Archive for the ‘BACON PRODUCT REVIEWS’ Category
Thanks to Snackle Mouth for sending out some delicious snacks for the office to try! http://snacklemouth.com/
“Big Mouth Snack is located in Boulder, CO and our featured product, Snackle Mouth®, was developed by us, three guys named “John”. We crafted a healthy, tasty, and simple granola nut snack with a high degree of clumpability. What is clumpability, you ask? Simply put, it’s a phenomenal flavor cluster, embodying superior taste, and made from the most simple natural and organic ingredients on the planet. Nutritious, fun and easy to grab on the go, and, the very best part…drum roll please…the taste will blow you away. Enjoy!!”
Because we’re a bacon related website, we’re going to focus on their Maple Bacon Granola Nut Clusters. List of ALL NATURAL ingredients:
> BACON (see below)
> ORGANIC BLUE AGAVE
> BROWN RICE SYRUP
In particular, I wanted to focus on what they used for bacon. We get a ton of products sent to use – most of them with ‘bacon flavoring’ which usually never tastes good, or even remotely close to bacon.
Here’s what they had to say about the bacon they use:
“Our nitrate free bacon packs a lot of flavor in teeny tiny pieces. Bacon can be a good source of sodium, healthy saturated fats and protein and actually contains something called Choline, which among other things, helps stimulate brain development and fight brain impairments like Alzheimer’s disease. Plus it’s super yummy!”
FINALLY!! A company that uses REAL bacon in their product!! After munching on a few handfuls, I looked down to realized I at the entire box. Must have been good – right? It was. Take your basic rock-hard granola brick and smatch it all up. Add some bacon, almonds, pecans, oats and meld it together with syrup. I can’t think of a better on the go -easy to eat snack.
I left a few boxes of this in our kitchen at the office. Needless to say, they started disappearing on by one. When I asked around to see what people thought, they didn’t have much to say. Was it because anything that you put out in the office always gets eaten, or because this was such a majical compibation of ingredients, people didn’t know why it was so good?
8 /10 for us. Why? Need moar bacon! ; )
To purchase this product, visit: http://www.abesmarket.com/snackle-mouth-bacon-maple-granola-nut-clusters-5-5-oz.html
Walking around Uptown – Minneapolis, my wife and I stumbled upon a ‘soft’ opening at Prime Bar – Minneapolis. Among some of the delicious smaller treats they had was Bacon Roll. Since I love bacon and had no idea what this was – I had to try it.
As you can see by the picture above – it looked amazing. I was totally shocked by this plate. This was literally thick cut bacon wrapped up in a roll, ‘garnished’ with an assortment of beans, vedgies and cilantro – which combined to gether worked.
10/10 from me.
If you’re around the Uptown Minneapolis area – take a load off and stop by Prime Bar and get yourself a Bacon Roll!
Here’s what it looked like after a few bites:
So The Vegetarian has the benefit of working at a building whose parking lot acts as a rendezvous point for nearly all of the areas food trucks over the course of a given week. I have the inside scoop (pun intended, in this case) on all the crazy goods that come through and an excuse to have a nosh with my wife. Last week I got the bulletin that there was a truck present offering promises of a Bacon Maple milkshake. I saw a gap in my schedule and made a mad dash to her locale.
The fellows working the truck were very personable and excited that I was ordering their concoction. A brief conversation convinced me that they take their bacon very seriously. Even better. The shake was made from hand-scooped vanilla ice cream and real crumbled bacon. I missed the maple part of it but I’m assuming it was maple syrup – evidence to come later in this review. It was served in a stealthy and unassuming wax paper soda cup.
I was very excited. Real bacon in a shake. I’d had it in ice creams and custards before but not in a form intended to be consumed via straw. I really liked the Jack in the Box bacon shake but it was just flavored with syrup. This was the real deal Holyfield. How would it show? Read on!
My impressions: Not enough maple. It was in there but barely noticeable. It was clearly overwhelmed by the inherent vanilla. Also, it didn’t seem to blend very well. As I was taking pulls off the straw, I would get these occasional gelatinous blobs in the ice cream stream. My best guess was that it was dollops of syrup that didn’t get well mixed into the ice cream. Not a big deal. Some people may even like surprise maple bombs. For me it was less a taste issue than it was a texture issue. It threw me off. The consistency of the shake itself was great. Not too thick, not too runny but then… blobs. I dunno. Anyhow, next was the bacon. It was good quality bacon but, as I suspected, it was a bit of a straw clogging issue. It wasn’t chopped up fine enough. In fact, what came up the straw was just the little sprinkles and dust created by the cutting process. The real bits were far too big for any straw to handle. It made for a fantastic last lid-off chug mouthful of bacon and ice cream but that’s about it. I would rather have had a more linear bacon experience from start to finish, rather than a big last hurrah.
I wanted so bad for this to be my bacon shake mecca but in my opinion it just fell flat. A good concept with good ingredients but with flawed execution. Sorry guys. The search continues.
So I’m a man of many diverse tastes. One of my favorite hip-hop albums ever is “Taste The Secret” by Ugly Duckling. The recurring theme of the album revolves around a fictional fast-food restaurant named “Meat Shake”, which makes milkshakes out of, you guessed it, meat (and “secret syrup”, amongst other creative ingredients). I’ve often daydreamed about what this would be like if it were to actually be incarnated. Well this extremely clever bit of musical fiction just kicked through the 4th wall like Chuck Norris on a meth bender and came crashing into my little world. I got the memo about Jack In The Box‘s Bacon Shake and I hot-footed to my nearest franchise to see what it was all about.
Like most of you who are reading this, I’ve been burned by edibles that claim to be bacon flavored too many times to count. Gummy bacon, bacon mints, bacon soda. All like licking a salty mudflap. Horrific. It’s no understatement to say that despite my enthusiasm, I approached the Bacon Shake with much trepidation. One would assume that a major chain like Jack wouldn’t release a product, even a limited edition one, without extensive positive testing and feedback. However, in my mind, the odds of the Bacon Shake being the holy grail of desserts were neck-and-neck with the chance of it making me want trade in my assaulted tastebuds for a kick to the groin for even thinking such dreams could come true. The words “bacon syrup” in the description were my biggest concern. I’ve had shakes and other frozen confections with actual crumbled bacon in them and they were delicious. Jack was taking the route that pretty much all the failed bacon novelties had. It was going totally artificial.
I ordered my shake, pulled into a dark corner of the parking lot and got my partner in bacon crime Andrew on the phone so he could bear witness to my first reactions. The following is a summary of my report.
Initial observations. It really smells like bacon. Not like liquid smoke or sweaty aluminum pipe or season salt. Actual bacon. It’s faint but it strikes my nostrils as pretty darn authentic. This does much to ease my nervousness as I go for the straw. I take the first pull and… magic. I was in stunned bliss. So much so that I think Andrew asked if I needed him to call for medical assistance because I had been poisoned. Far from it. It tasted like I was eating vanilla ice cream with a spoon made of bacon. The essence of bacon spun harmoniously within the vanilla ice cream. This pleased me. It wasn’t trying to taste like liquified bacon, which was my biggest fear. It was trying to be bacon in your dessert, and it pretty much nailed it. No artificial aspects to the flavor, no terrible aftertaste, sucker-punching you in the palette when you think you’re home-free. Just honest to goodness marriage of vanilla and bacon, without the chewing. If I had to nitpick, I’d say it just needs the tiniest dash of salt to really clinch it but it’s not a deal breaker by any step of the imagination.
Kudos, Jack In The Box food scientists. We shall be chalking this one up as a W. Next time you pass your neighborhood chemist, instead of giving him or her a wedgie or making fun of their pocket protector, give them a solid high-five. Or perhaps invite them to your local Jack In The Box for a Bacon Shake. For a limited time only. Now if those same scientists could only make the Bacon Shake a little healthier. The nutritional facts on it are pretty abysmal. The large is almost 1100 Calories with 108 grams of sugar, 461mg of sodium and 54 grams of fat, 37 of which are saturated. Sadly, that’s not really going to be enough to stop me from mainlining them every chance I get until they’re yanked from the menu. Bottoms up!
Update 1-13-12: So this seems to be an absolutely polarizing product. I’m not sure if the critics are just more outspoken than the fans or if I’m just an anomaly in the gastroverse (along with a couple others). I have indeed gone back for more bacon shake-ness, at a Jack nearly 100 miles from the first one, and the product was consistent with the original sample. This leads me to believe that it’s not a matter of some franchises blowing the recipe during concoction, so I can’t try to blame some of the bad reviews on that. As with anything in life, some people are bound to not like it and that’s totally fine. The only thing that bums me out is how many folks who are review it clearly have a sour attitude towards bacon and it’s popularity in general. Multiple reviews lead off with “Bacon is so over” and other statements that bacon’s popularity is overrated, which makes me skeptical of their expectations, interpretations, or even proper mindset towards the product in the first place. I wouldn’t expect a guy with a “Rap sucks” shirt to appreciate, or positively review a top-rate hip-hop album, for instance. I respect his right to an opinon, though. I myself was admittedly skeptical but put any expectations aside and found a shiny silver lining. I’m a hardcore bacon fanatic so I represent the other side of the coin so my own opinion has to be taken with a grain of salt. In the end, it’s all a matter of taste, right?
Update 1-21-12: This will be my final amendment. I went back for thirds, really paying attention to the most frequently cited issues with the Bacon Shake by other reviewers. This time I did the shake alone, whereas I had eaten other menu items with it previously which could have influenced my palette. One of the biggest complaints, besides the taste in general, was of an aftertaste. I did not get any sense of bad aftertaste. I personally didn’t get any real aftertaste at all, frankly. Regarding the taste overall, I really thought to myself “does it taste like bacon?”. Perhaps not the same as if I had actually chewed up bacon with a mouth full of vanilla shake, but in my opinion it’s unmistakably bacon flavored. If you didn’t tell someone that it was a bacon shake and they tried it, I firmly believe that four out of five would tell you that it tasted bacon-y. Like buttered popcorn Jelly Belly Beans, the taste is close enough to the real thing that it’s creepy. How you take that taste, well that’s up to you.
As mentioned previously, I recently tied the knot with The Vegetarian. As many of you know, the pre-wedding period involves showers, where the couples receive gifty things. Well, my now mother-in-law, well knowing of my shadowy superhero-esque alter ego of BetterThanAndrew, vigilante baconologist, was appalled that I didn’t have a bacon press. Being the upstanding enabler that she is, she rectified the situation by begifting me an Old Mountain cast iron press.
It’s quite the beefy (err, porky) unit. I’m not sure where it tips the scales but it strikes me as being around the 4-5 lb mark. Then again, I’m a terrible estimator so I could be way off. (Edit: confirmed at around 4 lbs) It’s hefty, though. It measures in at about 7.5″ in diameter and centers nicely in the flat portion of a 10″ skillet. It’s got enough surface area to cover 4 good slices vertically. It was pre-seasoned, which was convenient. No fussing with baking it in the oven for a couple hours before I could use it to smash some swine.
Construction is solid, IMHO. I don’t have other presses to compare it to but my meter is that I’m pretty sure that if I was attacked by a secret agent assassin in my kitchen I could use it to deflect his gunfire and then smash his face in, Jason Bourne style, with no consequential damage to the press. The handle is attached by two beveled flat head phillips screws, flush with the pressing surface so there’s no concerns with scratching your cookware, and secured topside with a washer and nut. A crush nut or split-washer would instill more confidence but I’m not terribly concerned about the nuts coming loose, even after assassin attack. If they did it’d be a quick fix with a screwdriver and a wrench (or pliars, or what have you, if you’re not someone with a Bob Villa-endorsed workbench). The handle is a nice chromed steel with a coiled grip. I’ve never had issues with it heating up during use and it has excellent knuckle clearance from the press surface. Some of the “competing” units I’ve since seen online have a stubby wooden knob or similar grip that’s looks like a quick ticket to blisterville if you’re not careful. The only downside I’ve found is that the heads of the screws can get grease packed up in them during the cooking process. All that really means is an extra couple seconds during the cleaning process, though. It’s of very small concern in the grand scheme of things.
It does what it was designed to do very well. It prevents curling, speeds up cooking time and evenness, and reduces spatter, even better than my old pan screens did. Clean up is a breeze. Hot water and a bit of Dawn and she’s all ready for another round with that smiling pig looking up at you as if to say “Anything I can do to help, sir!” It’s the quintessential bacon preparation tool, besides tongs, and I’m ashamed it’s taken me this long to own one. Bacon tested, BetterThanAndrew approved!
This bad boy is available from a number of online retailers for under $20.00. Do your bacon proud!