The man behind this cured-pork goodness, Allan Benton, has been smoking hams and bacon since 1973. Benton's is a small operation—just five employees working out of a low-slung building that doubles as a retail store—and he has only modest plans for expanding. "We want to keep it small," he says, "but we feel like we have a product that can compete with any in the country." The bacon-making process starts with fresh pork bellies from various farms in the Midwest. After being hand-trimmed, the fat-streaked slabs are rubbed with salt, brown sugar, and pepper and packed in a cooler, where they remain for about ten days. The meat is left to age in temperature-controlled rooms over a period of three weeks—a process that extracts moisture while further preserving and seasoning the product—and then it's off to the smokehouse, with its wood-burning stove, for three days. After smoking, the meat is given an hour's rest before it's sliced into thick strips and vacuum-sealed. The result? The most mouthwatering bacon around. To order, call 423/442-5003 or visit www.bentonshams.com.