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Allen Benton Bacon Supposedly Great - How Does Home Bacon Compare???

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Kind of what got me thinking I should make my own bacon was watching the Food Network and I saw this independent bacon maker by the name of Allan Benton.  He's an interesting character and I mean character.  If someone was to morph together Jackie Chan and Jimmy Carter you'd get Allan Benton.

 

Well I don't think his bacon has nitrites or nitrates in it but I know many here say it's dangerous to make, well consume bacon without these preservatives so I won't be making any like that.  Between Allan Benton and Alton Brown I wanted to make bacon without any Sodium Nitrite or Nitrate but I got scarred off after what I read here. 

 

I would like to try Benton bacon but too expensive for me, don't even count the shipping to CA, but the product itself is expensive. Since I have not and will not try the Benton brand I can't say how my home made bacon will compare but I hope it's as good as his because I read reviews and people rave about it.  I hope my budget home made bacon taste every bit as good, I just won't know though but I will know if I'll like it.

 

Any of you ever have Benton bacon and how does your home bacon compare?

 

See his web site -

 

http://bentonscountryhams2.com/


Edited by gretscher - 5/18/12 at 9:57pm
post #2 of 19

Not sure if I am reading this right because his website says they use sodium nitrite.

 

"Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams are slow cured using salt, brown sugar, and sodium nitrite and typically aged..."

 

bigfish

post #3 of 19
I haven't had Benton's bacon, but that sort of bacon has been a tradition in my family for a very long time.
You'll need to start with high quality pork belly, dry cure it, cold smoke it and allow it to mature to get bacon that's similar to what Benton is making.


~Martin
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Ooops on my part.  On The United Taste of America on the Food Network when they were making the bacon I thought they did not put any nitrte.  Maybe it was a bad assumption on my part.  Anyway, it's supposed to be really good stuff but not cheap. 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigfish98 View Post

Not sure if I am reading this right because his website says they use sodium nitrite.

 

"Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams are slow cured using salt, brown sugar, and sodium nitrite and typically aged..."

 

bigfish

 

Ooops on my part.  On The United Taste of America on the Food Network when they were making the bacon I thought they did not put any nitrte.  Maybe it was a bad assumption on my part.  Anyway, it's supposed to be really good stuff but not cheap. 


Edited by gretscher - 5/18/12 at 6:48pm
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DiggingDogFarm View Post

I haven't had Benton's bacon, but that sort of bacon has been a tradition in my family for a very long time.
You'll need to start with high quality pork belly, dry cure it, cold smoke it and allow it to mature to get bacon that's similar to what Benton is making.
~Martin

 

I'm making my first bacon. It's being wet cured.  I suppose I will do a dry cure but have to do research on that first and find out what's the difference between the two and the benefits of one over another. 

post #6 of 19
There's not much research to do if you want something like Benton's because there's no doubt that it's dry cured.

The best bacon is always dry cured and cold smoked, brined bacon is a relatively new method for the most part and hot smoking bacon is nothing but insane. biggrin.gif

Part of what makes really good bacon what it is is the concentration of flavors from dry curing and cold smoking as well as maturing, mellowing and melding of flavor.

It takes patience, but the wait is worth it.


~Martin
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm wet curing or brining for sure but for sure gonna cold smoke. No hot smoke here for me when it comes to that stuff. I need to do this dry cure you are referring to.  

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by DiggingDogFarm View Post

brined bacon is a relatively new method for the most part 

Really?? You mean like the last hundred years or so???

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

Good thing one can edit posts and even the title because I said basically how does it "computer" but fixed it to "compare". Yikes! 

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by fpnmf View Post

Really?? You mean like the last hundred years or so???

Historically, bacon has mostly been dry cured,
None of the places that produce good old fashioned bacon in this area cure with a wet cure, including one that was owned by my family.


~Martin
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by DiggingDogFarm View Post


Historically, bacon has mostly been dry cured,
None of the places that produce good old fashioned bacon in this area cure with a wet cure, including one that was owned by my family.
~Martin

Guess you never heard of Fassetts up in Adams Center NY...  They were kinda famous for their cured and smoked products..including bacon. (brined)

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by fpnmf View Post

Guess you never heard of Fassetts up in Adams Center NY...  They were kinda famous for their cured and smoked products..including bacon. (brined)


I suppose that there are many others in different areas too, especially since widespread refrigeration came about.


~Martin
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

Check out the video on Benton's Country Hams.  They show ham and pork belly's (being turned into bacon).

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6LHOpk8XoE

 

Check this out, United Taste of America, see Allen Benton and his bacon making process.  Am I right he's a morph of Jackie Chan and Jimmy Carter!

 

He says no nitrates or nitrites but the above poster did state his web site says they have them so I don't get it. 

 

From the video I can understand why his cost so much because there is so much time and labor that goes into this stuff.  It's not that expensive I guess but it's just more than I want to pay.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNudlV-PU98

post #14 of 19
Yeah, he does look a little bit like Jimmy Carter.....poor guy!





~Martin biggrin.gif
post #15 of 19

Nueske's bacon (my personal favorite) is one of the top bacons you see chefs using along with Bentons. I was kind of surprised to see that the Nueske's is brined and injected.

 

post #16 of 19

I've had Benton's bacon several times, though it's been a while. It truly is the best commercially produced bacon that I've ever eaten, bar none. I first encountered the bacon in a dish at Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC, followed by a second encounter a couple months later at Husk restaurant in Charlestown, SC. Around the same time, I had read articles about Benton's in several publications such as Saveur, Esquire, NY Times, etc. I went online to order some, and found that they were only shipping the bacon to food service buyers. A little later I was talking to a restaurant owner/chef friend of mine who was using the bacon, and he offered to let me hitch a ride for a few pounds on his next order. As I recall, the price was around $5 a pound, which I thought was a bargain considering the quality of the product.

 

From their web site and the YouTube video posted up thread, it's obvious that the operation is a small family run business. As I understand it, following the praise about the bacon from several prominent chefs around the country, coupled with several glowing news articles, almost overnight, they got caught flat footed a huge surge in demand that they couldn't handle. That soon brought about the suspension of shipping to non-food service buyers, and for a period, they were taking orders from existing customers. After a period, they expanded their facilities and sourcing somewhat, and as you can see, the suspension is no longer in effect. Some have said that they feel the quality of the product has degraded somewhat recently, but I can;t confirm that. I may have to place another order to see if it's true or not.

post #17 of 19

This product just became available in my region, and brought about a bit of a debate.  First of all, the retailer posted this sign:

 

 

 

Of course it's nitrate free...nitrites are used to make bacon.  Still, if you look at the ingredients label, no mention of nitrites or celery powder (the nitrite-carrying product used to make "nitrite-free" bacon products out there).  I went to their website where it says the HAMS are made with nitrites, but no mention of the bacon.  If you look at pictures of the ham products, the labels clearly say that there are nitrites used, but the pictures of the bacon make no mention of them, just salt, brown sugar, and pepper.  So I'm guessing that this is bacon that is actually nitrite-free?  Is it technically bacon, or just salt-cured belly?

post #18 of 19
I've had Benton's bacon and it is really good.
I'm about to start making my own and I'm excited to compare.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by xutfuzzy View Post

Is it technically bacon, or just salt-cured belly?

It's definitely bacon.





~Martin
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