Beyond Bacon Book Review

Oh how excited I am!  I’m doing a happy dance right now!  In my hands I have a copy of the newly published soon to be released cookbook called [amazon_link id=”1936608235″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Beyond Bacon[/amazon_link] by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry AKA the Paleo Parents and author of [amazon_link id=”1936608871″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Eat Like a Dinosaur[/amazon_link].

I will have to say I’m kinda sad it isn’t really for me… but there is an upside!  This copy has generously been donated by Matt and Stacy to the HMN library.  It just so happens that I get the treat of trying it out first and writing a review!  It’s convincing me I NEED my own copy though… and I’m sure it is going to get LOTS of love from the HMN Mamas!  So thank you so much for the donation!

Now, I really enjoyed [amazon_link id=”1936608871″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Eat Like a Dinosaur[/amazon_link] and the recipes in it were huge hits with my kids.  So when I heard about this cookbook… and it was going to offer awesome recipes to fuel my love affair with pork, I was thrilled!

We purchased a ¼ pig (not nearly enough for our family of 5 almost 6 as an FYI) earlier this year from Wiffletree Farm and we have surely been sitting high on the hog!  SO.. since I have a freezer full of hoggy goodness, I REALLY wanted to get my hands on this book to help me prepare it in the best way possible!  And let me tell you… it did not disappoint!

I have spent hours (yes, you read that correctly… it is plural), hours reading this book!  There is fantastic info in the beginning about the different parts of the pig, how to preserve and prepare and the health benefits that free foraging pigs offer.  The intro alone is over 50 pages of priceless info!  That alone is worth the book!

Not only that.. this book is over 300 pages… on recipes… for pig!!!!  How awesome is that!  There are some crazy recipes (that actually sound fantastic to hubby and I) that include headcheese, cracklings, stomach and intestine lining, tongue, cheeks and other awesome pig parts!  I did pick one or two of those recipes to try to help and sway you to give them a try as well!  But alas, I know that may not be the case, so I also chose some more mainstream options as well… you know… to sell you on the awesomeness of this book!

I can’t say there isn’t a recipe I wouldn’t try in this book!  But on to the recipes and what we’ve made we enjoyed and will mostly likely make again!

Head Cheese

This recipe was a success!  It did take quite a few hours (like twelve?!?!) to make, but it was worth it.  We did enjoy eating it on tomatoes and cucumbers.  The kids weren’t huge fans, but we served it for dinner and they ate!  My only negative comment about it was that I found it a bit bland, however, I know that we LOVE spicy foods and I often add extra spice into what I’m cooking.  I wanted to follow the recipe exactly for the review, but I’m sure I’ll quite a bit more spice when I do it next time.

I will say, this recipe isn’t for the faint of heart since it requires butchering and cooking a whole pork head!  I also have to be honest and say that I didn’t make this one!  Dear hubby did!  I’m sure I could have, but definitely not my preference.  He did have the kiddos helping and they were pretty thrilled and fascinated by sticking a whole pig head in the pot!

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The recipe does say to have the head butchered, but we just purchased it whole and cooked it that way.  We did remove the tongue so that we could make the lengua carnitas for another dinner this week.

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We were also a bit sad to see how little it made, but after looking at the recipe again it said a “meaty pork skull”.  Ours was definitely not meaty and very small.  Oh well!  I’m sure we will do it again!

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Now this recipe… let me tell you… was super amazing!  We ALL LOVED it!  I decided to have it for dinner and we had scrambled eggs and fruit with it.  What a treat!  It was salty and flavorful and amazing!  I can’t begin to tell you how good it was!  

This is another recipe that takes some time, but well worth the effort.  The heart, liver and trotters have to be boiled till soft, finely chopped and the rest of the ingredients added before chilling it for a few hours or overnight before it is ready to be served.

As you can tell from the photos our loaves look a bit light in color.  I don’t think there was enough meat in them.  Since our pig was small I’m thinking the heart and liver were small too…. smaller than what the recipe really called for.  Next time I’d probably make sure I had more meat or ½ the breading/thickener portion of the recipe.

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Even though it didn’t look quite right it still tasted great!  Matt and Stacy warn to sear it on both sides quickly or it will melt.  When I tried to cut mine it wasn’t very firm (not enough meat) and therefore melted right away once in the pan.  However, I just let it cook a bit and it thickened and congealed because of the arrowroot and gelatin that had been added.  I know my consistency was off, but the flavor was great!  It’s the first time I’ve tried making scrapple, but I’d certainly try again!

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I hope you give this one a try.  It makes quite a bit and goes really far and is a great way to eat the organ meat!

Pork Stock

This is a pretty simple recipe (especially if you are used to making your own stock) and not a whole lot to it, but it makes great stock!  Since I had the skull and trotter bones and other stew bones left I figured I’d just use them again to make stock!  It ended up making about 4 quarts and it is delish!  I can’t wait to use it later for other recipes in the book!

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And last but not least….

Lengua Carnitas

Now this recipe… this one… was a huge hit!  We  really liked it.  It was so flavorful and tender and scrumptious!  I only had one tongue and as I mentioned earlier it was from a small head, so small tongue!  It didn’t feed many, but we enjoyed what it made!

I’ll definitely be sure to have larger tongues next time I make it or just double it…. and there will certainly be a next time!

Even if it is a while before I have tongue on hand (not usually something I shop for on my weekly grocery list!) I’m certainly going to use this spice mix again!  It is a fantastic substitute for the taco seasoning packets that can be purchased at the grocery.  I usually just add a little of this and a little of that and it turns out ok, but never amazing.  This was amazing!

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This evening when we had our lettuce wrap tacos I knew we weren’t going to have enough tongue to go around and fill us up, so I also cooked some ground venison and added ½ the spices from the carnitas recipe and it was really fantastic.  The kids really enjoyed the meat and that isn’t always the response!  I think this will be a new seasoning favorite!

A few of the other recipes that I’m dying to try but haven’t had a chance yet include Licorice Sausage, Porktastic Frittata, Bacon Chicken, Spaghetti alla Carbonara, and Fried Yuca.  Is your mouth watering yet?  I know mine is!  And on top of this.. all the recipes are Paleo!  Allergy friendly and good wholesome ingredients!  Eat up y’all!

The book comes out on July 2nd and will be [amazon_link id=”1936608235″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]available on Amazon[/amazon_link].  I highly recommend it! 😉  If you check out their blog at PaleoParents there is a plethora of other reviews that mention some of the other fantastic recipes that are included in [amazon_link id=”1936608235″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Beyond Bacon[/amazon_link].  I didn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg with the four recipes i did!

Let me know what sounds good to you, or if you’ve ever tried making or even tasting head cheese, scrapple, lengua carnitas or other such porktastic foods!  I’d love to hear!


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