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Touring the smoked ham, bacon, sausage trail


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#1 Rail Paul

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:27 PM

The NY Times's Christine Muhlke reports on a trip she and her husband and dog took, filling several coolers with country ham, smoked bacon, sausage and other delights. i especially enjoyed the comment about her bacon scented dog, who had been napping alongside a huge cololer

The drivers covered a lot of ground. The first place, Benton's, is in eastern TN, between Chattanooga and Knoxville. The other three are in western KY. roughly between Nashville TN and St. Louis MO, centered around Madisonville.

QUOTE
The Scotts are staving off retirement by teaching their craft to 4-H interns, who help cure hams in salt and brown sugar every January, just like June did growing up without refrigeration. The pecan-colored smoked hams are the pride of Greenville. They sell out during Christmas and don’t need any fancy chefs to boost sales. Mrs. Scott wasn’t familiar with Momofuku’s reputation as a country ham catalyst. “They ordered some stuff from us,” she said, her soft face nodding beneath her hair net as she spoke. “We also give out samples at flea markets.”

Into the cooler went nitrate-free bacon, cotton sacks of smoked breakfast sausage, packages of sliced ham and 99-cent packets of ham scraps to season soups and beans, along with jars of chowchow and sweet corn relish. We drove past more tree carnage to Trigg County, home of the Trigg County Country Ham Festival every October.

If Scott’s is Grandpa’s Sleepy Holler, Broadbent’s is Country Ham Inc. The high-tech, two-year-old facility and store is a Big Mac’s throw from I-24. The gift shop sells regional temptations — Derby-Pie from Louisville, Kentucky bourbon balls — to travelers who might not have a cooler. For the rest of us, there’s ham, thick-cut bacon and sausage for every taste, all made on premises.

The owners, Ronny and Beth Drennan, made furniture until they bought the business in 1999. Along with it came a 100-year-old country ham recipe, which calls for the hams to be hand-rubbed with salt, sugar, nitrates and dry honey, and then boiled and boned. Nowadays, the Drennans hang the hams from netted bags in pristine white rooms for up to nine months. “Some are pushing a year,” Ronny said. The result is less salty but also less complex than its rustic cousins.

“We sell them some ham,” Ronny said of Momofuku as some truckers strolled into the shop. “I don’t know a lot about ’em.” Actually, they sell more to gourmet groceries, like Stinky Bklyn and Zingerman’s in Michigan.


NY Times

Benton's

Broadbent's

Scott Hams

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#2 GG Mora

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:29 PM

I order bacon and breakfast sausage from Broadbent twice a year. Stuff is awesome.

#3 Ron Johnson

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:52 PM

Broadbent's bacon is kickass. Scott wins the blue ribbon for country hams at the state fair almost every year.

The authors neglect to mention that there are many, much smaller ham purveyors dotted throughout the western part of the state. Those mentioned in the article are the big boys, but there are lots of farmers who might hang 100-200 hams per year and sell those to friends and family by word of mouth only.

The very best country hams in Kentucky generally come from Trigg County. I am partial to Colonel Newsom's

#4 Rail Paul

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 03:45 PM

QUOTE(Ron Johnson @ May 25 2010, 10:52 AM) View Post
(snip)

The very best country hams in Kentucky generally come from Trigg County. I am partial to Colonel Newsom's


Thanks for mentioning that, Ron. Newsom's was mentioned in the article, but I neglected to offer a link.

When I have some time, I'll see what I can do about creating a list of award winning hams from small batch producers.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#5 Rail Paul

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 02:48 PM

Eater has a link to a video on Allan Benton's pork atelier. He supplies Sean Brock and others with bacon, ham, etc


Master

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman