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Best. Bacon. Ever


zoony

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He ships, too. Though I think there is like a 6 week wait. Anyways, you can thank me next time you see me. http://bentonscountryhams2.com/

I figure if anyone would appreciate a story about bacon, it would be the ES tailgate.

Took the short drive down US411 Saturday to check out Benton's Country Hams. Wife and kids and I walked into a hole in the wall and were instantly greeted by the owner. I told him I'd read about him in the New York Times, he instantly got excited then took me and my family for a full tour of his smokehouse and curing racks. Very impressive operation- he actually had some hams there that had been curing for 3 years. "To compete with the Spanish", he told me.

His bacon is on another level. No nitrates, all pasture raised pork, no antibiotics or hormones. Bacon is smoked and cured for at least 5 weeks. I made some on Sunday... wow, just wow. Probably one of the richest flavors I've ever experienced... not just bacon... anything. You really only need a few pieces.

He also supplies all of the best restaurants in the country, hence the wait. You'd never know it... the guy couldn't have been more down to earth and happy to show us around. He even told me to let my kids go romp around :ols:

The most amazing thing, at least to me... was that the guy simply is not interested in making money. He couldn't have been more self-effacing and humble. Despite enormous demand, he still sells his bacon for $6. That's cheaper than Oscar Myers. His country ham was extremely reasonable too, especially considering how long it had cured. It's all about pride and trying to perfect cured pork. He keeps just enough bacon and ham set aside to sell to people who wander into his shop, so I didn't have to wait to get it :cool:

http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s/2006/10/bentons-hams

his is a story about pork. More to the point, this is a story about Allan Benton of Madisonville, Tennessee, a pork man who, cleaving to the ways of his forebears and working with salt and smoke, transforms haunches and bellies into ham and bacon that many chefs consider to be some of America’s best.

Along with his wife, Sharon, Allan has come to New York City to meet the people who, until now, have been mere voices on the phone, ordering bacon flanks and teardrop hams. Over the course of a week, Allan—an elastic smile teasing his lips, a cooler of bacon and ham samples slung over his shoulder—will crisscross the city, from the Lower East Side to Union Square, from Times Square to the Upper West Side.

No matter where he goes, no matter whom he meets, the 59-year-old brooks no strangers. At table, Allan Benton charms New York. And New York charms him.

David Chang of Momofuku, the iconoclastic ramen and small plates bar, is a stalwart. He has been using Allan’s bacon and ham since January 2005. When Allan and Sharon arrive, Chang beams. He genuflects. He stands tall by the stove and dishes a soup of ****les in a ham broth. He whisks a ham-skin-scented dashi into a pan of yellow grits, then tops them with a poached egg, crescents of ruby shrimp, and a thatch of crisp chopped bacon. And as Allan and Sharon fold their napkins, Chang exits the galley kitchen and joins them at the counter.

Allan, who has the countenance and intellect of a presidentialera Jimmy Carter, ducks his head and grins. He snags an afterthought of bacon with his chopsticks and drags it through a puddle of yolk. “I had no idea what you were doing with my bacon and ham,” he says, his face twisting upward, the corners of his mouth gone vertical. “This is amazing, just amazing, especially for a purebred Tennessee hillbilly.”

Chang accepts the compliments. But the 29-year-old Korean-American chef rejects the self-deprecation. “You’re a hero to us,” he says. “Your stuff is the ultimate old-school product. We can smell the work you put into it. Sometimes when you ship us a ham, we can see handprints on the box. We know that the person who packed our box trimmed our ham. And now we get to meet you. Now we get to cook for you.”

Lunch at Momofuku sets a pattern that plays something like this: Allan and Sharon take seats. A chef bows deeply. A chef cooks his heart out. Allan asks smart questions and beams. And Sharon snaps a picture for posterity. That’s how it works at Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain, in midtown, where chef Neil Manacle serves a lunchtime triptych of silky Allan Benton ham—tucked in buttermilk biscuits, layered with fresh mozzarella, mixed with mango salad—and Sharon gets a shot of Allan holding the ham platter high.

....And there are detours that qualify as busman’s holidays. At R.U.B., a hipster Chelsea barbecue restaurant, Josh Ozersky, a friend of the house who calls himself Mr. Cutlets, begs for a critique from the Tennessee master. “This is good, really good,” Allan says, tasting pitmaster Scott Smith’s first cured pork belly. “I wouldn’t change a thing.” A three-beat pause follows. And then a kindly coup de grâce: “You’ve got nitrates in here, don’t you? Scott, son, you might want to think about cutting those out. You really don’t need those chemicals. Salt and smoke will do,” says the man who, at times, has had to bow to regulatory pressure and use the stuff himself. ...

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I'll put this on my list and see if we can manage to stop by when we head down to the Smoky Mountains in 2 weeks. Thanks for the heads up.

wow, you're coming down eh? cool man if you do get some time lemme know I'll buy you dinner or something :) (BTW, hope you're staying in Townsend...)

It would be a bit of a drive, but maybe worth it if you are serious about your bacon. I

wooowwww!!!! look at the smoke coming out of building. wish the screen was scratch and sniff lol

dude, I'm not kidding you, we all had to take showers when we got home. We were in there for about an hour or so and we REEKED like hickory and pork. :ols: We went shopping afterwards and people kept saying "do you smell bacon?" :ols:

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Just ordered some, can't ever give up the quest for the bacon holy grail! :ols:

bump this thread when you try it.

cook it in a cast iron skillet on low heat. it will take 15 minutes or so. once the small white bubbles started forming on the bacon I took it out, came out perfect.

Hope you have a good exhaust fan in your kithen :)

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bump this thread when you try it.

cook it in a cast iron skillet on low heat. it will take 15 minutes or so. once the small white bubbles started forming on the bacon I took it out, came out perfect.

Hope you have a good exhaust fan in your kithen :)

I'll probably go low heat, cast iron griddle on the weber. It cooks some mean bacon/sausage/eggs.

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bump this thread when you try it.

cook it in a cast iron skillet on low heat. it will take 15 minutes or so. once the small white bubbles started forming on the bacon I took it out, came out perfect.

Hope you have a good exhaust fan in your kithen :)

Dude we need to keep old Mr. Benton on the down low....this stuff is so damn good that he runs out all of the time. Holy Grail is a perfect description.

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Dude we need to keep old Mr. Benton on the down low....this stuff is so damn good that he runs out all of the time. Holy Grail is a perfect description.

maybe you're right. I think I might move this thread to the owner's box :silly:

Seriously, he couldn't be a nicer, more humble human being. He invited me and my family back for another tour on a Monday or Tuesday when product arrives. he easily spent an hour with us and was so excited to show us around and tell us all about curing and his methods, etc. He dropped some crazy names of chefs who call all the time to place orders. We just walked right in and he put everything on hold to talk to us. And my kids were terrorizing the place, lol

I seriously almost fainted when they told me "$48" for 4 lbs of bacon, and 4 lbs of country ham. I would have paide twice that

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maybe you're right. I think I might move this thread to the owner's box :silly:

Seriously, he couldn't be a nicer, more humble human being. He invited me and my family back for another tour on a Monday or Tuesday when product arrives. he easily spent an hour with us and was so excited to show us around and tell us all about curing and his methods, etc. He dropped some crazy names of chefs who call all the time to place orders. We just walked right in and he put everything on hold to talk to us. And my kids were terrorizing the place, lol

I seriously almost fainted when they told me "$48" for 4 lbs of bacon, and 4 lbs of country ham. I would have paide twice that

You are now a lifetime customer.....America are you listening, b/c this is how it is supposed to be done.

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Hmmm. May have to get some of this. See how it goes with grits. :D (and of course save the grease. That's a big test right there. ;) ).

2 tblspoons of bentons bacon grease on a skillet mixed with chopped onions, drop the hash browns on top and cook = nirvana

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What is the expiration date of this bacon?

as long as you leave it vacuum sealed you don't even need to refrigerate it... but if you do refrigerate, it lasts longer. IIRC 6 months to a year

after you open the vacuum seal you need to cook it pretty quickly within a few days I think

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