Question: What’s shiny, blue, and smells like smoked pork? Answer: Hubby’s car after we stopped yesterday in Madisonville, Tennessee, to buy a half of a smoked country ham!
If you want the real deal, it can be found at Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams. This small business started in 1947 and is currently owned by Allan Benton. Benton’s doesn’t advertise. They’ve never gotten around to issuing a catalog either. You see, they don’t have to! When your business has been featured in the New York Times and magazines such as Southern Living and Gourmet magazine, you know you’ve hit the big time.
Discerning, gourmet restaurants from the big cities are Benton’s regular customers. But average day folks like us swear by Benton’s country pork products too. The magic all happens in this humble, concrete block building. The meat is dry-cured the old-fashioned way and hung on wooden racks for months at a time.
They sliced it up for us, no extra charge. Hubby unwrapped it from the butcher paper earlier this afternoon and had a vacuum sealing party in the kitchen. We now have 14 beautiful center-cut slices tucked away for future fried ham dinners. We also got a few end pieces that will be put to good use for seasoning large pots of pinto beans during the winter months ahead. Of course, we couldn’t resist having some fried up for lunch today and slapped between some biscuits. (I drizzle yellow mustard on mine.) Oh my, it is smoked pork heaven!
Perhaps you can order one of Benton's hams as a holiday present for a serious chef or foodie friend on your gift list. While you’re at it, go on and get one for yourself too!