Review: Beyond Bacon — Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog
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.
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?” 🙂
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.
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 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.
Beyond Bacon arrives July 2, so be sure to pre-order your copy today!