Minnesota is home to several great meat markets and we were pleased to make a stop in Foley, Minnesota on a recent weekend to check out Grand Champion Meats, also known as Foley Locker.
Grand Champion Meats is a very clean and well-organized meat market with an exceptional stock of meats and variety of many products to choose. As a bacon scout, I gravitated toward the bacon right away and was stunned by the incredible selection and variety of bacon flavors. A few that I can remember are raspberry chipotle, apple cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spiced bacon among several others. They also offer a similar wide variety of snack sticks. And of course they offer many other meats as well including ground beef, steaks, and more, but I was there for the bacon.
Hickory Smoked Bacon
I like to try every meat market’s ordinary bacon to be able to compare bacon-to-bacon for each meat market. I found the hickory smoked bacon from Grand Champion Meats to be thick and full of flavor. It is very balanced and not very smoky. There is a touch of smoke flavor and sweetness, a bit like ham. The bacon is not salty at all and is an overall solid bacon. Shrinkage is average for what I have seen.
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Bacon
The pumpkin pie bacon caught my eye for two reasons. Number one, I’d never seen a bacon with this flavor before. Number two, it didn’t seem to be too popular as most of the packages had meat that was turning brown. My guess is that the stock was not turning over as rapidly as it was for the other kinds. I dug through the small pile to find the freshest looking package because I was determined to give it a shot. I also picked up a package of their regular smoked bacon to give Grand Champion Meats a fair shot in case the pumpkin pie kind didn’t work out.
I love pumpkin pie. I love bacon. So this should all work out just fine, right? I’ve done this kind of a thing before. A couple years back I tried some pizza bratwursts because I love pizza and I love bratwursts, but the combination of those two was far less enthralling than eating them separately.
Upon opening the package I was treated to the delightful smell of
nutmeg (the ingredients say ginger: could have food me) and cinnamon. It wasn’t overpowering; it was just right. I promptly prepared it for cooking using the official Bacon Scouts method for cooking bacon easily. After putting it in the oven, the delicious smell of pumpkin pie aroma filled the kitchen air; suddenly it felt like late November again! At this point I was enjoying the scent of the meat cooking, but was still nervous about how pumpkin pie spiced bacon might taste.
Juggling a few extra responsibilities tonight I accidentally let the bacon cook a little longer than usual so it turned out a little crispier than I prefer. My first bite wasn’t very pumpkin-y at all, in fact it tasted like…smoked bacon. Thankfully I made the whole package so I tried some more bites and some more strips: that’s when the pumpkin pie spice flavor was found! It was rather subtle, but very, very pleasant. The bacon’s flavor is confidently a smoked bacon, but much like another review I’d done on a flavored bacon, the flavor was not the kind that knocks you in the mouth, but rather the pumpkin pie spice flavor was very complementary to the bacon itself. I enjoyed this paired with fresh waffles and it would pair well with pancakes on a weekend morning too. The only thing holding this bacon back is the shrinkage: three (3) inches is some of the most shrinkage we’ve encountered so far.
If you like the smell of pumpkin pie, especially while you are cooking bacon, then I strongly recommend this. In addition, I can’t see any reason why this would not sell as quickly as the other flavors of bacon at Grand Champion Meats. So, if you are passing through Foley, Minnesota, I say, give this bacon a try, and you will be very glad you did.
|Grand Champion Meats||Overall Rating||78.8%||Shrinkage||60%||Robust Flavor||75%||Fat to Meat Ratio||100%||Saltiness||80%|