Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Trails Best Bacon Jerky - Hickory Smoked

trails best bacon jerky
On a road trip to Seattle, I pulled into a gas station and found this package of Trails Best Hickory Smoked Bacon Jerky.

Trail's Best is a brand of Monogram Meat Snacks, LLC based out of Chandler, MN. The brand has been around since 1938, appearing first as a country store, and then evolving into a line of meat snacks. Monogram Meat Snacks is a large meat processor making jerky, meat sticks, and sausage for a wide variety of companies.

Trails Best Bacon Jerky was launched late in 2011 and distributed to Wal-Mart stores.  It's supposed to also be available in Bass Pro Shops under the "Uncle Buck" brand, and as "Wild Bill's" in certain convenience stores.


Cured with water, salt, sugar, smoke flavoring, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.


The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a smoky, bacon flavor. A moderate saltiness comes in next, then followed by a bacon-fat flavor.

The chewing flavor starts with a more defined bacon flavor, much like real, good old fashioned bacon fresh out of the frying pan. The saltiness increases.

Well, for being marketed as "Bacon Jerky", this certainly fits the bill. It tastes just like bacon, the same real bacon you get from the grocery store, but in a more thick-sliced variety, perhaps like a package of bacon ends.

There's a nice smoky flavor that comes out of this, and it seems to be a little noticeable than regular bacon.

And that's largely the flavor of this jerky, just pure bacon flavor. There's a noticeably more salty flavor than regular bacon, but overly salty. I don't taste any other seasonings.

The sugar ingredient noted above is barely noticeable.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be real slices of bacon, thicker than standard bacon, perhaps more like bacon ends.

It's mostly a dry jerky with slightly moist, slightly oily surface feel. These are mostly easy to eat, with some of the meatier pieces requiring a little bit of effort.

The chewing texture starts out feeling mostly brittle, but still retaining some soft, chewiness. The meat tends to be more dry and chewy, while the fat is soft and lends a fair amount of moisture to the meat. It chews down fairly easily and quickly, and by the time it renders into a soft mass, it feels just like real bacon, cooked halfway between crispy and soft.

While there's a good deal of fat on these pieces, it's to be expected when it's bacon. But having said that, there's a lot of meat too, more so than standard bacon. No stringiness, no gristle or tendon, just pure pork belly madness.

In terms of clean eating, my fingertips pick up a fine layer of oil, but not enough to require a licking or wiping.

bacon jerky
bacon jerky
Snack Value

Trails Best sells this Bacon Jerky from its website at a price of $39.92 for a box of 8 packages, at 2.75oz each. Shipping is free. That works out to a price of $1.81 per ounce.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $1.81 per ounce price, it's a good value. I'm getting a lot of snackability for a good over flavor, good meat consistency, and good chewing texture. Compared to major brands of jerky found in grocery stores, it's priced the same, but offers better snackability.

As a bacon jerky, at the same $1.81 per ounce price, it's an excellent value. It's priced much less than competing bacon jerky brands, but offers perhaps a similar or better flavor, and better meat consistency and chewing.


trails best bacon jerky nutrition
I'm giving this a best rating.

This Hickory Smoked Bacon Jerky from Trails Best give you the best of what bacon has to offer with pure smoky, bacon flavor, in a thick sliced variety very similar to bacon ends.

What I really liked is that I got lots of meat, more so than standard bacon, and not just gobs of fat. It has a good chewing texture, much like real bacon, cooked halfway between soft and crispy.

I had gone back and forth between assigning this a four-star rating instead because I felt the flavor could have added some additional variety, maybe some garlic, or maple syrup, but I had to remind myself that Trails Best was generous in giving thick, meaty pieces and managed to find the right balance in being chewy, not crispy, but not too soft.

When you want bacon jerky, Trails Best gives you pure bacon jerky love.

Rating: Best

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