My Favorite... Bacon
Andrew and Libby Smith's specialty bacon win points with foodies.
By Julie Sloane

(FORTUNE Small Business) - Most mass-produced bacon found at the supermarket is cured in water. Thanks to artificial flavorings, it tastes smoky but never sees any smoke.

That might work for a weeknight BLT, but true bacon connoisseurs seek out more artisanal versions, the thickly sliced, meaty kind that draws its flavor from being cured in a dry rub and smoked over a wood fire.

Andrew and Libby Smith, the owners of Smith's Log Smokehouse in Monroe, Maine, make their Smith's Specialty bacon by rubbing pork bellies with a mixture of salt, sugar, sodium nitrate, and garlic powder. The slabs sit in a cooler for four days before receiving a rubdown in ground black pepper. Next they're hung in a smokehouse for three days over smoldering pecan shells. (A Georgia pecan farmer tipped the Smiths off to the shells' distinctive, light-tasting smoke.)

Rich Howe, president of Stonington Sea Products in Stonington, Maine, says that it's the only bacon he'll eat. "There's just a tinge of sweetness in the aftertaste," Howe says. "I've tried other bacons, and none are consistently as good." Howe (father of FSB associate photo editor Katy Howe) knows his smoked products--his salmon was named best in the U.S. in 2005 by The Rosengarten Report, a prestigious foodie newsletter.

The Smiths run no ads, stick to plain packaging, and sell just 100 pounds a week ($6.50 a pound; 207-525-7735). Try some, and you'll swear off the big brands forever. Top of page

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