Taste Test: Yoder's Canned Bacon And Oscar Mayer Fully Cooked Bacon

Due to
popular demand and the fact that we love trying weird foods and candies, The
A.V. Club will now regularly feature "Taste Tests." Feel free to
suggest disgusting and/or delicious new edibles for future installments: E-mail
us at
tastetest@theonion.com.

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Yoder's
Canned Bacon and Oscar Mayer Fully Cooked Bacon

Bacon's
always been a big motivator 'round Taste Test way, harkening back to our very
first installment of the feature, Mo's
Bacon Bar
. Bacon
lollypops
, bacon
salt
, Bacon
combos
... If you can bacon it up, we'll force it down in the name of
science. But the big daddy of bacon gastro-experimentation has eluded us, until
today.

We'd been
wanting to test Yoder's canned bacon since we heard about it months back, but
it was only available to purchase in a case of 12. As much as we wanted
to—and believe us, we considered it—we could not bring ourselves to
purchase (for over $100) the equivalent of roughly 36 pounds of canned bacon,
not when we hear there's some sort of economic crisis going on. (Then again, we
could all be huddled in caves eating whatever food we can scrounge up soon
enough. Perhaps this was a missed opportunity.) At any rate, an alert reader
named Rick agreed to send us a can from his case in exchange for a quick plug
for his website. Here ya go, Rick: Check out chefresource.com.
(He also sent us canned cheese, canned Irish whiskey cake, and super-gigantic
marshmallows, all of which we'll be taste testing at some point.)

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If you're
asking yourself "Why the hell would anyone feel the need to can bacon?" you
obviously haven't
been paying attention
. This isn't about the why, or even the how.
It's about the why-the-hell-not? And anyway, we're not here to question these
products' existence; we're here to eat them and make witty bon mots for your
amusement and derision.

Since
apparently canned bacon isn't enough of a novelty on its own, we supplemented
this Taste Test with another pseudo-bacon, Oscar Mayer's pre-cooked ready to
serve bacon strips. (I would like to point out that I was a vocal opponent of
this product's inclusion, as I have bought and used these for many years for
quick BLTs and salads, and maintain that they are nowhere near "weird" enough
to be included in the same league as canned meat. But I was overruled by a
bunch of snobs who couldn't believe boxed bacon could be anything other than an
abomination.)

Taste: It's hard to believe anyone could
actually get a slice of Yoder's close enough to actually consume it without dry
heaving. The process of opening and forcing the product out of the can is
slightly traumatic: The stale-bacon smell, the soggy, grease-soaked paper, the
gloopy white scabs of fat clinging to the gory roll of
meat—budget-conscious independent filmmakers looking to make a gruesome
horror flick, are you paying attention?

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Once the
little bundle of flesh was unrolled, it looked enough like bacon for us to peel
off a piece and take a bite, though few got beyond that first nibble. Yes, it
tastes kind of like bacon, the same way Purina Beggin' Strips might taste
kind of like bacon. (Not that we'd know... really!) The essence of bacon was
there, thanks to a healthy injection of "smoke flavor," but the texture was
completely off—stringy and mealy and not at all meat-like.

The greasy
sheen it left behind on our fingers didn't do much to endear it further. In the
future, should any of us happen to wind up stranded in the wilderness in
desperate need of bacon, chances are good that most of us will attempt to hunt
down a wild pig with a sharpened stick and a rock rather than bust open a can
of Yoder's again. It would probably be less messy.

The box
bacon was the obvious winner in this match-up. Though it's still clearly
inferior bacon, very lean and limp out of the box, at least it doesn't look
like roadkill. Both products became markedly more palatable when heated
up—imagine that!—but the Oscar Meyer stuff could almost be mistaken
for the stuff you'd find next to your eggs at the neighborhood diner.

In fact, we
strongly suspect that the deli around the corner that most of us eat lunch at
uses this exact product in its sandwiches. However, when it takes four minutes
to warm up a slice of either of these in a skillet, and maybe two minutes
longer to fry up an actual slice of uncooked bacon that hasn't been preserved
using God-only-knows-what, the convenience factor does little to mitigate the
inferior taste. (Though the 20-second microwave time is admittedly pretty
snappy.)

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Extra
Credit:
Of course
we put the bacon salt on the canned bacon! What do you take us for? Dave Chang
files this report.

Office
Reactions

Yoder's
Canned bacon

— "It's
like bacon wrapped in lube."

— "This is
stomach-revoltingly awful."

— "First
appearances didn't help much. A wadded mass of very dark brown bacon packed
tightly in a can. There's some congealed fat pockets mixed in and some very
greasy paper holding it together."

—"It looks
pretty awful coming out of the can, but you know what? Bacon is greasy.
Bitching because it looks greasy coming out of the can is like whining about
bread for being all bready."

—"I don't know
how you'd ever enjoy the canned bacon if you actually opened the can yourself."

— "I took
one small bite, and I could feel my insides cramp up to say 'No fucking way.'"

—"The main
taste characteristic is that it's smoky, almost the only quality. Didn't taste
like pork or much of anything."

—"It looks
rancid in the can, but doesn't taste any different than what you would get in a
Baconator from BK or a Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger."

— "I looked at my hands after taking a piece and my fingers
were extremely greasy. Had to wash up."

— "I think
everybody had a sample of this and there was still a mound of bacon left on the
plate. If nothing else, there's a lot of value in canned bacon."

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—"If it's
possible to get a headache from the smell of sub-par bacon, I have one."

— [One hour
later.] "My mouth tastes like metal. It has a metallic sheen on it."

Oscar Meyer
Ready To Eat bacon

— "It's a
salt lick!"

— "You
know, as much as it pains me to say it, I don't mind this."

—"I microwaved it and put it on a sandwich, it was
completely tasty. No complaints. But I think I had 3,000 percent of my sodium
intake for the day in about two bites."

—"It looks terrible—disturbingly precise and exact,
like a child's plastic toy version of bacon, or like fruit roll-ups with bacon
patterns printed on it. Unheated, it has almost no flavor. It's like cling-wrap
with a little smoke scent on it."

—"Microwaved, it's pretty amazing. It has that horrible
white sheen of grease until you pat it down and dry it, but then it's perfectly
crisp and deliciously bacony. It's like a Platonic ideal of bacon. I'm
seriously tempted to start buying this, as much as I've mocked it in the past."

—"The better of the two bacons. Evenly cooked, chewy, not
too lean or fatty. Tasted fine cold. Meaty and not at all artificial tasting."

—"Nicely packaged container, though not a lot of bacon
slices per box. Regular bacon shrinks when you cook it so you could argue that
about half the grease is cooked away before it's packaged."

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—"I'm pretty picky when it comes to bacon, and neither of
those do it for me at all."

—"Maybe too convenient for bacon. I imagine intending to
make 'healthy' BLT sandwiches, but instead eating the whole package of bacon
slices like potato chips. Like keeping a loaded gun in your refrigerator."

Where to
get it:
Yoder's:
Gather up 11 friends whom you despise and head over to mredepot.com for a case. Oscar Mayer: Most grocery
stores carry it, though we inexplicably found ours in the produce section
rather than the meat aisle.

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