11 Sep The Best Mail Order Bacon: 13 Places To Buy Bacon Online
We did the legwork and found the best places to order bacon online. From small farms to bacon-of-the-month clubs, we have the best list of where to get amazing bacon delivered to your door!
Bacon!! Love it or love it, we consume massive quantities (18 pounds per year per person), obsess over it (wearing bacon socks and bacon ties and bacon boxers), and add it as flavoring on almost every food imaginable. Luckily you’re dealing with a person that loves bacon (like the rest of you) and is willing to do the hard work to provide you with everything you need to know about bacon and where you can purchase the best bacon in the USA.
The 13 Best Places To Order Bacon Online – Researched & Tested!
Keep Reading For A Little Bacon History or Jump Directly To The Best Mail Order Bacon List
What Is Bacon?
Bacon comes from a pig…you probably already knew that. But you may not have known that bacon has been around since 1500 B.C. It’s no wonder it’s so scrumptious…It’s had a long time to be fine-tuned. Bacon comes from a particular part of a pig, as different types of meat can be obtained from different parts of the pig: ham, pork chops, bacon and so on. Bacon is principally prepared from the belly of a pig (aka pork belly), though outside the U.S. it is more common to use the loin (Canada) or shoulder cuts (Europe).
Once the pork is trimmed from the pig, it’s “cured” (a way of preparing the meat) using salt and sugar and either dry packed or brined (water, salt, sugar), oftentimes nitrates are used as well (we will talk about that in a bit). At this juncture, the meat can be dried for weeks or months, smoked (hung and exposed to smoke from wood burning) or boiled.
Is There Good Bacon And Bad Bacon? (Does the sun rise in the East and set in the West?
Bad Bacon: think heavily processed, from factory farmed pigs, full of artificial ingredients and preservatives. This is the kind of bacon you want to avoid (that’s why we’re here). Fortunately, many types of bacon have removed a lot of this stuff by law. In fact, hormones are no longer allowed in raising hogs. Therefore, the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork unless it is followed by a statement that says “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.” It’s that simple. So don’t pay extra just because the label says “Hormone Free” in big print and the federal guidelines in small print.
Better Bacon: unprocessed, with just a few ingredients. Think pork, water, salt, brown sugar and little else.
Best Bacon: unprocessed, preferably cured with natural ingredients, from pasture/humanely raised hogs, free from ALL artificial ingredients and preservatives. More expensive? Yes, but worth every penny. Also, don’t be fooled by label advertising “no nitrates added,” since this isn’t necessarily true (we will explain) and paying for it isn’t worth it!
How Do I Find Good Bacon Online?
First, by reading this article, and then you’ll be on your own to check the ingredients. Good bacon, as we said, will list something like “pork, water, sea salt, brown sugar” for ingredients and not much else. The more ingredients there are beyond that means the more processed it’ll likely be. If there are any ingredients you can’t pronounce, you should not buy it.
What About Turkey Bacon?
Unless it comes from a pig it’s not bacon. Yes, most non-pig bacons will try to convince you that it’s a healthier option. But is that true? “Turkey bacon,” it turns out, is neither bacon nor turkey. I took a quick look at the ingredients while at the supermarket of a supposedly “healthy” turkey bacon: turkey, water, salt, sugar, sodium lactate, canola oil, sodium ascorbate, autolyzed yeast extract, sodium nitrate, dextrose, soy lecithin.” And let me be clear, when they say “turkey” they’re primarily referring to the modified turkey bits they’ve combined to force into bacon shape.
Additionally, soy bacon, veggie bacon and any other type of “bacon surrogate” you might encounter at the supermarket are all culpable of being heavily processed as well. Any claim of being a “healthy alternative” is misleading. I guess it depends on what you consider healthy! You’re better off with the real thing. Why eat the less healthy, less delicious choice when you can have the real deal?
What Is The Difference Between Cured And Uncured Bacon?
There is no difference. Did you know that? Uncured bacon populates the shelves at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and there are even a few choices at supermarkets. It says “uncured” in big letters, and many people buy it because they think it is better for them being free of nitrates and nitrites. But guess what? It isn’t better for you. It does have nitrates and nitrites. Sometimes even at higher levels than cured bacon! The issue is that uncured bacon is actually cured. It’s cured using the same thing – nitrites – which are used in cured bacon. It’s just that in the uncured bacon, the nitrate is derived from celery or beets or some other vegetable or fruit naturally high in nitrate, which is easily converted into nitrite.
In cured bacon, the nitrite is in the form of man-made sodium nitrite. But nitrite is nitrite whatever the source. Vegetable-derived nitrites do the same thing to the meat and they have the same health implications (more on that).
There is one difference, though. When the nitrate comes from sodium or potassium nitrite, it’s regulated. There are no limits for nitrite from celery powder. This doesn’t mean you should expect huge nitrite levels in uncured bacon. Tests have been done and found comparable levels, though a few uncured bacons were higher than their cured counterparts.
But now read this. If you cure bacon with celery rather than sodium nitrite, you are required by law to label that bacon uncured. You also have to include “no nitrates or nitrates added.” Yep, that’s the law.
How can that be if vegetable derived nitrites are the same as sodium? Because the USDA defines “curing agents” as only sodium or potassium nitrate made from synthetic sources. This regulation was adopted before the celery cure existed, and the USDA sometimes does not keep up with food technology. This, obviously, has led to contradictory information and a confusing situation for consumers.
My thoughts: the only reason to cure bacon with celery is to give people the idea that it’s in some ways better than conventionally cured bacon. However, it isn’t better healthwise and it’s a bogus machination to confer unearned health benefits to the product. It should be stopped. Bacon is bacon and both cured and uncured are delicious.
Are Nitrites Unhealthy?
Under certain conditions (like high heat), nitrites can be converted to nitrosamines which are considered to be carcinogens. Fried bacon, as with many cured meats, can end up with nitrosamines. Some studies have indicated that consuming 4 ounces of processed meats everyday can increase the risk of cancer by 13%, but most reports are controversial and not every scientist takes the findings to the bank. Regardless, I think we can all agree, that like most things in life, moderation is the key.
What did it take to make our list of the best mail order bacon websites?
Here are the basic guidelines:
- I looked for bacon that had a ratio of about 60% meat to 40% fat, enough fat to provide flavor and render when cooking so as to crisp up the meat
- I wanted bacon that was uniformly cut with straight rather than curving edges because uneven edges can lead to curling upon cooking and prevent the fat from rendering properly
- The bacon didn’t have to be super thick, but good enough so that slices didn’t crumble easily as a result of being too thin
- A top-notch, quality bacon will be a mixture of smokiness, saltiness, fattiness, flavor, and crunch. In order to make the list, not one element could be missing. That’s why this is an exclusive list reserved for the best of the best. Forty-one bacon’s were tasted. The majority were good, but only thirteen made the final cut.
To create a level playing field, all bacon’s tested were prepared in exactly the same way: stovetop, cold pan, cooked under medium-low heat for 18 minutes. After years of trial and error, I have found 18 minutes to be the ideal amount of cooking time (as per cold pan on medium-low heat) for perfectly crisp bacon. I have found it to work for room temperature bacon or bacon just removed from the fridge, but not frozen.
Without further ado…The Top 13 Places To Buy Bacon on the Internet
Benton’s Hickory Smoked Country Bacon
This is real, old-school stuff. Hand-rubbed with salt, brown sugar and black pepper. About three weeks drying and curing in refrigeration. Wood-stove hickory smoked for two to three days. Picked by hand from the smokehouse and boxed in an adjacent building. Because Benton’s bacon is dry-cured, smoked and vacuum sealed, it’s shelf stable and ships without refrigeration. This is the Cadillac of bacon. Sublime smokiness, right amount of meat and fat. The smoke stabs you in the heart (like Cupid’s arrow) when you open your shipment. Perfect saltiness, thickness and pigginess.
Tip: just one slice will season a whole pot of beans, peas or soup. A tablespoon of the rendered fat after frying is like a pot of gold; it transforms your beans or vegetables.
Weaver’s of Wellsvilles’s Double Smoked Bacon
A family that has been smoking meats since the 1880’s. Only four family members currently know the recipe. Ingredients are sketchy on the package, but the flavor inside is not! It’s out of the park! Sliced thick, meatier texture with less fat than others on this list, but overall balance is good. Nice chew. Smoked twice over an open outdoor fire to provide a mouthful of flavor. Crisps beautiful in the pan.
Weaver’s of Wellsville
Tender Belly’s Cherrywood Smoked Dry-Cure Bacon
Lovely, dark, lean meat: a sign of quality pork. Good striations of fat, excellent thickness. Every taste quotient works. Most of the time you can hardly taste the apples in applewood smoked bacon. But at Tender Belly, the decision to use cherrywood is distinctive and interesting. You cannot miss the flavor. Maybe not for everyone, but for me, the fattiness melds with the sweetness to create a signature flavor. A bold decision to use such a highly flavored fruitwood, but a welcome one in my opinion.
303 305 4360
North Country Smokehouse’s Maple Cured Thick Cut Bacon
This is a rich, rustic bacon. Brined in 100% locally-sourced maple syrup then smoked over applewood. If you are a BBQ enthusiast, you will fall in love with this bacon. This is not a balanced bacon, as the smoke is aggressive, but that doesn’t mean it’s not exceptional…it is charting its own course! Nice meaty flavor. Sweetness plays off the porkiness. You can savor this like a fine French burgundy.
North Country Smokehouse
Bill-E’s Small Batch Bacon
Quality Berkshire Red and Chantilly hogs sourced from midwest farmers. Cured in thick, thick kosher salt, brown sugar with real molasses and pink curing salt. Smoked once, hickory…all about the temperature. Many bacons get carried away with the smoke and then lose the pork (flavor), but not this bacon…the pig remains. This is the kind of bacon that gives the lettuce and the tomato an inferiority complex in a BLT. Benton’s is currently a favorite with chefs all over the country, but Bill-E’s is the new kid on the block.
Broadbent’s Maplewood Smoked Bacon
Normally, a maple bacon would tend to be too sweet, but not this wonderfully crafted piece of meat! The maple complements the smoke, the salt, and the pig to create a rainbow of taste. This bacon is working on all cylinders and exceeded all my expectations. Nice chew and texture.
Broadbent B&B Foods
Vande Rose Farms Applewood Smoked Artisan Dry-Cured Bacon
Iowa-based marketing collective that sources Duroc pork from a number of farms throughout America’s Corn belt. They use all-natural vegetarian feed and have a marked scorn for antibiotics and growth hormones. You can straight away feel all this attention to detail when you take a bite of this bacon. My first reaction: this is singular bacon. Hand-rubbed with brown sugar, salt, spices, then cured about two weeks, and then smoked over applewood for two days.
The result is a rich, red-colored meat with the right balance of fattiness, saltiness and smokiness. There are no shortcuts here (like adding water or phosphates) to achieve flavor. Trust me on this one, you will not be disappointed.
Vande Rose Farms
Four Oak’s Pepper-Coated Hickory Smoked Bacon
Family farm since 1929. When you fry up this bacon, the aroma that will fill up your kitchen is amazing. Old country style: hand-rubbed salt, brown sugar and black pepper. Hickory smoked to pure porcine perfection. Pepper coating makes for a great chew and complements the fattiness. Might not be as famous as others on this list, but don’t sleep on this bacon. I’m warning you.
Four Oaks Farm
D’Artagnan’s Hickory Smoked Bacon
Hickory smoked bacon made with heritage bred pork from small farms that raise the hogs humanely without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones. The pork bellies are naturally smoked over hickory chips using a light cure. This is a versatile bacon to be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Mellow smoke with a pleasant saltiness. I found the edges to crisp up very well.
Nodine’s Juniper Smoked Bacon
A very unique bacon. Smoked with Southern Juniper berries and Hickory hardwood to give a flavor that I never experienced before. Everything in perfect balance: light smokiness, complementary saltiness while maintaining the porkiness. Nice chew. Did not know what to expect when I opened the package, but this bacon turned out to be a real find and one that I will order again.
Darkin Farm’s Cob Smoked Bacon
This Vermont-based bacon is maple-cured and smoked over corn cobs which gives it more of a sweetness and subtle smokiness than its wood-smoked counterparts. Lean, yet retains a meaty flavor. Thick-sliced, fries beautifully and crisps just right.This is the kind of bacon that I want to wrap around a scallop; that would be a marriage made in heaven!
Madison Smokehouse’s Willie’s Montana Honey Moonshine Bacon
A collaboration with Willie’s Distillery, this bacon had me a little sceptical. They use a brine of moonshine made from three grains, molasses and honey. Smoked for two days over wood. After preparing it, I was no longer doubtful. It was pleasantly sweet with a spirited kick. Classic fat striations. Crisps nicely. Never judge a book (or bacon) by its cover; this turned out to be one of the best tastes.
Pine Street Market’s Heritage Bacon
Quality, heritage Duroc hogs fed a vegetarian diet. Raised with strict animal welfare standards to produce a juicy meat oozing with goodness. Dry-rubbed with salt and molasses and cured for seven days. No water or phosphates used, so this meat has only its own natural flavor.
Smoked over a blend of Applewood and White Oak. The addition of the White Oak gives this bacon a deep, subtle, smoky aroma and flavor. Two part sensation: the rich smell while cooking and a taste explosion while eating. Scores big in every category: smokiness, saltiness, flavor and crunch.
Pine Street Market
Avondale Estates, GA
404 296 9672
So there you have it: thirteen delicious bacons, crafted by artisans, that can be delivered to your front door. Now that’s really bringing home the bacon! I hope you enjoyed our look into smokiness, saltiness, fattiness and flavor. Now it’s time to go enjoy a BLT!