We don’t get hung up on perfection. Especially when it comes to bacon. While we prefer to eat bacon that uses exclusively sea salt versus ordinary salt – not much else gets in our way. And when the price is right – our overall love for bacon sets the tone.

Market Pantry Bacon {Review - Target}

Market Pantry Bacon {Review – Target}

We happened to be at the Target over in Phillipsburg, NJ recently (random crap), and stumbled upon their Market Pantry Bacon.

I recall paying $3.49 for the one-pound package. Both the package design, as well as the presentation of the bacon looked fine to us!

But we did something uncommon for us. We checked out the online reviews for this product before eating it. We generally do not – as we prefer having ZERO influence over us other than our honest feelings.

Interesting reviews. Only four. Two five-star reviews and two one-star reviews. Of the two complainers – one griped about the slices being different sizes, and the other one bitching about badly cooked bacon, as well as fake taste.

Market Pantry Bacon {Review - Target}

Market Pantry Bacon {Review - Target}

We didn’t care – we tried Target Market Pantry Bacon anyway

With only four bucks on the line, what did we have to lose other than a little time?

So I did what I usually do when I cook bacon these days (the 16 oz. packages at least).

I baked as much as can fit on a cookie sheet (about 11 slices). And fried the rest on a pan (5 slices).

This way you can see how each method pans out. Literally.

So what’s the verdict? Any truth to the bad reviews?

Well – for one, we tried one pack. There is no way to review a store-branded product like this without acknowledging that quality will vary widely over time, as well as where you bought it. See footnote #1 for more about that.

The overall first impressions slash general conclusions are – that we liked it, and will buy again.

We shall note that this batch while cooking, did have a somewhat “new” or “different” smoked smell in the air. Perhaps that is what the negative reviewer was referring to. Didn’t smell like other more authentically-smoked bacon we’ve had in the past. It’s possible it was liquid smoke. But it wasn’t awful, and there was no bad taste to be had.

In fact, the flavor was perfectly acceptable. Didn’t knock our socks off – but didn’t make us cry either.

The pan-fried bacon came out substantially better. Like “showroom quality” bacon almost. Lower heat for longer always works best for us.

And it’s possible we took our oven-baked versions out a bit too soon. Nobody is perfect.

But the bacon did cook properly and evenly. Perhaps that bad reviewer had a faulty oven. Our trick is to never preheat the oven when cooking bacon. This gives the fat a chance to melt slower and results in nice evenly cooked slices. Alternatively (we have not tried yet) you can let the bacon thaw on the pan for an hour prior to baking. We’ll try that next.

Market Pantry Bacon {Review - Target}

Market Pantry Bacon {Review - Target}

Footnote 1: Store-branded products can be inconsistent

It’s important to note that “store branded” (or white label) products that most of any big box store or supermarket sells – is made by another company. Most of the time it’s not very easy to find out who made it for them.

And even if you can find out – the fact of the matter is big companies like this that use these private-label store-branded offerings – often have MULTIPLE suppliers of the same exact product. We noticed this with ALDI Boulder Paper Towels. And they can either use different suppliers at the same time (across the country) as well as change their suppliers OFTEN.

So even if we “fell in love” with Target bacon, you’d have to be prepared to be disappointed at some point in the future – as product quality will likely vary over time. Heck, even brand names get “bad batches” from time to time.

Target bids out their suppliers for most items – and we highly doubt those contracts are exclusive or long-term. Target does what they have to in order to maximize profit.

However, it would not be in their best interest not to maintain some level of standards. But considering the lackluster workforce these days, we see many things slip through the cracks due to incompetence. Whatever.

The price is right for Target Market Pantry Bacon – and we’ll always have it on our radar. As bacon is almost always in the fridge and ready to go at a moments notice in our household.

PS – we happen to really enjoy both the Hormel Black Label Reduced Sodium Bacon as well as the Oscar Mayer “all-natural” versions. As they use only sea salt (see our post about SALT to understand why.) They only come in 12 oz. packages but that’s good enough for one large cookie sheet. And they are often on sale for $3.99 per pack. Not the best deal – but for sea salt – cannot be beat.

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NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.

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