Meet Our Makers: FatBack
Ah, the humble pig. So often we overlook this truly incredible product. Not the folks over at FatBack!
We take our pork seriously, so when we began sourcing our bacon, we knew that quality was key.
But here's the thing... quality bacon doesn't start with just any ol' pork belly. No, good bacon starts long before any curing, seasoning, or smoking is applied.
For decades the pork industry placed a higher value on large-scale production than quality. While pork has remained an affordable protein, this also resulted in the loss of small family farms and regional producers of high-quality processed pork products, like bacon or sausage. Before our agricultural system shifted from small, family-owned farms to a large commercial enterprise, there were many breeds of pig and many regional varieties and styles of pork products. Today, when we walk through the shelves of the grocery store, we see essentially the same few products from the same large sources, with little value placed on things like regionality, heritage breeds or small-scale production.
And then there's FatBack.
Founded by a team of chefs and restaurateurs on a mission to reimagine the pork production business in Alabama, these gals and guys are helping to revitalize what was thought to be a long-lost industry. One of the main reasons small, family-run farms fail is because these small-scale operations (which produce amazing, heritage breed pigs) can't just bring their product to the mass processing plants that most large-scale producers use. All of the extra care and expense that goes into raising these super special pigs means nothing to the large processing plants. They would get paid the same as if they had just raised commodity pork.
FatBack takes a different approach.
By building a network of small farms throughout Alabama and the Southeast, they are able to support these small businesses while ensuring that they have a steady supply of high-quality pork. These hogs are pasture-raised heritage breeds fed a natural diet completely free of hormones and antibiotics. They have built an incredible processing facility, an Abattoir, which facilitates the transformation from raw pork into a variety of products using traditional and small-batch methods.
So, what the heck does all these mean for you and us?
Well, simply said, we've found the best bacon around for our B&B of Tennessee melt.
While it might just be easier for us to go to a large supplier and buy commodity bacon at a lower cost, we take great pride in every ingredient that goes into our melts. FatBack bacon is dry-cured, meaning no extra water is added (this greatly improves quality.) They hand-rub all of their pork bellies in a custom blend of salt and seasoning, then allow it to take the time to cure properly (a full week.) Finally, they apply a fragrant hickory smoke... no liquid smoke on these bellies!
Ready to give FatBack bacon a try? Stop by the shop or the truck for a B&B of Tennessee! Make sure to grab a bowl of our Creamy Old-Fashioned Tomato Soup for the perfect cold-night treat.