While everyone is rhapsodizing about the wonders of bacon and adding the porcine strips to everything imaginable (from ice cream to cocktails), there are some people left out of the bacon frenzy. For our non-pork-eating friends, there is still a way to have bacon in the morning -- with turkey instead of pork. While some purists might cry "fowl" at the idea of turkey bacon, this substitute breakfast meat is widely popular. In fact, at least four companies sell a version of turkey bacon at your local Publix.
We compared all four brands of turkey bacon in a very unscientific taste test. Here are the results:
Butterball Turkey Bacon ($2.99)
Butterball is synonymous with turkey (just the name conjures thoughts of Thanksgiving). Its turkey bacon comprises chopped-smoked-cured dark and white meat. The strips cook very quickly and have the capacity to burn if you don't pay attention. Though the strips are thin, they are also quite crisp. Nevertheless, the bacon is tasteless and reminiscent of chewing thin cardboard. There is also a slightly sour aftertaste. Each slice has 25 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 135 mg of sodium.
Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon ($2.99)
This turkey bacon has the South Beach Diet seal of approval on the packaging. After a few minutes in the frying pan, the strips are crisp and smoky in flavor. They taste the most like regular bacon, although the meat is very salty. Each slice has 35 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 180 mg of sodium.
Jennie-O Extra-Lean Turkey Bacon ($1.99)
The thicker slices look impressive. However, they don't crisp well after a few minutes in the frying pan. In fact, even after they are "done," the strips still taste raw and flavorless. Overall, this flaccid turkey bacon is very unappetizing. Each slice has 20 calories, 0.5 fat grams, and 120 mg of sodium.
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Applegate Farms Uncured Turkey Bacon ($4.39)
This is the most expensive of the options, but Applegate Farms is also the most artisanal. The turkey is antibiotic- and nitrite-free. The slices are also meaty and thick and look the least processed. The final product is flavorful, smoky, and gourmet (well, as gourmet as turkey bacon can ever hope to be). Each slice has 35 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 200 mg of sodium.
Our least favorite, by a long shot, is the Jennie-O turkey bacon. On top is Applegate Farms' version. Oscar Mayer comes in second, with Butterball trailing behind it.