Heritage pork has more marbling resulting in more tender and juicy meat
Al Benton cures his meats in a tiny smokehouse in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Established in 1947 in the town of Madisonville, and taken over by Al in 1973, the Benton operation is widely regarded as an American treasure producing the most delicious cured products in the nation. “Don’t call me Mr. Benton,” he chides, “I’m Al.” His smile is half Robert Redford and half Jimmy Carter, equal parts star power and earnest American.
There is no secret to the Benton formula for bacon, it could not be simpler: salt, brown sugar, time and patience! And a good hickory smoke that lasts about 3 days! Bacon curing is an art Al learned growing up. His family always butchered their own hogs, always made their own sausage and bacon, and today Al will tell you that all he’s doing is what he grew up doing in his backyard so many years ago.
Al also makes amazing prosciutto style ham using our heritage hams! His smoked hams are aged for over a year and a half and the only ingredients are salt, sage, black and red pepper… as Al says he doesn't use anything he can’t pronounce! Even though Benton is a legend in the South, he is still hands-on and present in all steps of the curing process. He is another famed traditionalist who is forwarding the cause of the American charcuterie renaissance by embracing heritage breed pigs.