A fire broke out at Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams last night in North Madisonville, Tennessee, but the damage didn’t stop the Benton’s team from filling orders for their famed bacon and country ham today.
Early reports of major damage were exaggerated, said owner Allan Benton, who figured the repairs to his smokehouse would cost about $10,000. “We’re so lucky that it was not worse,” he said. “You have to have a few instances like this to make life interesting.”
Allan and his team quickly wheeled the racks of bacon bellies out of the smokehouse portion of the building before the local fire department sprayed water. “We were just fortunate,” said Allan, who reckoned they saved 300-400 bacon bellies worth $15,000 to $20,000. “That room got lots of smoke, which I needed anyway.”
Just last week a few SL editors made the pilgrimage to Benton’s to stock up on bacon and hams and learned that mail-order demand for the country’s best bacon has created a three week back-order. The fire damage won’t add to the backlog, Allan said, as long as the smokehouse becomes fully operational as expected by early next week.