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Benton's Country Bacon

No friends, not all bacon is created equal.  I have never tasted bacon like Benton’s Bacon from East Tennessee before.  Is it possible to make one of the country’s favorite meats better taste more bacony?  Well Mr. Allen Benton up in Madisonville, Tennessee does it.  I first tasted this bacon at Restaurant Iris several years ago in Chef Kelly’s brussel sprout appetizer and knew that it was something special – so special in fact, that restaurants across the city and country mention Benton’s by name on the menu.

You can’t buy Benton’s anywhere but their store in Madisonville and online.  I’ve ordered it several times, and making a dish with it always seems indulgent. The minimum order for Benton’s is 4 pounds, but at only $6 per pound, it’s worth the investment.  Since Benton’s hams and bacon are cured the traditional way – you don’t even HAVE to refrigerate it.  Can you say the same thing about your supermarket bacon?

This last time around my friend made a stop at the store during her last visit home to East Tennessee.  She said that she stopped by on the Fourth of July, and despite being closed they went ahead and sold her bacon for me and herself.  When she asked how long it would keep, Allan chuckled and said “Well…you could probably keep it in your refrigerator until January, then maybe you’d need to freeze it.”  Well, I don’t think mine is going to last until January.  I honestly had to break open a package as soon as I got it home – I’ll post that recipe tomorrow.

While you wait in anticipation – visit their website and order some delicious pork product, then watch this documentary short by the Southern Foodways Alliance and the University of Mississippi.