Turkey bacon is turkey meat that has been finely chopped, seasoned, flavoured and pressed into long flat strips to make it resemble in appearance and taste bacon made from pork.
Comparing turkey bacon to pork bacon
Turkey bacon is usually made to look like American bacon (aka streaky bacon), with the white part that would be pork fat coming from white turkey meat instead. Some say, though, that it looks like cartoon bacon.
The texture and taste are considered better than vegetarian bacon, but you won’t fool anyone. Some brands smell more like baloney than bacon. Many people buy it because they consider it more healthful, rather than because they prefer it to pork bacon.
It is perhaps better if in your mind you don’t try to compare it to real bacon, but appreciate it as a different kind of processed meat altogether.
Turkey bacon brands
Turkey bacon brands vary wildly in taste, texture and fat content.
The amount of fat will vary, but the general goal of manufacturers is to have a lower fat content than pork bacon. Owing to the lack of fat to carry flavour, it can seem dry and lacking in flavour, and the less fat, the chewier it will be. Wags say that the extra lean is also extra-taste free, with a plastic texture to boot. On the plus side, it won’t shrink as much as American style (aka streaky) bacon.
The higher the fat content, the more acceptable it might be to other family members. Some brands actually do include pork fat as an ingredient to help improve taste and texture.
More expensive brands taste better and have better texture. Lewis Rich is a brand that is mentioned many times by people for quality.
Some brands use liquid smoke for taste, some actually smoke the product.
Because turkey bacon can be so lean, you may want to heat some butter or oil in the pan first, and treat it like a strip of meat, or back bacon, rather than bacon.
When it cooks, it will stay flat, not curl up, but it will develop somewhat of a crunch like American bacon does. It won’t have, though, the fullness of bacon taste as real bacon does.