Thursday, February 24, 2011

Zingerman's Bacon of the Month Club: Allan Benton's Dry-Cured Bacon from Tennessee (Bacon #4)

For this installment of the "best wedding gift of all time" a/k/a Zingerman's Bacon of the Month Club, we received Allan Benton's Dry-Cured Bacon from eastern Tennessee.

Owner of a down-home family operation, Benton is a self-taught baconeer (he also makes killer country hams). His bacon can be found gracing the tables of some of the top restaurants in the nation, like David Chang's Momofuku (a DD favorite) and Bobby Flay's Bar Americain, both in NYC.

If that's not endorsement enough, here's my two cents on his bacon.

For breakfast, I roasted it up in the oven (my preferred way to cook bacon for it's precise rendering--note I always save my bacon fat for badass kitchen experiments like sous vide scallops in bacon fat--coming soon). I preheated the oven to 425 degrees and baked the bacon for about 10-12 minutes for perfect crispness.

This is a bacon lover's bacon--pungent, intense in flavor--fatty, sweet, smokey, and salty all at once. Oh the magic of the dry cure! In my mind, it feels like it concentrates the power of bacon, making it pack one hell of a punch. I loved these long, spindly strips of bacon, and devoured every last one.

A few notes on the making of this bacon:

It's dry cured for four weeks in a mixture of brown sugar and salt, and then smoked over Hickory for 48 hours. You can really taste the smoky, sweet, salty flavors.

Zingerman's Bacon of the Month club does not disappoint! This stuff is super addictive. Kuzak (my well fed husband) and I are seriously contemplating staying in this club forever. Would that be too decadent? Let me know...

Read about the first three installments of Zingerman's Bacon of the Month Club!

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