There are few products which can be as much of a crap shoot as bargain-price bacon. Sometimes, it will be a jumble of seemingly random slices, piled into the cryovac. Other times, it might be some of the best bacon you've ever tasted. You pays your money and you takes your chances.
Branding Iron Hardwood Smoked Bacon is a great example. Made by John Morrell & Company as an "economy brand," it's available at Price Chopper, where I picked some up for $1.99 not too long ago. The view of the slices through the window looked pretty good, and it was a full 1-pound package, so there was no doubt of it being a good deal.
What a surprise when I opened the package, though! The slices were the full length of the cryovac - and each slice was almost three inches wide. Additionally, each of these hyperwide slices were over a quarter of an inch thick! All told, there were seven slices of bacon to this pound. Seven massive slices.
Really thick bacon is hard to cook properly - it wants to curl as fat gets tried out of the side in contact with the pan, and if you try to cook it too quickly it can end up flabby, burned, or unevenly done. The best way to do it is to take your time, set the fire on low, and use a bacon press to keep the strips flat in the pan as they cook. My bacon press is like the one at right: big and round, it covers the whole bottom of a 12-inch frying pan.
Only three strips of the Branding Iron bacon would fit in the pan at once, so it took some time to get breakfast ready that day. The bacon stayed under the press and I checked it frequently for doneness as it sizzled. Thanks to the low heat and the press, each strip came out very nicely: Crisp with the fat properly rendered, but not overcooked to brittleness.
Although we had a good laugh at the unusual way the bacon had been sliced, I would buy it again. Branding Iron bacon is nicely flavored; not too salty with a mild and enjoyable smokiness.