I've never met a piece of bacon I didn't like. But over the last couple of years I've taken note of some particularly good bacon being served in several of the better restaurants here in New Orleans (there's a fried oyster and bacon salad at Lüke that just knocks my socks off). And I needed to know where that bacon came from - you know, so I could bring it home and have it live in my refrigerator. Turns out the bacon was from Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Tennessee and that it could indeed be mine.
Now, I'm a big believer in buying local, and the idea of mail ordering bacon seems a little absurd, but it was worth every penny. It's my special occasion bacon, this weekend's occasion being the start of football season (even if our start was lackluster). I fry it in a cast iron skillet on medium heat, slow and steady, because I like my bacon cooked through, but still chewy. It's also perfect in savory dishes and I use it for things like shrimp and grits (substitute bacon for the tasso), or risotto.
With shipping, 4 pounds of bacon cost me $38, which isn't a whole lot more than I pay per pound at my local grocery store. And when I'm finished cooking it, I strain the bacon grease and keep it in my fridge to add a little extra flavor when frying up breakfast potatoes or making steaks.
So I thought I'd share my little secret with you. But hurry, bacon is currently shipping about 3-4 weeks after an order is placed. Seems like it's not such a secret anymore!
Visit Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams