Make us your home page
Instagram

Taste test: bacon bits

Summer salads are a staple in my house — a great break from the hot oven, stove or even the barbecue grill. But, if a meal doesn't include meat, my family members think it's an appetizer. So I am always looking for a way to incorporate protein in every entree. Our judges have the same philosophy. For some dishes, bacon bits are a great option. They add a touch of salty, meaty flavor without overpowering a bowl of greens, vegetables or starches. We found four brands of real bacon bits (not the hard, imitation variety) and compared each for appearance, texture and flavor. In the end, most judges said they likely would take the time to fry up a few strips of bacon when they need a little extra flavor for a dish, although a couple of these packaged options might work in a pinch.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Hormel 64Publix 50Great Value 41Oscar Mayer 41
Judges'

comments
Judges preferred these bacon pieces for their nice chop and "genuinely smoky meatiness." One panelist said he appreciated the smaller cut of the pieces and the mildness of the flavor. "They would be good as a salad topper or on a main dish because they wouldn't overpower the flavor," he said. "These don't have an overwhelmingly bacon taste." The store brand was the favorite of a couple of panelists because they liked the leanness of the meat and the not-too-salty flavor. "These are the best of the bunch," said one judge. Another said they looked and tasted homemade. "They have a nice overall appeal," he added. One said they would be a nice addition to deviled eggs. "This could dress up a lot of things from appetizers to dessert," said another.These bits looked like real bacon, according to our tasters. "They are slightly smoky and a bit on the fatty side — in a good way," said one judge. Another liked the larger size of the pieces and the pleasing smokiness. These were heavy on salty flavor, warned a couple of judges. "I like the smoky notes and would sprinkle these on salads or an omelet, perhaps," said a panelist who would buy the brand.The bacon bits from this familiar hot dog maker didn't impress judges as much as they had hoped. The meat bits were fatty and a little too chewy for a couple of panelists. One judge appreciated the mild saltiness and the finely chopped size of the pieces. "These would be good in an omelet strata or as a garnish for chili," she said.

Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$4.58 for a 6-ounce pouch from Walmart.$2 for a 3-ounce pouch.$1 for a 2.5-ounce pouch from Walmart.$2.48 for a 3-ounce pouch from Walmart.


Panelists: Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery, retired restaurant manager; Mary Jane Park, executive director of the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District; and Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to mstark@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.

Serving size1 tablespoon1 tablespoon1 tablespoon1 tablespoon
Calories25253030
Fat/Fiber1.5g / 0g1.5g / 0g2g / 0g2g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium0g / 200mg0g / 220mg0g / 190mg0g / 160mg
Carbs/Protein0g / 3g0g / 3g0g / 3g0g / 3g

Taste test: bacon bits 06/13/16 [Last modified: Monday, June 13, 2016 12:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tom Sawyer with a revolver? Twain house has live 'Clue' game

    Attractions

    HARTFORD, Conn. — Was it Tom Sawyer in Samuel Clemens' billiard room with a revolver?

    In this July 14 photo, actor Dan Russell, left, portraying the character Arkansas from Mark Twain's book Roughing it, responds to a question from 10-year-old Emma Connell, center, of Arizona during a "Clue" tour at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Conn. The tour allows visitors to interact with Twain characters while playing a live-action version of the board game. [AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb]
  2. Until this song, Alan Parsons Project stood on much higher ground

    Blogs

    Listening to yesterday's Keats song made me pine for more Alan Parsons Project music and today we dig deeper into their catalogue with Standing On Higher Ground.

  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 23

    Events

    Marie Antoinette: Freefall 411: A contemporary look at the historic pariah looks at Marie Antoinette through the lens of society's obsession with celebrity. Through August 13. A brief talk prior to the performance provides insight to the production. 1 p.m., show starts at 2 p.m., Freefall Theatre, 6099 Central …

    Lucas Wells as King Louis XVI, left, and Megan Rippey as Marie Antoinette in Freefall Theatre's "Marie Antoinette."
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 22

    Events

    Snooty the Manatee's 69th Birthday Bash: Snooty, documented by Guinness World Records as the oldest known manatee in captivity, turns 69 and celebrates with children's games, art activities, cookies, drinks , interaction with Snooty the mascot and reduced price museum admission. 10 a.m., South Florida Museum, 201 …

    Snooty the manatee poses for a photo Thursday morning while three young manatees are unloaded from Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa Thursday morning at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton.
PAUL VIDELA/pvidela@bradenton.com 12/20/07
  5. Spring Hill to mark golden anniversary with celebration at Lake House

    Events

    SPRING HILL

    It was 1967 when the Deltona Corp. began selling homes in western Hernando County, a rural area that previously had been little more than a vast forest of oak and pine trees.

    This photo, taken in 1967, shows Spring Hill’s signature waterfall at the intersection of Spring Hill Drive and U.S. 19. The community will celebrate its 50th anniversary on July 27.