“ Brand: Sainsbury's / Type: Meat „
As anyone will tell you, bacon makes everything taste fantastic. But it tends to be expensive. What about this though? It's just £1.60 a pack, and isn't really bad at all.
It is the same bacon we all know and love, and you get about 10 rashers in there. It is available as unsmoked as well; there's just as much choice as with the pricier options.
It is oddly shaped; not in the traditional bacon rasher shape. Normally, you'd have a nice round bit of bacon with fat around the edge, and a tail bit, in a kind of "b" shape. However, here it could be any shape. Basics products seem to follow this pattern; the products are all different shapes and sizes rather than being uniform. Perceived quality these days seems to go on the shape and size of the products, rather than how good they taste.
When getting it out of the packet, it can fall apart very easily. When you do manage to get a clean rasher out of there, it seems to be very thin, although I see others have said they get thicker slices; again it's luck of the draw with basics, they're not all the same shape and size, which is why they are such good value. However, in my case, it was so thin you could almost see through it.
I grill my bacon on a George Foreman, it tends to be much healthier this way, as the fat drains off. A good bit of bacon will not have much fat come off, but here there is quite a lot that drips out, which means it's not the healthy option, but hey, it's bacon, so who cares?
The final bit is the taste; and here it's the good old bacon taste everyone loves so much. However, with it not being a standard bacon shape, the fat isn't in the usual places, so getting it crispy can be difficult. And with it being so thin, you'll need a fair few slices to make a decent sandwich. I found grilling 2 or 3 slices all stuck together, for a while longer than normal, would be perfect for bacon sandwiches.
All in all then, it's not too bad, but being oddly shaped can make it tricky to get it out of the pack in one piece, and could affect the crispyness of it. However, the Morrisons "Savers" equivalent (Savers is the Morrisons version of Sainsbury's Basics) seem to be thicker, and of a more uniform shape, for the same money. All things considered, I'd get those instead.
I needed some bacon for use in a recipe, and since I wasn't going to just be eating it on it's own, I figured there would be no problem at all with using a cheaper economy brand bacon instead of something more expensive.
The packaging is as picture above, clear shrink wrap style packaging with a plain orange and white label.
Opening the pack, I could immediately see that the bacon slices were fairly irregular in thickness . This is something I'm generally used to with economy brands. The slices were also packed in pretty tightly, which made them a little difficult to seperate . The first slice was thin and fell apart a little in my hands, but the next few were regular thickness for bacon . The next slice, however, was a whopper - a good centimetre thick, followed by another of the same thickness . I really needed quite thin bacon for my recipe, so decided to put the two thick slices aside for a chunky bacon sandwich in the morning .
I cooked my bacon on my worktop grill - I love using this to cook, as I can see the fat running out of the food I cook - and the bacon was pretty fatty, with plenty of rind. It also was full of water, the water running out with the fat into the drip tray . This did mean that the bacon shrunk a fair bit while cooking.
The bacon had a lovely smoky smell to it, and when I ate it in the recipe, it tasted absolutely fine . The real flavour test would come the next day, when I came to cook the bacon 'steaks' that were left in the packet . They naturally took longer to cook, which wasn't an issue for me, but might be if you were buying this bacon for a fryup and intending to cook it all at once.
However, I must say they tasted really nice - not too salty, with a delicate woody smoked flavour and a real meatiness. They also remained quite moist after cooking, which I also liked.
Overall, considering how cheap this bacon is at just £1.48 for a 300g pack, I think it was excellent value for money. However, the varying thickness of the slices might be a problem for some people (not for me however) and it is a little fatty, for which I'm deducting one star.
Still, a perfectly respectable four stars for this, and I'll certainly be buying this again!
So far as bargain bacons go, as a rule I normally avoid them!
Basically, whenever I have tried to fry the stuff, copious amounts of water has come out, and almost always the pan has turned into a white frothing mess. Thus, ruining the chances of crisping the bacon, and whatever else was in the pan at the time!
Just to explain, the water I am talking about is not natural. It is not bacon from a piggy whose been drinking alot! It is water which is (mechanically under pressure) injected into the cheaper bacon to preserve the products shelf-life for freezing and storage, and to allegedly improve the appearance by making it look "plumper" and more "succulent". A beneficial side affect for the manufacturer (probably the main reason), is the added weight per cost! So When the product label says 300g (as in this case) this is the gross weight, which unbeknown to many includes the hidden water!
So you are getting a little less of a bargain for your money, than you think!
This method also applies to fish, and chickens, so beware bargain hunters!
However, there are exceptions that do make sense!
This Sainsburys Basics Smoked Bacon (300g) comes in at around £1.48 (at time of writing).
When you consider that on average you will get between 8-10 slices of bacon in each packet, this in my opinion works out quite cheap! Even despite the water content!
So wait a minute, I rambled that I don't normally buy cheap bacon because of the water, so what makes this different? Why the 5 Stars?
Well, actually this Sainsburys bacon contains ALOT less added water than the comparable Asda or Tesco product which we have tried in the past. The smokey taste is also alot more pronounced, with a nice oaky wooden taste coming through. In addition whilst being smokey, its not overbearingly salty as can be the case with cheaper smoked bacons normally.
In addition to this smoked bacon, the range also includes a standard bacon, which is actually pretty nice too, with a nice sweet tasting cure.
If you want the best results from this bacon, a good idea is to "double fry" the bacon, by which I mean heating the pan with no oil, dropping the bacon in, waiting a minute, turning, cooking another minute then removing from heat. I then wipe the "white mess" from the pan, reheat add oil, and from then onwards the bacon is cooked per normal, and the result is comparable to a far more expensive product.
Ok I admit it sounds alot of fuss, but when you consider the premium bacons cost from £2.99 - £3.99 for a comparable weight, this little bit of extra effort is worth it, when the taste is as good as this bacons is.
In summary, I would recommend this Bacon as a good all-rounder, I wouldn't recommend this for using as an ingredient for example to wrap around a chicken breast, or similar. Nor would I suggest this is the best tasting bacon out there! However, if your just making a bacon butty, or using this for a simple post hangover fry-up, then pound-for-pound this bacon is the best one out there! (in my opinion).