Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Trader Joe's Smoked Salmon Bacon

For the most part, Sonia and I both love salmon, and we both love Trader Joe's. But when unusual salmon products pop up at TJ's, we've found that they're always a bit of a gamble. The WG@TJ's team has seen everything from two kinds of salmon jerky to bagged pasta with salmon to salmon pastramiand that's just scratching the surface. Some of those products got the thumbs up, and some went straight back to TJ's for a no-hassle refund.

Now I love turkey bacon, and I was quite eager to try yet another "meat" turned into bacon, so this seemed like a logical purchase, despite a spotty salmon track record. No, not spotted salmon...I meant...ugh, nevermind.

As far as traditional bacon lovers go, they're probably not gonna love this. Most "normal" bacon fanatics tolerate turkey bacon, at best. And this is yet a step further from pork bacon.

But on the plus side, it's not revolting. At least we didn't think so. This might be a pescatarian's dream come true.

This bacon has a peculiar texture, both crispy and slightly chewy. Sonia thought it seemed like a synthetic mouthfeel—almost like a plastic intended for eating. The cooking instructions call for heating in a "lightly-oiled" pan, so the grease-factor of the finished product will depend on just how "lightly" you oiled that pan. I may have erred on the side of "moderate" oiling since the fish is significantly leaner than most bacon. If traditional bacon is naturally fatty and greasy, it's far less dependent upon added oils for flavor. I think the couple extra drops of olive oil I added helped the taste and maybe the texture, too. Also, I wouldn't say the product ever "browned" per se like the packaging suggests it might, but rather, it simply turned a darker shade of pink.

The "smoked" flavor in the salmon does approximate that of traditional smoked bacon to some extent. I actually found it quite pleasant. There's not a tremendous amount of fishiness, but I mean, it's salmon, so there is some, particularly at the finish. The product smells like fish, too, but not overwhelmingly so. It's salty and savory and again, in my case, a bit oily.

Sonia said she wanted to try the product raw and treat it like salted, smoked lox and have it with a bagel or something just to see what it was like. To date, neither she nor I have actually been adventurous enough to do this, though.

At five bucks per package, it's not cheap, but then I guess they aren't exactly giving away regular bacon these days, either. Score-wise, I think we'll slap this puppy with double three and a halfs.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

(Projected score for traditional bacon lovers: 0 out of 10)

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for reviewing this! I saw it at TJ's last week and hesitated and decided not to give it a go. I'm glad I passed on it.

    thanks again,
    True Bacon Lover

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    1. You're welcome. There. I added a "projected score for traditional bacon lovers" just for folks like you.

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  2. I LOL'ed at the projected score for bacon lovers. I do love smoked salmon though so I'd give it a shot if it was cheaper (arguably, smoked salmon isn't cheap either).

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  3. These liked like thin cut smoked salmon to me. Not really sure how it's bacon.

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  4. I enjoyed this new product. I cooked the salmon bacon in light coconut oil and added mushrooms, tomato, and eggs. Yummy. Light in cholest. which is a plus! Debra

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  5. I recently made salmon that tasted smoked! It was sea queen wild caught; I marinated in soy; brown sugar; and touch of siracha. Also smoked paprika! Then pan sauted' Pretty good!!

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  6. Is it all salmon or is there ham mixed in? It's quite tough and chewey with a texture more like ham than fish. I was expecting it to , somehow, taste like salmon, rather than smoked bacon. I thought that "bacon" was describing a process rather than an objective. Unless there's a sudden shortage of pork, I can't see this one surviving for long. 2/10.

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  7. Trader Joe's recently discontinued their delicious Scottish smoked salmon after many years and introduced this instead. It seems like a waste of delicious smoked salmon, as I'm guessing this is cheaper (off cuts?) of salmon shredded and reconstituted as a "slice of bacon". I have eaten this raw and it's fine.

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