Anyone that knows me well, knows that I really like bacon. Not just any bacon, either, but good bacon (if anything, I’ve been annoyed by the current bacon trend, since it mostly seems to be emphasizing quantity over quantity; putting three strips of bacon on something doesn’t automatically make it better). No, my bacon needs to be made from a quality pork belly that’s got nice layering of fat and lean. It needs to be thick sliced. It needs to nicely smoked and cured, generally with some nice robust flavors. And it needs to be properly cooked. Most places serving me up some bacon fail on one of these.
But I’m lucky enough to live in New England, which actually has several purveyors of really top quality bacon. For example, I’m a huge fan of the various bacons (in particular the cob-smoked bacon) from North Country Smokehouse down the road from me in Claremont, NH. Similarly, two local companies, Garfield’s Smokehouse in Plainfield, NH, and Vermont Smoke and Cure in Hinesburg, VT. But there’s one place in New England that, when my travels allow, I stop by for bacon and a sandwich: Nodine’s Smokehouse in Goshen, CT.
Actually, Nodine’s Smokehouse itself is actually in Torrington, CT, but their retail operation is down the road in Goshen, CT. I’ll be honest, Goshen isn’t exactly the sort of place you randomly happen across, unless you are taking a scenic driving tour of the backroads of Connecticut. But it’s a very pleasant and picturesque farming town (with actual farms). Nestled behind one of the houses on North
Street (you have to look for the sign, it’s a bit subtle) is a small building that serves as Nodine’s retail operation, as well as simple lunch counter.
The main reason you go to Nodine’s is for the bacon. In addition to a standard selection of bacons, they’ve got what I consider to have several bacon varieties that they do particularly well. First of all, their double-smoked bacon is particularly good, having a rich and deep smoke flavor. They’ve also got some nice flavored varieties, with their bayou bacon (with a rich Cajun spice) being particularly good, as is their very strong “Ten Clove” garlic bacon (you can actually see the cloves embedded in it, which gives it a kielbasa-like flavor). And probably my favorite is a variety fairly unique to Nodine’s: Juniper smoked bacon. A nice, intense juniper flavor (really, opening the package smells like a good gin), it’s a rather unique variant of bacon that I like. This trip to Nodine’s, I showed some self control, and only bought 2 lbs of bacon and some Italian sausages (they also sell smoked sausages, hams, and the like).
And since they have a lunch counter, I also ordered lunch, a simple BLT made with their bayou bacon. I’ll be honest, as far as a BLT goes, this one isn’t anything all that fancy: two thin slices of rye, mayo, iceberg lettuce, and a few tomato slices… except that it has their bayou bacon on it, giving it a nice spicy and smoky tang from their bacon. And it was a particularly nice day out, so I wandered outside to one of their picnic tables and enjoyed my BLT while looking over the countryside.
While it’s not the greatest BLT out there, if you do find yourself driving around Northwest Connecticut, I do recommend stopping by Nodine’s. The bacon is phenomenal.