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REVIEW: Thomas’ “Bacon Buttermilk Pancake” English Muffins

Can bacon and pancakes and English muffins BE AS ONE?

Thomas' Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins

It makes sense. If anyone is going to be going out of their way to remind consumers of a made-up holiday called “English Muffin Day,” (April 23rd this year, if you’re keeping track), it’s going to be the people at Thomas’, who have held a veritable stranglehold on the domestic English muffin market for decades.

Thomas' Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins

That’s why, for a limited run of six weeks, the “Nook and Cranny” kingpins are unveiling their newest flavor: Bacon Buttermilk Pancake. From the website:

“All your favorite breakfast flavors collide! This taste sensation will have you saying, ‘what the breakfast!?'”

Thomas' Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins

The first thing you notice when you open the package* is the sweet blast of syrup flavoring. On closer inspection, we also noticed a few flecks of what must pass for bacon, when you’re making bacon out of soy, so that it doesn’t have to be refrigerated. The Bacon Buttermilk Pancake muffins seem a little fluffier, and dare we say a little more moist, than your standard-issue Thomas’ muffin, but otherwise are very similar in terms of both appearance and texture.

*After unpacking the groceries, my wife helpfully inscribed the words “You are gross” on the label, which 1. Caused a fight 2. Illustrates her opinion so succinctly and 3. Proves once again that no one takes English Muffin Blogging seriously.

Thomas' Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins

A quick spin through the toaster revealed a conundrum: What were we supposed to top these with? Treating them like pancakes, with the full butter and syrup assault, seemed both excessive and unlike something you would actually do, if you were preparing a quick, portable breakfast. We opted for butter, for round one, and were pleased (if not floored) by the results. The English muffin is definitely reminiscent of a pancake breakfast, or at least, the flavor that’s left coating your mouth after you eat a pancake breakfast. There’s a slight sweetness, and a fluffiness. Does this vague whiff of pancake flavoring also include the nuance of “buttermilk?” Let’s not get carried away.

Thomas' Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins

The bacon flavor also takes a backseat, but we can’t decide if we want the bacon flavor to be more prominent (or “bacon-forward,” if you want to talk like a dick), or not. It seems like dialing up the bacon would probably just mean an increase in smoke flavoring, which would not be welcome in a breakfast item. Instead, the fakey soy-bacon here serves as more of a visual cue that you are supposed to be eating pancake breakfast-flavored English muffins, rather than adding any actual flavor.

Thomas' Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins

In the interest of science, we spread the second half of the Bacon Buttermilk Pancake muffin with a swipe of Justin’s Almond Butter, because we were out of Skippy because no one replaced it because romantic love is a lie. It was also good, but the almond spread completely blew away the maple syrup flavor of the English muffin. Our takeaway here is that, if you really want to appreciate the subtleties of an artificially flavored pancake breakfast English muffin, stick with a well-done toasting and a pat of butter.

Overall? They’re fine. If you are a die-hard English muffin enthusiast, whose outlook on life is circling the drain due to an overall lack of wacky new flavors for your breakfast treat, by all means, get on these. Heck, if you’re someone who’s even mildly turned on by the notion of a sweet English muffin that tastes like a diner breakfast, you should go for it. For everyone else? It’s safe to let this one pass by.

Thomas' Bacon Buttermilk Pancake English Muffins

 

Written by Malcolm Bedell

Malcolm is the author of “Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road,” as well as a frequent contributor to Serious Eats, Down East Magazine, The L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and more. When not poisoning his body with garbage and then posting sardonic commentary about it on the Internet, he also owns and operates the ‘Wich, Please food truck, named Eater.com’s “Hottest Restaurant in Maine” for 2015.

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