Ed Woods, owner of Woods Smoked Meats in Bowling Green, Missouri has an incredible legacy in the meat industry having won more than 600 state, national, and international awards for his meat creations, and in 1995 he was inducted into the American Cured Meats Hall of Fame (yes, this really exists). So I was honored when he reached out to me to talk bacon.
Woods’ is a sprawling complex capable of processing a lot of meat. They do quite a business with deer processing during hunting season. Inside the store Woods carries a variety of every meat product you could imagine, in addition to barbecue sauces and other goodies all branded as Sweet Betsy from Pike. Woods Smoked Meats is located in Pike County, Missouri. Woods’ awards adorn the walls as a true testament to the legendary quality of his products.
Ed’s words to me exactly were “Come on down south where the weather is warmer and the bacon is better.” Being from the Upper Midwest I am proud of my region’s meat processing heritage so I was even more intrigued by the gusto this man had to proclaim the greatness of his bacon (this was before a quick Google search revealed that he is a meat processing legend, an icon in the industry). So I hit the road to Bowling Green, Missouri to meet the man himself and to try some of his highly awarded bacon.
Hickory Smoked Cured Bacon
The rankings for this review are based on Woods’ Sweet Betsy from Pike brand hickory smoked cured bacon. I found this to be an all-around solid bacon, not too smokey, not too salty, and full of just good bacon flavor. This bacon is an international gold medal winner and I could taste why. I highly recommend this bacon to anyone. One thing I really appreciated was how little it curled when cooked. As you can see in the photos it stays pretty flat. This is a sign of a well-made bacon that hasn’t been pumped with a bunch of water.
Chipotle Lime Bacon
This is the first time I had heard of a chipotle lime flavored bacon so I was very eager to give it a try. It definitely lived up to my expectations. The flavor is not very spicy and there is a delicious hint of lime with every bite. it’s certainly a unique bacon flavor that I am sure many will appreciate. I think this bacon would be excellent on a sandwich or cut into chunks for a delicious wrap with avocado, chicken, and lettuce.
This bacon, rubbed with black pepper, is very comparable to other peppered bacons that I have had before, even one that we sell currently by RJ’s Meats. You can see from the detail photos how much pepper is on there. It’s not too strong, in fact it is just right. It crisps very nicely using our oven method for cooking bacon.
Woods Smoked Meats is located just a little more than hour north of St. Louis, Missouri. Perhaps if you are from the St. Louis area you might be well acquainted with Woods’ Sweet Betsy from Pike brand bacon. If you haven’t stopped by, it’s worth the trip to get some really good bacon near St. Louis.