john besh

john besh

Knowsy Knoxville: Benton's Country Hams

1mo ago
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Benton's Country Hams has been processing pork for 37 years. In 1973, Allan Benton purchased "a little shack" that had been processing ham and bacon for locals since 1947. Thirty five years later, Benton's Country Hams quietly ships to a long list of famous chefs from all over the country. "We are just so blessed", says Benton. "David Chang, John Besh, Tom Colicchio and Emeril Lagasse are just a few of our regulars." Every month, Benton's nine employees go through two ricks of hickory, 1,200 fresh pork hams, 2,500 pork bellies and 1,700 pounds of salt to produce Benton's hams, bacon, sausage, and prosciutto. Benton says, "When ham is advertised as Virginia or Tennessee ham, that just means it was made there. Any dry-cured ham is an offshoot of what's been produced in Europe for centuries. It's just salt, brown sugar, Mother Nature and Father Time. ...Many people are surprised to find that our hams are cured anywhere from eight months to two years and bacon takes about five weeks." Most of the pork comes from a co-op of farms scattered over three Midwest states. "We buy as much organically grown pork as we can from old heritage lines. They grow them on pasture, not on concrete and not confined."