For many years, The Wife has been purchasing Oscar Meyer bacon, and I think a random survey of households will reveal that its probably the most ubiquitous of bacon brands. But its not great bacon by any stretch, and I dont think any one of the many eaters of this commonly consumed pork product will extol its sensory virtues or, at $5.59 a pound (Dominicks), its value.
Last Saturday, after the usual high-quality food/social experience of Oak Park Farmers Market, I took off going east on Madison to get a hat and some good bacon. After scoring a lid at New World Hatters (one of the last remaining places in the Midwest that cleans hats as well as sells them), I stopped by Moo and Oink (4848 W. Madison), a mega-store of sorts (cf: Costco discussion), and full of good meats and good value.
I bought the Moo and Oink bacon. $2.09 a pound, and probably about three times as good as Oscar Meyer. Im not familiar with the industry standard descriptors/criteria for bacon evaluation, but mine are: meatiness, smoky flavor, and tendency of fat to turn a golden brown. Its what Pee-Wee Herman would have described as bacon-y. I am not proclaiming that Moo and Oink has the very best bacon around (in fact, I hope that others will chime in with their preferences), but its a good bacon and its available at a killer price from a store thats worth a visit in and of itself.
Moo and Oink also has a lot of interesting cuts of meat, including some rib varieties that did not look familiar (some smoked and meaty tip type packages, for instance). They do, of course, carry all the standard cuts of beef, pork and poultry (and some non-standard cuts: e.g., turkey tails), and a good selection of hot dogs, polish and hot links. Overall, the prices are very good it seems that Choice beef at Moo and Oink is sold at prices below what youd pay for Select at Dominicks.
So, if youre not 1) vegetarian, or 2) made unduly uncomfortable by an anthropomorphic cow and pig greeting the butchers cleaver with big grins (the Moo and Oink logo), I think this place is definitely worth a visit particularly if youre gearing up for a bbq.
Moo and Oink's website is linked below on the site, they post the current specials, recipes and an interesting history of chittlins (a foodstuff that has received no prior coverage on this board and probably deserves some).
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