Tuesday, March 09, 2010

sir francis bacon

An unassuming building along the side of the road has a direct link to some of the finest restaurants in the country. Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams is arguably more famous for their bacon than for their hams.

A recent issue of Metro Pulse inspired me to plan a field trip to Benton's with my bacon-loving son. They had articles about a hipster event called Baconfest founded by an ex-vegetarian. Meat-master Allan Benton was there when we arrived at the shop in Madisonville. His gracious and helpful employees showed us around and answered all the questions we had.

The raw hams and pork bellies arrive from Kansas City in big cardboard crates. The staff rubs them with salt on the curing table and allows them to age. They eventually get hung on racks and sent to the smoker.

My son and I bought some bacon to have for dinner that night and some for him to take back to school. On the way home, we picked up a head of lettuce, a tomato and some soft kaiser rolls at the supermarket. I fried some bacon and baked some, according to directions I found online. We preferred the bacon that was cooked at 400° on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. The first recipe called for nine minutes on each side but it did not need that much time, as posted elsewhere. It was the best BLT ever.

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Blogger Meaghan said...

Dad, you and the boy would get a kick out of this comic from The Oatmeal. http://theoatmeal.com/comics/bacon_love

Totally factual. Spot on.

Blogger Frank Murphy said...

There is a sealed package of bacon in the fridge awaiting your next visit! Or I will go buy more if it gets accidentally eaten before then.

Blogger Elaine said...

Frank, at my house we keep a strip of Benton's bacon handy in a zip-lock bag in the fridge. The aroma alone has been known to revive the weak, the elderly, and more than one vegetarian.

Blogger Barry said...

We have become slaves to the Benton Bacon way of life - all hail the Bacon!

I've been cooking it on my George Foreman, and it actually works. I need to try a more conventional method sometime and see how that does.

To me, the best thing is the aroma that lingers around the house for the next 2-3 days after one session of frying Benton's Bacon...

You know it's available at one of the markets now on Sutherland?

Blogger Frank Murphy said...

Thanks for the tips, Elaine & Barry! I love that their bacon has so much flavor that even a small portion is satisfying.

Frank Jr. and I had a great time on our field trip to Madisonville and I would go again. However, I did not know that Benton's can be found on Sutherland. Where exactly?


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