I am Jack’s Bacon Shake Review

So, I thought I’d pretty much seen every bacon product ever made. I actually have a backlog of bacon-y products to review, eventually. A bacon cellar, if you will.

But I never expected to see this.

Jack's Bacon Shake

As Jack in the Box anticipated, my first reaction was, “hoax.” But then I saw it on Facebook. Where, you know, everything’s fact-checked. Don’t believe me? Check out their stupid Flash web site, where you can also see … oh, wait, I can’t link to anything. Very well, here’s the nutrition info, screen-captured so you can see it.

Bacon Shake Nutrition Info

If you’re wondering, that’s about twice as many calories and fat as a McDonald’s Big Mac (PDF). And that’s probably not a good thing.

But, like normal, warm, solid bacon … is the Bacon Shake a “worth it” treat?

I think you can probably guess my answer, which has nothing to do with the fact that Bacon Shake contains no actual bacon (only “bacon syrup,” which I assume is this Torani product – double ick).

Despite my initial, in the moment drive-thru enthusiasm, the answer is “absolutely not.”

Bacon Shake Reaction

The initial hit isn’t bad. Sweet, a little bit of salt … caramel. Kind of a poor man’s … salted caramel, with just a wisp of campfire. But once you stop suction on the straw, the gates of hell open, and your mouth is filled with the plaintive cries of a million charred demons. Rubber charred demons. Start sucking again, and the sweetness wipes away the fake smoke flavor. Stop … and the blackened hands grasp once more at your taste buds as they try to escape your gaping maw.

Am I exagerrating? Maybe a little. Not much. I say “save yourself the $3.89 and get a baconator.” Made with actual bacon, about the same fat content, but a few less calories. Did I mention it’s actually made with bacon? Not great bacon, but actual bacon. Factually.

Porky the Pork Pig in a Bacon Blanket

All these beer reviews lately, you’d think this blog was about … beer. Au contraire, my friends (French for “nuh uh”). If you’ll point your attention to the navigation over there on the right side of this page, you’ll note a mysterious, delicious category called “Meat Stunts.” That’s where you’ll find instructions for home made bacon, the legend of the curiously named “La Caja China,” and our last Superbowl centerpiece, “Snack Stadium XXXL.”

After last year’s surge in post-game web traffic, I knew we had to do something spectacular this year. This time, inspiration came in the form of a slab of shelf-stable Broadbent pepper bacon I acquired from bacn.com (now owned by baconfreak.com). The predictable thing to do would have been to chunk it up into lardons (French for thick-ass pieces of bacon) or simply slice it thick for superdelishtstic BLT’s. But the meat stuntman in me wanted to stuff it with something.

Slab O'Bacon, Stuffing elements.

So of course I went to the best stuffing of all: more pork. I picked up a whole pork loin from Gartner’s, along with some pork sausage-stuffed pork tenderloins. If you’re counting, that’s four types of pork product so far.


I had a plan going in, but it was just a bit of stray cholesterol until I actually opened up the slab. I had no idea how much room there was in there! I got so excited I forgot to take photos of the assembly process, so instead I’ll let you digest the photo below, and describe what’s going on after the break.


Back? Not what you were expecting, was it? Heh. So the body’s the pork loin, sliced at one end to form a mouth. Inside the “mouth” are two garlic cloves acting as incisors, and the traditional apple. A couple more garlic cloves form the eyeballs, and two apple slices form the sow’s ears. The legs are those sausage-stuffed tenderloins I mentioned, with garlic toes (Mmm, garlic toes). Now, I wanted this thing to actually be tasty, and I was a bit concerned about overwhelming samplers with a lot of grease. This creation was going to be wrapped in bacon for a few hours, after all. So before I tucked her in, I sprinkled her back and legs with fresh rosemary “bristles” and lots of chopped up garlic “garlic.” Beneath the sow, I cut some drainage slits in the bottom of the bacon blanket.


I set the oven to 350, and tried not to open it every 15 minutes to see how my monster was developing. The house smelled … so delicious it was actually almost sickening. Imagine a foggy morning so thick you have to turn your headlights on. Now imagine that fog in your nose, and the whole thing smells like bacon, rosemary and garlic. It was difficult to concentrate. But four hours later, I pulled the pig and … wow. I wish you could have tried it. It was delicious, and those that could get past its eerily lifelike appearance were able to taste all four meats in one bite. Best of all, no one got sick, despite the Russian Roulette-like meat game we played. Four chances to get trichinosis, but all cylinders came up empty.



Bacon Week 2: Swiss Chard with Bacon Lardons

Bacon Week Logo

Sometimes you want a baguette, and sometimes you want sliced bread. But in the bread family, at least, most American supermarkets give you that choice: sliced or unsliced. Not so with bacon. “You’ll buy sliced bacon, and you’ll like it, bub. Because we know how thick you want it.”


I beg to differ, and thanks to the fine folks at Broadbent Hams, you don’t have to take it anymore, either. Bacn.com offers many of their fine bacons in slab format, so you can cut it how you want it. I like my bacon sliced thick for breakfast slices, but for cooking, it’s especially nice to have bacon cut to order. The French call thick chunks of bacon for cooking “lardons” and they’re a nice addition to any cook’s cupboard. I say cupboard, because Broadbent’s bacon is shelf-stable, at least until you open the package. Sliced into 1/4″ cubes, the outside gets nice and crispy, while the interior stays somewhat soft, providing two nice textures in one morsel.


As a confirmed meatatarian, I’m usually not a big fan of vegetables, but with the addition of bacon, I become exponentially more interested. Wife Sarah’s perfected the art of cooking greens (swiss chard in this example). Here’s her recipe:

  1. Cook 1/4 pound of cubed bacon on medium-low heat in a dutch oven (we LOVE our Le Creuset), cooking until it’s brown on the outside. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Pour off all but enough bacon grease to coat the bottom of the pan.
  3. Saute the greens in the bacon grease for a few minutes, until the leaves wilt, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add about 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (to taste) and stir.
  5. Add in a teaspoon or two of brown sugar (to taste) and stir to combine.
  6. Put the bacon bits back in and stir some more. If you like really crispy bacon, add it after simmering the greens on their own for awhile.
  7. Simmer, covered, until stems soften. About 20-25 minutes of simmering results in a texture we generally like, but some people prefer a softer stem still.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    1. greens-with-fried-chicken

      Greens go especially well with barbecue ribs, pulled pork or fried chicken (shown above), but they’re a nice complement to almost any southern-inspired and/or porky meal. Warm, homemade biscuits optional, but highly recommended.

Bacon Week 2: Bacon-Maple Lollipops

Bacon Week Logo

Editor’s Note: There sure is a lot of bacon-related stuff out there. Every day, it seems, I find something new. And yet, there are only so many days in a Bacon Week. “Seven,” you’re thinking. Nope. Going to go with nine this year. It’s just too little time, and I have a few more things I need to share with the world (and my slow-learning co-workers). Bacon Week 2 ends Monday evening.

After the bacon-flavored sunflower seeds and last year’s bacon mint debaucle, I thought it was time to bring something tasty to work. The mad scientists over at Lollyphile began with just a couple of flavors: absinthe and … you guessed it. Bacon. Maple-bacon, to be exact. Made with real Vermont maple syrup and an un-named organic bacon. Real ingredients, assembled with care. I felt sure this would be the reputation redemption I was looking for. Unfortunately, the treats got a little too much heat after being left in my car, malforming the lollipops quite a bit. Sorry, guys.


Scott: First of all, it was incredibly sticky and difficult to open, and once you got it open, it wasn’t attached to the stick very well, so it came off after a few licks. Secondly, though mine had a liberal amount of bacon bits sprinkled through the maple-flavored candy, they didn’t actually add any flavor at all, unless you got one out and bit into it, and even then, it was overwhelmed by the maple. The maple candy wasn’t bad at all, but since I was expecting more bacon flavor, I was disappointed.


Rodrigo: I think the experience would’ve probably started off better if the lollipop didn’t stick all over my hands. Nonetheless, the super sweet maple flavor is definitely prominent at first… not too much bacon at all. As the lollipop dissolves, rather sticks all over your teeth, I started to feel a subtle bacon flavor here and there. The savory-sweet balance happened maybe about at the half way point—which was still sort of pleasant. After that, bacon bits were being released in high quantity, and the whole thing just kind of got a little gross. The end point just seriously tastes like old bacon from the fridge with a dollop of maple syrup.  The overall experience: it was a rollercoaster of weirdness in my mouth!


Libby: My first reaction, after I managed after 5 minutes get the sucker open, was that it tasted like a sweet potato. The maple flavor was good, although mine seemed to only sport small shreds of bacon which didn’t give it much bacon flavor. That said, listening to cohorts who had larger pieces of bacon in theirs that behaved “like shards of glass”, I was thankful. Overall, it tasted like maple. And perhaps it was due to the heat treatment it received in Dave’s car, but: it behaved more like a hard caramel than a sucker, and I had to manually reattach it to the stick before I even sampled it. While innocuous, when compared to the Bacon Lip Balm, it failed to prove to me that bacon is a worthwhile sucker flavor, as it didn’t seem to have any bacon flavor.