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Review: Beyond Bacon — Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog

Review: Beyond Bacon — Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog
Angelo Coppola

I was hot, wearing nothing but shorts and flip-flops. It was 104 degrees, and I had just pedaled my bicycle 8-and-a-half miles. I was two-thirds of the way through an afternoon ride, and as always I brought no water.

The thin layer of sweat cooled me as I rode in the wind, but I was stopped now in front of the Post Office. I could feel the ambient heat in my skin, especially in my shoulders.

These were the circumstances in which I discovered my review copy of Beyond Bacon.

Here’s the amazing thing. Despite the heat and lack of liquid, the gorgeous real-food photography in Beyond Bacon made my parched mouth water. That doesn’t happen! I rode home in anticipation of flipping through each and every page.

And I did.

Beyond Bacon Cover

I had to start bookmarking pages, so I could share my favorites with Amy. Beyond Bacon will make you want to cook pork now.

Right away, I realized it had been far too long since my last pork meal, a Shredded Pork BBQ that Amy made in the slow cooker…more than a month ago. But the real concern now is what my next pork meal will be, and Beyond Bacon provides over 100 real contenders.

There’s the Smoked Pork Belly and Cracklin’ Pork Belly for starters. And if those don’t sound appetizing to you, my first question would be, “Have you ever tried pork belly?” and my second question would be, “You do know that’s where bacon comes from, right?” 🙂

Beyond Bacon Pork Belly Recipe

Mmmmmm….Pork Belly!

Another I intend to try very soon is the Lengua Carnitas—or Shredded Mexican Pork Tongue, for the uninitiated. You won’t find this at Chipotle—not with this ingredient, anyway—but based on the clearly outlined cooking techniques and the inspired blend of seasoning (including Hungarian Paprika for a real punch), this recipe is a winner…and a keeper.

In fact, I’ll probably cook this on one of those occasions where everyone else is out for the day, and I have some time to myself in the kitchen. Long after the meal is done and the finger licking is over, I’ll let the ladies know how much they do, in fact, enjoy offal. <evil grin>

Eating Paleo absolutely does not have to be expensive, and learning to prepare and enjoy organ meats is an excellent strategy to bring down costs. Not to mention it’s extremely healthful, nourishing, and it respects the whole hog.

Like the authors, I'm a fan of secret offal.

Like the authors, I’m a fan of secret offal.

Other recipes that ensure I will continue enjoying pork this summer include Sweet & Sour Pork, Crispy Lardoons, and the Carolina and Texas Style BBQ Sauces.

Beyond Bacon Sweet & Sour Pork

Sweet and sour pork is an old favorite. This recipe calls for Apple Cider Vinegar in the sauce, which sounds delicious!

Beyond Bacon also includes detailed sections that explain how to Render Your Own Lard, and everything from making your own Pork Stock to your own Italian Sausages.

This book really does respect the whole hog, and I like it. Its authors Stacy Toth and Matt McCarry (PaleoParents) have done a superb job of injecting the Paleo spirit into what could have been just another cookbook.

“Respecting and honoring the pigness of the pig is the foundation for societal health.”
— Joel Salatin

Beyond Bacon makes an excellent initial impression. First, you’ll notice the beautiful cover, then a spot-on Foreword written by Joel Salatin, and as you flip through, it becomes obvious that this book deserves to be displayed on a coffee table and to be put through its paces in the kitchen. The authors and Victory Belt Publishing clearly put in the extra effort to create a worthy homage to pigness.

In the first section of the book proper, Stacy and Matt tell us their backstory and answer the question Why Pork? Cost and flavor are the bottom line, but they go deeper by covering:

  • How to find and afford pastured pork
  • History of pig cultivation
  • The science of pork and saturated fat
  • Does pork affect your blood?
  • Will pink pork kill me?
  • …along with everything you need to know about smoking, frying, and even stuffing sausages and curing your own meats.

If everything works out for our family the way Amy and I hope, we will soon be downsizing and simplifying our lives. Animals will be a big part of this. We plan on starting with more egg-laying hens and a couple of Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats.

Ideally, we will have room for a pair of hogs, too, after we’re established and have learned the ropes. Beyond Bacon makes me want that to happen much sooner than later.

Until then, our local Trader Joe’s carries wild boar, Sprouts has some good options, and our farmers’ markets carry pastured pork products. The authors are correct when they talk about the affordability of pig meat, and I think we can all attest to the deliciousness.

So, listen…if you should ever find yourself parched while pedaling on a 104-degree day on the concrete of the Sonoran Desert, I hope a copy of Beyond Bacon finds its way into your hands. It’s the perfect remedy for a parched mouth.

Eat Like a Dinosaur–Stacy’s and Matt’s first book—belongs to my 9-year old daughter.

Beyond Bacon is mine.

Humans Are Not Broken

Beyond Bacon arrives July 2, so be sure to pre-order your copy today!

  • Nathan

    Cant wait to get this so is Beyond Beef next?

    • That could be fun. 🙂

      • Not really huge fans of beef enough to want to cook through a whole one (that’s a LOT more meat!) but frankly the idea of another book right now makes me want to hurt someone… not quite far enough removed from the pain of publishing yet to think about #3 😉

        • Lol!

        • Gingerzingi

          I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who doesn’t love beef – I adore pork, though, and I’ve always thought it was underrated. It’s so versatile. The book looks fabulous!

  • lonelymoa

    We had beef tongue with stir fry vegies for tea last night; fried tongue with my omelette this morning.

    • I’m looking forward to experimenting with tongue. Let me know if you have any tips. The carnitas recipe looks like a great place to start. And, the carnitas would be excellent in an omelette, btw.

  • Austin Brown

    Very timely post! We had local pastured pork jowl and cheek last night and it was only $3 a pound. We table grilled it Korean style with onions, garlic and mushrooms. Wrap it up in lettuce with hot pepper and Kimchi for a tasty Korean burrito. The jowl is similar to belly but fattier (melts in your mouth) and the cheek is really lean yet tender. I have some pork neck bones in the freezer, I hope there is a good recipe for them in this book. We love your blog posts, keep them coming!

    • there is!

      • Austin Brown

        Thanks! My delivery date from Amazon is 5 July.

    • Sounds like you winged it pretty well! But, yes Beyond Bacon definitely offers guidance here. I have never had jowl, but I can’t wait to try it.

  • Angelo, you’ve always been such a good, supportive friend we’re privileged to know. I love the story telling and that you “get” that ELaD is for kids and this is our version of food for grown-ups. Thank you!

    • I’m super proud of everything you two have accomplished, and the way that you help make things like eating gluten-free with kids, buying your own pig, and making delicious food with it so accessible and fun.

  • Laura James

    Interesting about Pork affecting your blood. I think I heard that the Weston A Price folks did some kind of study/experiment with plain pork and marinated pork. Turned out that marinating the pork helps with that blood thing. Guess I’ll have to check out the book to see if they come to any other conclusions. This book looks beautiful.

    PS

    If you haven’t checked them out already you should see these videos from Farmstead Meatsmith up on Vashon Island WA. Some of the nicest images of pork cookery I’ve ever seen.

    http://anatomyofthrift.com/

    • Paul Jaminet and the WAPF have brought up some potential concerns about pork, and they are addressed in the book. Kudos to the authors for bringing up the controversy at all.

      Also, thanks for linking to those videos. I had seen one of the episodes a while back and was very impressed. I’ll watch them all, and I’m pretty sure a clip would make an excellent After the Bell segment on the show.

      Thanks again, Laura!

      • It made/makes us nervous, for sure! But… we looked to science for answers. After all, there are plenty of societies who use pork as a mainstay of their diet 🙂

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