usinger applewood smoked bacon (left) was the most flavorful. If you like your bacon to taste like it just came out of the cowboy skillet over an open campfire, this is the bacon for you. You can really taste the applewood and it tastes great. This is the bacon I’ll be using this summer when BAT season rolls around. (Bacon Arugula and Tomato–my preferred take on the good old BLT sandwich.)

Karen described the Dreymiller & Krey applewood smoked bacon (right) as more complex and I’d agree. The wood flavor is subtler and the meat didn’t taste as salty as the Usinger. We also noticed it tasted great with the coffee we were drinking. My big problem with the D&K is that, in the three times now that I’ve cooked it up, it gets too crispy, no matter how low the heat I’m using. I prefer my bacon to be softer and chewier; when I was a kid, I’d call it “limber bacon.”

So, over all, my favorite would still have to be the Usinger applewood smoked bacon. If I could figure out a way to get the Dreymiller & Krey to cook up on the limber side, it would be a close second. Good thing I’ve got half a pound remaining in my fridge on which to practice.

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5 thoughts on “The Bacon Thursday Taste Test

  1. That’s a wicked good idea Tom. At this rate, I’ll at least have to make an appearance at Baconfest. And yes, there really is a Baconfest Chicago. (Unfortunately, I just looked it up on the web, and it’s on April 10th, the day I leave for the BVIs. Oh well, next year…)

  2. Mark Holzkopf says:

    Thanks for getting your bacon at Holzkopf’s Meat Market! I’ll be a vendor at Baconfest on April 10th.
    Mark Holzkopf

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