Two things I've recently learned about Allan Benton's pork-tastic products from Madisonville, Tennessee:

1. When a bunch of 2008 F&W Best New Chefs get together to eat Momofuku Ssam Bar's country ham tasting—various hams from different producers sliced paper thin accompanied by bread and chunky apple butter (both extraneous in my opinion)—the Allan Benton plate is the first to clear.

2. When a bunch of F&W staffers mill around plates of Benton country ham and lusciously thick-cut, fatty, smoky bacon, they find all sorts of ways to eat the pork, including with their fingers and ingeniously wrapping the bacon around chunks of peanut brittle (a crunchy, more decadent version of the bacon-wrapped prunes at the Spotted Pig in Manhattan). And yes, the plates clear up superfast, too.

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