Friday, October 10, 2008

Bacon Freak - Bacon Jerky - Cajun Style

Bacon Freak - Bacon Jerky - Cajun StyleI remember growing up as a little boy, I would walk into the kitchen, reach up to my mom's spice rack, and grab that canister of Bac-Os. Yeah, even in the 1970s, they had Bac-Os. I would pour a handful, and pop them into my mouth just for the enjoyment of snacking. Why didn't they make Bac-Os into larger pieces, and just sell them as snacks?

Maybe that's the demographic that Bacon Freak has identified with their product offering, Bacon Jerky. It's real strips of bacon, but flavored with jerky-like seasonings, and chewy like real jerky. The idea actually, is not that far off from standard beef jerky in terms of being meat, it's method of cure, and its size and shape. But beef jerky is supposed to be ultra lean to keep it from spoiling, and it's supposed to be dry. Yet these days, just about anything is getting turned into jerky.

The brand is actually owned by Coastal Vineyards, Inc., headed up by Rocco "Boss Hog" Loosbrock, who started the business offering "wine of the month" clubs, and eventually branching it out to several food subscription clubs, including a "bacon of the month". The bacon club proved popular, and Loosbrock responded by putting more emphasis into the bacon theme, eventually introducing this line of bacon jerky.


Cured with: salt, sugar, brown sugar, sodium nitrite.

Coated with: cajun seasoning

Ingredients: spices (black pepper, red pepper, celery seed, bay, oregano, basil, thyme), paprika, dehydrated onion, dehydrated garlic.


The first taste I get from the surface is a classic bacon flavor and a good deal of saltiness, as well as some of the bacon fat flavor. I can also pick up the cajun seasonings, and the spices. Moving into the chew, that classic bacon flavor becomes much stronger, followed by more saltiness, and picking up the rear is the natural meat flavor.

So what does cajun style bacon taste like? Well first off, I'm not really sure what "cajun" is supposed to taste like anyways. All I know is that it should be "spicy", with perhaps some garlic. After that, I've seen all kinds of variations being called "cajun". This particular bacon jerky does have a moderate amount of spiciness to it. I can feel a spicy tingle in the back of my mouth. But it's not that hot really, probably mild-medium in terms of burn, or maybe just medium for delicate tongues.

I do, however, taste the spices. The oregano and garlic seems to have a good showing in this. This bacon could probably pass as a "spicy italian" jerky. Between the cajun seasoning and the spices, there's a lot of flavor complexity in this.

As for the bacon itself, again, I get a lot of bacony taste. It has a more old-fashioned flavor, if you know what I mean. It's very smoky too. I've pretty much have always had standard grocery store bacon, thinly sliced, so I'm not sure I'm qualifed to judge bacon. Fathers Country Hams, who manfactures this for Bacon Freak, has been in the business of making ham and bacon since 1840, so they obviously know how bacon was made in the old days. I think this is actually what "real bacon" tastes like.

That saltiness is actually quite strong in this. It's even more strong than the standard grocery store bacon. Note that this product does not come with a nutrition facts label. The bacony flavor and the seasonings are delicious enough that I find myself ignoring the heavy salt in deference to my internal bacon instincts.

Overall, it's that old fashioned style of bacony goodness that dominates the flavor of this jerky, with salt being a close second, followed by the cajun seasonings and spices. I find this jerky very enjoyable, mostly because I love bacon to begin with, and I love jerky, and I love spicy stuff.

Meat Consistency

These is real bacon, sliced average in terms of jerky, but sliced thick for bacon, and in strips of about 4-5 inches in length.

Being that it's real bacon, it's very moist, or should I say, very oily. There's plenty of fat, just like you'd expect with bacon. This actually chews like jerky, not necessarily like bacon. That is, it's chewy similar to the chewiness of a Jack Link's jerky. Even the fat is chewy, though much more soft than the meat.

In my mouth, the fat eventually melts away into a tongueful of oil and leaves behind the pork belly meat. The meat eats and chews like real pork meat. The strips can present some resistance when trying to bite off a piece. One strip required me to bite down, and twist left-and-right a few times to before it separated, which is perhaps what you might expect with beef jerky. But overall, this bacon jerky still has a degree of ease in tearing down, and chewing.

But as expected, it's messy. My fingers are doused with oil and bits of spice, requiring some finger licking with each bite.

Bacon Freak - Bacon Jerky - Cajun Style

Bacon Freak - Bacon Jerky - Cajun Style
Product Value

Bacon Freak sells this Cajun variety of bacon jerky at a price of $9.95 for a 2 ounce package. That works out to a price of $4.98 per ounce, putting this into the very expensive price range.

For general jerky snacking purposes, it makes for a very expensive snack, though it'll please you in every other way, being packed with flavor, giving you every bit of bacon satisfaction and more, relatively easy to eat, all in a portable form factor that lends itself to being enjoyed anywhere at anytime. It's a good value only because you can't find bacon jerky anywhere else.

As a cajun variety, I'd say it provides an ok value, but only because of its high price. It does have a cajuny resemblance, and does provide a low-to-moderate degree of mouth burn. It's too much for me to pay just for a cajun-flavored meat snack, but when you consider its a cajun-flavored bacon snack, it perhaps changes everything.


I'm giving this a best rating.

It's pretty hard to deny the taste of bacon as making an awesome snack, particularly if we're talking about real bacon strips in all of its smoky, salty, oily goodness. I've already seen bacon-flavored potato chips and bacon-flavored dips, but I don't think I've seen real strips of bacon being packaged up as a snack. What makes its cool is that it combines jerky-style seasonings in jerky-like consistency.

I found this particular cajun variety to be packed with flavor, and presenting enough flavor complexity to keep my brain entertained. Not only is it dominated by an old-fashioned flavored bacon taste with its saltiness and smokiness, but backed up with a moderate hotness, some noticeable garlic, oregano, and a collection of other tastes that add to the ambiance.

Even at the higher price per ounce, I'd recommend every jerky aficionado give this a try.

As for a good beer companion, I think a creamy stout would make a good contrast.

Rating: Best (5/5)

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