Are you a bacon lover looking for a new, high-quality option to add to your breakfast plate?
Look no further than the delicious and flavorful Benton’s bacon. This bacon is made using a traditional, slow-curing process that results in a product with a long shelf life.
But just how long can you expect your Benton’s bacon to last? In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of this beloved bacon brand and provide you with all the information you need to keep your bacon fresh and tasty for as long as possible.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn all about Benton’s bacon!
How Long Does Benton’s Bacon Last?
Benton’s bacon is a dry-cured and smoked product that has a long shelf life compared to other types of bacon. The curing process involves using a mixture of salt, brown sugar, and black pepper to preserve the meat.
Because of this process, Benton’s bacon can last for several months without refrigeration. However, it’s best to store the bacon in the fridge or a cool, dry, dark place to ensure maximum freshness and flavor.
If you’re wondering how long your Benton’s bacon will last once it’s opened, the answer depends on how you store it. If you keep it in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, it should last for up to two weeks.
If you want to extend the shelf life of your bacon even further, consider freezing it. When properly stored in the freezer, Benton’s bacon can last for up to six months. Just be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before freezing to prevent freezer burn.
What Is Benton’s Bacon?
Benton’s bacon is a type of bacon that is known for its intense smoky flavor and quality. The bacon is made using a traditional dry-curing process that involves using a mixture of salt, brown sugar, and black pepper to preserve the meat. The pork used in the process is sourced from heritage pig breeds like Berkshire, Tamworth, and Duroc.
The curing process takes around five weeks, during which the bacon is moved from curing to cooler rooms and then finally a heated room. The bacon is then smoked with hickory wood in a wood-burning stove for three days to give it its distinctive smoky flavor.
Benton’s bacon is not your typical thin-sliced bacon. It comes in thick cross-sections that need to be cooked low and slow to bring out the best flavor. The concentrated flavor means that it works well as a seasoning or in dishes like BLTs.
Benton’s bacon has gained popularity among top chefs and restaurants across the United States, including New York City’s Momofuku Noodle Bar, Charleston’s Husk, and San Francisco’s French Laundry. Despite its fame, Benton remains humble and dedicated to making his bacon the best it can be.
The Slow-curing Process
The slow-curing process used by Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams and Bacon is a time-honored tradition that dates back to the era of our forefathers. The process involves using a mixture of salt, brown sugar, and sodium nitrite to cure the meat. The hams are typically aged for 9-10 months, though some are available for up to 18 months.
The process begins with rubbing the salt and sugar mixture onto fresh hams in a maple box. The hams are then left to cure for several weeks, allowing the salt and sugar to penetrate the meat and preserve it. After the curing process is complete, the hams are moved to cooler rooms where they continue to age and develop their characteristic flavor.
The final step in the process is smoking the hams with hickory wood in a small wood stove smokehouse behind the business. This imparts a distinct smoky flavor that many customers prefer. The bacon is also dry-cured by hand with salt, brown sugar, and black pepper, and takes about five weeks to make.
The slow-curing process used by Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams and Bacon results in a flavorful and shelf-stable product that can be shipped anywhere in the United States. It’s important to note that while the bacon is safe to eat without refrigeration due to its curing process, it’s still recommended to store it in the fridge or a cool, dry place for maximum freshness and flavor.
Shelf Life Of Benton’s Bacon
The shelf life of Benton’s bacon can vary depending on whether it’s opened or unopened, and how it’s stored. Unopened packages of Benton’s bacon can last for up to 4-6 months in the vacuum-sealed package under refrigeration, and likely much longer.
Once opened, the bacon should be consumed within 1-2 weeks for maximum freshness and flavor. However, if you store it properly in the fridge or freezer, you can extend its shelf life.
Cooked bacon that has been stored properly also has a shorter shelf life and can generally last around 4-5 days in the refrigerator and up to 1 month in the freezer. If you choose to save bacon grease after cooking, it can be refrigerated for 6 months or frozen for up to 9 months before going rancid.
It’s important to note that Benton’s bacon is a dry-cured and smoked product that is shelf-stable and can be shipped unrefrigerated to all US destinations, all year round. However, it’s still recommended to store it in the fridge or freezer for optimal freshness and flavor.
Proper Storage Techniques
Proper storage techniques are crucial to ensuring that your Benton’s bacon lasts as long as possible. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Refrigerate promptly: As soon as you bring your Benton’s bacon home, make sure to promptly refrigerate it. Keep it at a consistent temperature of 40°F or below, whether cooked or raw.
2. Store in an airtight container: If you’ve opened the package, transfer the bacon to an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to prevent air from getting in and causing spoilage.
3. Use within two weeks: If you’re storing your bacon in the fridge, be sure to use it within two weeks of opening the package for optimal freshness and flavor.
4. Consider freezing: If you don’t plan on using your Benton’s bacon within two weeks, consider freezing it. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing it in the freezer to prevent freezer burn.
By following these storage techniques, you can ensure that your Benton’s bacon stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible.
Signs Of Spoilage
Despite its long shelf life, Benton’s bacon can still spoil if not stored properly or if it’s past its expiration date. Here are some signs of spoilage to look out for:
1. Color changes: Fresh bacon should have a bright pink color. If it starts to turn gray or brown, it’s a sign that it’s starting to spoil.
2. Sliminess: If your bacon feels slimy or sticky to the touch, it’s a sign that bacteria has started to grow on it.
3. Unpleasant odor: Benton’s bacon should have a natural meaty smell. If it smells sour, fishy, or just generally unpleasant, it’s likely gone bad.
4. Mold: If you see any mold growing on your bacon, it’s definitely time to throw it out.
It’s important to note that spoiled bacon can make you sick if consumed. So if you notice any of these signs of spoilage, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it away.
Creative Ways To Use Leftover Bacon
If you have leftover Benton’s bacon and you’re looking for creative ways to use it up, there are plenty of delicious options. Here are some ideas to inspire you:
1. Bacon-wrapped dates: Take your bacon-wrapping game to the next level by wrapping pitted dates in strips of Benton’s bacon. Bake them in the oven until the bacon is crispy and the dates are caramelized for a sweet and salty appetizer.
2. Bacon and egg breakfast burrito: Use your leftover bacon as a filling for a breakfast burrito. Scramble some eggs, add some cheese and avocado, and wrap it all up in a tortilla with some crumbled Benton’s bacon.
3. Bacon-wrapped asparagus: Roast some asparagus spears in the oven and wrap them in strips of Benton’s bacon before serving for an elevated side dish.
4. Bacon-wrapped chicken: Wrap chicken breasts or thighs in strips of Benton’s bacon before baking or grilling for a flavorful main dish.
5. Bacon mac and cheese: Add crumbled Benton’s bacon to your favorite mac and cheese recipe for a smoky twist on a classic comfort food.
6. Bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers: Stuff jalapeño peppers with cream cheese, wrap them in Benton’s bacon, and bake until the bacon is crispy and the cheese is melted for a spicy appetizer.
7. Bacon-wrapped figs: Wrap fresh figs in strips of Benton’s bacon and grill or broil until the bacon is crispy and the figs are caramelized for a sweet and savory dessert.
With these creative ways to use leftover Benton’s bacon, you’ll never let any go to waste again. Enjoy the delicious flavor of this premium bacon in a variety of dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert!