Benton's bacon is famous. The best restaurants in New York and across the USA boast that they serve Benton's bacon and it sells in gourmet shops for $16 a pound.
When we realized that Benton's Country Hams in Madisonville Tennessee was close to the route of our Southern road trip, and would allow us to take one of the twisty-est roads in North America - the Tail of the Dragon - through the Smoky Mountains, we decided it was a must-visit on our trip.
Madisonville is just south of Knoxville, a small building just off the highway.
It's definitely nothing fancy to look at, inside or out. But once you step inside the smell of hickory smoke is overwhelming. We could smell it on our hands and clothes for hours afterwards.
We snapped a few photos of the hams and sides of bacon hanging in the smokehouse.
We'd brought a cooler so we could bring some bacon back home. Especially since it was very reasonably priced compared to the gourmet specialty stores.
We ended up bringing home seven pounds of bacon to save for ourselves and give as gifts! I only wish we could have brought home some ham too, but we would have had to take a whole ham and didn't have the space.
The morning after we arrived home, the first thing I did was fry up some Benton's bacon for our breakfast.
It is much, much fattier and smokier than the bacon I normally buy at the grocery store. We loved it so much, I used the rest of the package for dinner with gnocchi and broccoli.
I have much more bacon to use and look forward to memories of our trip each time we sit down to this smoky breakfast treat!