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Sep 2, 2012 02:15 PM

Best country ham, I-75 through KY or TN

Originally from KY, but it's been donkey's years since I've been back. Will be making a car trip, whole north-south length of KY and TN, with extra time near Berea. What's the best places (along I -75) to buy whole or sliced country ham to bring back to home in Arizona? Will need to be hearty no fridge for the road trip. While I'm at it, do you have restaurant tips in the same freeway vicinity for either country ham or other regional favorites? Thanks, Ya'll (I'm trying to get back to my southern roots here). Can't wait to buy some White Lily flour, too. May need to buy a bigger SUV.

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  1. Hands down the best cured pork products (used in many of the Michelin rated restaurants) in the country are made at Benton's Country Store. It looks like a tiny, crappy place, but it's great! They are most known for their bacon, but I get their country ham, they will cut to order, and their prosciutto is absolutely the best I have EVER had in any restaurant. They shrink wrap and I think it would easily travel your distance. The bacon and ham can be ordered online, but you can only buy the prosciutto in store due to shipping laws. You will take the Sweetwater Exit in TN (I believe Exit 60) and go East for a couple miles to a bigger highway intersection. Go Left and the store is up the road on the right a mile or so (I can't remember exactly, you can Google it). It is a small tan building with brown writing. You won't be sorry for the detour. As for restaurants, unfortunately it is slim pickens from Knoxville to Lexington. I would suggest Puleo's when going through Knoxville. Close to the interstate. Feels like a chain, but the food is really good. Fried green tomatoes over cheese grits and 2 gravies. I compare all fried green tomatoes to these. Really good lasagna, soup, citrus chicken, great sandwiches, fish etc.

    2 Replies
      1. re: bamagirl30

        Benton's most definitely. Do you have a cooler? Consider getting a whole ham. I hung mine in my basement and cut off it as needed -- it lasted for 9 months. Get the oldest ham that you can -- it will be like prosciutto if you can slice it very thin.

      2. Just south of Loudon TN on US 11: Sweetwater Valley Cheeses- at the farm where the milk comes from. If you love real sharp cheddar, their aged cheeses are really great as are their more conventional named cheeses.

        (You will love Benton's products; remember the old rules you were taught about multiple soaks before cooking the old timey hams.)

        1. You do know that White Lily isn't the White Lily of Olde? It's no longer milled in east Tennessee; the latest on their mill was the proposal that it be turned into Condos.

          You might want to do some searches and decide if the new White Lily is worth your transporting it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: shallots

            I live on the West Coast and even though White Lily is not quite the same, it sure fills the gap when I need cornmeal mix - these guys (West Coast) have never heard of it. It is sometimes tough to find Self Rising Flour. Going to Mississippi in a couple of weeks and you better believe White Lily and Dukes will be coming back with me!

          2. Thanks, all. Will print these suggestions and take 'em along. Sad to hear about White Lily, altho' I'll still have to buy some.