Trader Joe’s Uncured Bacon Ends and PiecesPosted: July 15, 2014 Filed under: Bacon, Meat, Trader Joe's Brand | Tags: 3 stars, applewood smoked, bacon 11 Comments
You’ve probably heard about the oncoming Breakfast Armageddon. Your traditional, western-style breakfast table of bacon and eggs – the hearty, workman-like breakfast of middle-class, middle America – is on an out of control roller coaster ride straight into the mouth of Hell. What I mean, of course, is that the cornerstones of breakfast – bacon and eggs – have seen unprecedented price spikes over the last 12 months (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics). Due to a conflux of calamities, including global drought and widespread swine pestilence, the price for a pound of bacon has jumped nearly 19% between May 2013 and May 2014.
Certainly I don’t want to be accused of fear mongering, but according to the computer simulators here at EatingAtJoes.net, if this trend continues a pound of bacon will cost $572.38 by 2029, at which point it will be cheaper to just start eating human. At the risk of appearing hyperbolic, I absolutely urge you to smash down the doors of your nearest supermarket and steal as much bacon as you can carry this very second. That, or switch over to Trader Joe’s Bacon Ends and Pieces!
I picked up this oblong little pack of scrunched up pork while weighing my grocery bill against the climbing price tag of Trader Joe’s truly, truly delicious Applewood Smoked Bacon. I’m on the record as saying that the bacon fad long ago become tiresome, and am the foremost proponent calling for a period of bacon tumescence, say a decade or so, at which point we can all start eating it again and sticking it in vodka and whatever. That said, TJ’s applewood smoked bacon makes me go weak in the knees when I smell it sizzling up in it’s own, rich fat on the skillet.
It was this battle of my animal id against my budgetary superego that Trader Joe’s so deftly diffused by producing their bacon ends and pieces.
As you can gather from the name, Trader Joe’s Bacon Ends and Pieces are the assorted left over bits of bacon that they didn’t see fit to package in their regular packs of Applewood Smoked Bacon. To a certain mindset, that means you’re eating Trader Joe’s trash, but don’t think about that. Instead, focus on the deal! In exchange for choosing the bacon rejects, and forgoing the niceties of traditional packaging, you get 12 oz of delicious, nitrate-free, applewood smoked bacon for only two bucks and change, less than half the regular price.
What I was expecting from that price, and the smaller package, was a bunch of irregular chunks of varying thickness. I was surprised to find that this wasn’t the case. On opening the pack, I discovered that the strips had been folded, but were otherwise the same size and shape as regular bacon. The big difference is in the fat/meat ration. While TJ’s regular Applewood Smoked Bacon is more or less uniformly fatty, these bacon ends varied between 50% – 80% fat. Obviously, this isn’t ideal. After all, I’m the yutz who usually buys turkey bacon. That said, a little carefully slicing with my kitchen knife before putting them in the pan left me with bacon that was as lean or leaner than what I normally get.
It’s important to note, by the way, that your results may vary. The bacon ends and pieces are a grab bag by nature. The fattiness of the pieces, and their size, is likely to vary from package to package.
I’m sure there are those of you out there who fear picking these up lest they be branded by the stigma of poverty. After all, isn’t this just poor people’s bacon? Well – yes, maybe. But don’t forget that what you’re buying here is not just a breakfast substitute, but a raw ingredient with a long culinary tradition. There are things you can do with bacon ends and pieces that you can’t do, or wouldn’t want to do, with the neatly packaged kind. As the internet has exhaustively noted, the applications of bacon are limited only by your creativity, but in particular the higher fat content of the end pieces makes them perfect for dicing up and cooking in stews and soups, adding to green beans and baked beans, or any dish that you want to infuse with a rich, smokey hint of savory bacon.
For my part, I poured off the excess bacon fat, then cooked my eggs straight on the still glistening skillet – giving them that extra touch of delectable goodness. If you’re happy with your bacon as is, by all means continue buying as usual. If, however, you’re looking for relief from the rising cost of breakfast, or are looking for some fatty goodness to throw in the stock pot, this bacon gets the job done.
Would I Recommend Them: Yes, if you’re not concerned about your fat intake.
Would I Buy Them Again: Yes for cooking projects, but they were too caloric for my everyday bacon.
Final Synopsis: Extremely delicious bacon, with more fat for less money.
I had to laugh at the serving size. A tablespoon of bacon??
Yes – that is ridiculous! I guess even Trader Joe’s isn’t above serving size shenanigans.
To give you a better idea, there are about 65 “tablespoon” servings of bacon in the whole package. That’s a total of 2,275 calories, and 195 grams (1,635 calories) of fat.
I have to say that I was baffled at first by the “serving size.” I figure that the “tablespoon” is 15 ml volume of raw bacon, yield after cooking. Which may be conceivable given that the stuff is really meant to be used for recipes, although, honestly, I think is a ludicrous measurement.
Husband and I routinely cook this for breakfast. When I’m interested in tracking the nutrition in it, I estimate how much of the package I have eaten (say 1/4 package, or 4 oz raw), and I assign to it the nutritional information for an equivalent quantity of the Uncured Applewood Bacon slices.
“Bacon tumescence”? Is that *really* what you meant to say? Tumescence is a word usually linked to, well, rather different phenomena! I guess you are really aroused by bacon. Anyway, thanks for the review. I now see the problem I had when I bought the ends/pieces several months ago. I tried to eat it as straight bacon, didn’t really like it, wrapped up the rest and forgot about it. I had to throw the whole thing out eventually. Flavoring stuff with it makes lots of sense.
Apparently TJ’s has stopped carrying it. My new store in Palm Beach Gardens, FL doesn’t have it and, as usual, no one knows a thing.
I am a big fan of this product, however, the last package I bought in early November became moldy within days without opening the package. I returned it for a quick refund and I couldnt find it since. The associate didnt seemed surprised that this happened.
This package of bacon ends and pieces is as tasty as almost any bacon we’ve had. I originally got it for a recipe that called for crumbled bacon–the price can’t be beat! The thickest pieces taste like crispy pork belly from a good restaurant. I bake it at 400 and turn on the convection at the end to be sure it gets crispy. It leaves a lot of nice fat in the baking pan if you are a person who saves it.
It is still out there, I just bought it at CT store last week and was perfect for today’s snow day. Some pieces were mainly fat but I was surprised at the number of really long slices folded in half that were mixed in there. I oven bake mine and left the fatty pieces a little longer to render it down, I was good and only made about 1/3 of it this am (mostly for lentil soup that is in the crock-pot now). The meat is pretty high quality and tasty, it smelled awesome baking(my dog agreed) and now I have a good few TBSP of rendered liquid gold to use for something later(cornbread maybe??). Totally worth the money for a good amount of bacon, not sure I would could on it for strips to be in all packages but for crumbled bacon or anything you’d be cutting up anyways this stuff is really good. Since there are no preservatives I wouldn’t leave it long once opened, especially in warmer weather.
Yeap still available as of a couple months ago….Bought at the store in Mckinney,TX
Found it Walmart 3lb pack for $7.69
TJs stopped selling these (in AZ at least)