What Makes a Great Bacon Bits?

For the bacon lovers out there, throw these bacon bits on your salad for a meaty salad! High quality bacon bits lead with smoked, toasty pork and fat notes – supported by black pepper and molasses/brown sugar “seasonings.” There may also be some cure notes present, but the smoke notes should not be ashy in character. The texture of the bacon bits should be tender, with some richness, some expected adhesiveness and a moderately long dissolve. There may be some tough bits, but the chew should not be overly tough. Salt should be the leading taste intensity, followed by sweet. There is also some bitterness and umami expected. If sour is present, it should remain minimal.

Tasting terms

  • character

    The combined aromas and flavors of a particular food or ingredient. The character of a food is considered simple when it is one-dimensional, but it is complex when it has many discernible ingredients. Example: Mole sauce has several ingredients that blend to give the sauce a complex character. Granulated sugar has a very simple character.

  • texture

    A dimension used to organize attributes like mouthfeel, graininess and initial bite, it is one of the five dimensions used by ChefsBest Master Tasters to evaluate food. Example: Glazed popcorn will have a crunch texture. The texture of milk chocolate should be creamy and smooth.

  • richness

    Associated with creamy and dense mouthfeel; often evident in products containing significant amounts of butter or cream. Example: Alfredo sauce, coffee and super premium ice cream can be described as rich.

  • adhesiveness

    The degree to which some foods stick to the tongue, teeth or upper palate; not to be confused with "cohesiveness," which is the degree to which food sticks together. Example: Peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth; white bread sticking to the teeth.

  • chew

    The texture of a food as it is being chewed, as opposed to the texture of the first bite. Example: High-quality beef jerky should be tender but have a long chew.

  • salt

    One of the basic tastes; tasting of or containing salt. Example: Potato chips, sea water and cured meats all have a strong salt component.

  • umami

    One of the basic tastes; the savory flavor in meat and broths; sometimes an additive (MSG). Example: Natural Parmesan cheese, meats, seaweed, fish sauce and sesame exhibit an umami taste.

  • sweet

    One of the basic tastes; often considered pleasing while exhibiting characteristics of sugar. Example: Honey, ripe fruits and syrup all have a pronounced sweet component.

  • sour

    One of the basic tastes; often considered sharp, tart and acidic. Example: Lemon juice, vinegar and fermented foods often have a strong sour component.