Almost two years ago, I swore I was never going to buy and review another fake-bacon-flavored product because every one of them I'd ever tried tasted more like shit than bacon. And yet, here I am again, this time with a package of J&D's Bacon Croutons.
You are probably familiar with J&D's; they're the folks who to took a cheap, smoke-flavored seasoned salt and made a fortune thanks to the genius marketing tactic of calling it "Bacon Salt" instead of the more honest "Ashtray Full of Autolyzed Yeast Salt." Then they capitalized on their success by marketing Bacon Lip Balm (which felt and tasted like campfire-tainted Vaseline), Bacon Microwave Popcorn (which tasted like smoke and baby puke), Jones Bacon Soda (probably the most vomitous Jones Soda flavor since Brussels Sprouts), and Baconnaise (an allegedly bacon-flavored mayo which no one can ever pay me enough money to put in my mouth.)
Well, they make these Bacon Croutons too, and in a fit of insanity, I bought a bag.
True to the J&D's credo there is no actual bacon in their Bacon Croutons, only the smoke flavoring, salt, spices like paprika, and of course autolyzed yeast which they rely on to remind your tastebuds of what bacon doesn't taste like.
At first bite, these croutons are not that offensive. The texture and crunch is perfect, and although they're a little salty, it's not overwhelming. The smoke, though, is very aggressive and - as is typical with everything I've ever tried by J&D's - bottom-of-the-barrel cheap-tasting. (For chrissake, J&D's, you're a real company, not two buddies mixing up crap in your garage. I'm pretty sure you can afford to develop a better-quality smoke flavoring process.) Anyway, the smokiness gets nastier and less-tolerable the more you munch, until about three croutons in none of us could stand to take another bite.
Too bad, because the taste of bacon is really awesome in salad. I just wish that there was some other way than shitty ashtray-croutons to add bacon flavor to my bowl of crunchy greens. Wouldn't it be great if it were possible to buy REAL pre-made bacon that you could just chop up and add to the salad bowl at the same time you were cutting up tomatoes and lettuce and cucumber? Or - and this is even better - if someone made real bacon that was already pre-cooked and crumbled so you could sprinkle it on stuff? Wow, that would be a dream come true! WHAT??? THESE PRODUCTS ALREADY EXIST? WELL HOLY SHIT WHY WOULD ANYONE BUY THESE SHITTY CROUTONS THEN???