OK, you jackals. Disconnect your alarms. Hit the snooze button. Spend a little quality time with Morning Edition and Pete Wilson's "Nashville Jumps" on WRVU. 'Cause come 6:05 this morning, if any of you stand between me and a pound of Benton's Hickory Smoked Bacon—at least a pound of Benton's Hickory Smoked Bacon—you're a-gonna visit Fist City.
Chef Julia Helton gave me a hit of this porcine crack at Mitchell Deli in East Nashville, where she said she'd gone through 50 pounds of the stuff already this week. It comes from Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Madisonville, and Mitchell's supply was already sold out. I can see why. The strip I tried was close to country ham in its full, earthy flavor and stinging saltiness. Even the fat was sweet with wood smoke.
Helton said she'd used the bacon to season a side of summer squash, to which she'd added some freshly gathered dandelion greens. The bacon provided all the salt the squash needed; the greens added a subtly bittersweet bite. Heaven.
Veggie season is almost here, which is swell. But bacon is forever. So let me reiterate: don't go near Mitchell's once their bacon shipment arrives this morning, sometime around 6 a.m. It's for your own good.