Chefs are a picky bunch; they tend to have differing opinions on a lot of topics. Still, one name will always and forever pop up on the subject of bacon: Benton’s. Though we refer to it as “the smokey stuff” in our restaurant, Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams really only needs one name.
On this episode of How to Make It, I’m visiting the Benton’s ham shop in Madisonville, Tennessee with master curer Cory Webb who is taking me through each individual step. It starts with a cure of just salt and brown sugar, each piece of belly thoroughly coated in the mixture that it sits in for ten days. Each belly is washed and then taken to the smoker after another ten days. And everything is done by hand here, differing wildly from commercially made bacon that goes through machines. I can’t think of a better place to see how bacon is made.