Applewood smoked, nitrate free bacon! A review: U.S. Wellness Meats

By “review” I mean that I got this bacon for free to see what Meathenge Labs thought of it. Pretty cool, huh? I spent some time reading through U.S. Wellness Meats web site, there’s tons of decent content in there. Wellness was founded by John Wood, a fifth-generation farmer. In the beginning he used traditional ranching methods, but over time took a sideways look at how he was doing things and thought there could be a better/different way. Starting in ’97 he raised a few of his cuties on a 100% forage diet, rotational grazing and making sure they had the best forage action on a daily basis. By 2000 it was in full swing, the tests proved he could make a better product this way.
I read in their FAQ page addressing how come their not certified organic, made me sick to my stomach. They state it better than I do, so I lifted this from their page without permission:
“All U.S. Wellness Meats pastures and animals have been maintained with organic principles in mind since 2000. Unfortunately, the state of Missouri dropped a state-run organic-certification program and turned it over to a private certifier several years ago. The private certifier wanted 3% of the gross income of the preceding year to maintain the license. We politely said no, and felt if Thomas Jefferson were still alive he would concur. Sadly, greed has infiltrated a noble cause. 50% of the Missouri organic producers have let their certification lapse since this situation was created by the Missouri legislature.”
You read that correctly, ranchers have to give up 3% of their income to maintain certification. Sigh.
Anyway, enough of that it’s making me mad. I had to take another look at the bacon to make myself feel better. Listen up, they got good bacon! The meat is substantial and the fat is creamy, very mild & clean odor upon opening up the package. I preheated an old 14″ cast iron fry pan and set to cooking, used a bacon press. It’s nice and thick, so it takes a bit to brown and finish. Once it was patted dry with paper towels, it went in to my mouth. Excellent meaty texture on the teeth, low on the sweet cure, a good clean finish. For my package, I noticed it was quite lacking in smoky flavors, kinda surprised. A while back I had a chance to get two packages of bacon to try, one was smoky, one was not. So, I can’t say whether the lack of smoke flavors is typical or just something that happened. Maybe it wasn’t rotated and/or flipped in the smoker, that could have been it. I just don’t know.
In any case, I’m going to give this pound of bacon 3.85 out of 5. With good smoky flavors, I would have given it a 4.75 out of 5.
xo, Biggles

5 thoughts on “Applewood smoked, nitrate free bacon! A review: U.S. Wellness Meats

  1. HOOOAH Biggles,
    You tell em, put some damn smoke on my bacon. It is becoming more accptable to do a halfass job in the chamber these day, as those sensitive types “Want to taste the meat”. I say pour the cure to it and pour the smoke to it. We are making bacon for crise sake.
    Not a fan of nitrite/trates either. Alittle is pretty much needed when doing bone-in stuff, but bacon does just fine without. Cant tell it wasnt pink once it is fried.
    Could have always laid it in the old cold smoker for a few minutes………

  2. Hey Salvage,
    Good to hear from you mang! I thought for sure they’d carried your old carcass out to the smoker.
    Totally understood, but as I said in my post, I find the smoky love varies from package to package. They sent me some beef bacon to try along with a bottom round beef and some tri-tip steaks. I’m on it.
    xo, Biggles

  3. Is that socre a little high when you do not get consistency? Low on sweet cure and not smokey? Maybe you have forgotten your roots of the Gold Standard.(A&B). Huzahh you Meat Foo!!!!

  4. Hey CB,
    Oh Chilebrown, if I compared all bacon to the Gold Standard (A&B), nobody would get above a 2. No, instead I attempted to review this bacon against its own merit. I would have liked a little more sweetness, but now that I think about it, the meat was able to come out a little more. That there, is good pork belly.