Benton's is the "bacon of the month" around my house. You can smell the hickory smoke right through the plastic wrapper.
Maybe you've heard of the Grateful Palate's Bacon of the Month Club? It's a clever idea for bacon lovers, but the prices are a little ridiculous - $150 for twelve packages of bacon?
One of the Grateful Palate's "platinum premium bacons" is from Benton's in Tennessee. I sampled some of Benton's bacon and country ham after Allan Benton was featured at a Southern Foodways Alliance gathering.
In 1973, the former high school guidance counselor took over a Smoky Mountain country ham smokehouse that was founded in 1947. His products were featured in food magazines after he started selling "Smoky Mountain prosciutto" to high-end Southern restaurants.
There was such a rush on the stuff after all the publicity that the company had to stop taking orders. But word is, Benton's back in the mail-order business and you can once again buy his bacon, country ham and Smoky Mountain prosciutto online. Grateful Palate gets $11 for 14 ounces, but if you order it direct from Allan Benton, you can get this stuff for about what you pay for grocery store bacon: five bucks a pound (four pounds minimum). - Robb Walsh