Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams are slow cured using salt, brown sugar, and sodium nitrite and typically aged 9-10 months, though hams are available 1 year and older. This time-honored practice dates back to the era of our forefathers, when the preparation and preservation of meat was a way of life and sustenance. Although the hands of time and technology have sculpted many aspects of our modern world, at Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams we have upheld the traditional dry-curing process and are striving to produce world class country hams and bacon. Our business was started in 1947 by the late Albert H. Hicks, a dairy farmer who began curing and selling country hams out of a painted block building. Allan Benton and his employees have honed the dry-curing of hams and bacon into a culinary art and have catapulted the products from a simple breakfast mainstay into the world of gourmet cooking, where they have been praised for their characteristic flavor.
Benton’s Country Hams and Bacon are available either unsmoked or hickory-smoked. Hickory smoking is performed in a small, wood stove smokehouse behind the business, imparting a distinct smoked flavor that many customers prefer. Our products make excellent gifts and can be shipped anywhere in the United States. We invite you to try some today!
What is the shelf life of your ham and bacon? Our ham and bacon are dry-cured, a time-tested process of preservation that allows them to be shipped across the country without refrigeration. Simply refrigerate upon receiving the items to prolong the shelf life:
The bacon will retain its original quality in the vacuum sealed package under refrigeration for 4-6 months and likely much longer; once opened, the product is best if used within 1-2 weeks. If longer storage is required the bacon can be frozen, but it is our hope that it will be eaten or shared before that is necessary!
The ham will retain its original quality in your refrigerator, vacuum sealed, for approximately 2 months. For longer storage, the ham can be frozen OR you can use the method that my grandmother passed down to me. Place the slices in a Tupperware-type container or gallon jar, then cover them with the cooking oil of your choice. Place the container in your refrigerator. When ready to use, simply take out the desired number of slices, dry off all of the oil with a paper towel, and cook in a skillet. Using this method, the ham will keep up to 1 year and taste like it was sliced the day before.