Dan Philips, president of Grateful Palate, spends much of his time traveling through Appalachia and middle America looking for just such home-style variations.
The cure recipe that each farm uses, he
says, is as distinctive "as a thumbprint."Northern bacon tends to be hammier and sweeter, while Southern bacon is intense and salty.Mr. Philips
loves them all, but notes two particular favorites: Gatton Farms, a Kentucky bacon that he
says "is to die for," and Summerfield, a molasses-and-brown-sugar-cured slab bacon that he
compares to Christmas pudding.
"Once you have an artisan-made bacon," he
says, "it's a whole other level."