As Joel Salatin eloquently stated in the foreword to Beyond Bacon by Matthew McCarry and Stacy Toth, “a pig is more than bacon.” While bacon is typically considered to be the gateway meat that is able to convert even the staunchest vegetarian into an omnivore, there is so much more nutrition and culinary delight to be gained from the rest of the animal.
I believe pork is underrated in the Paleo world, with most consuming bacon as a garnish or side dish without a second thought to the rest of the animal. This is why I was excited to receive my copy of Beyond Bacon – I love cooking with pastured pork, lard, ribs, jowls, and even the trotters.
Beyond Bacon is not only a beautifully designed cookbook with loads of delicious recipes such as Asian Short Ribs, Apple and Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops, and even desserts like Yellow Lard Cake and Apple Fritters, but it also contains an incredibly informative foreword explaining how to find affordable pastured pork, the history of pig cultivation, the nutritional science of pork, and the best tools to use in the kitchen when cooking with the whole hog. You’ll even learn how to create your own pork stock and render your own lard.
McCarry and Toth also share their family’s story, which was first described on their website, Paleo Parents. They explain how eating a Paleo lifestyle has helped their family lose weight, gain energy, and eliminate countless health problems that were significantly reducing their overall quality of life for many years. Further, they share the overall goal of Beyond Bacon: to remove readers’ fear of organ meats, bone broth, and healthy fats, and to provide delicious ways of incorporating nourishing pastured pork products into the diet. They even explain how followers of the Paleo, Primal, and Weston A. Price-approved diets can rest assured that eating pork will not negatively affect their health, and can even improve it.
The photography is stunning, and showcases the local farms that McCarry and Toth source their pastured pork products from. They explain the importance of finding a reputable source of pastured pork, describing the environmental, health, and even flavor benefits of choosing properly-raised hogs over their CAFO counterparts. Not to mention, it’s easy to see how happy these pigs are when flipping through this book – there are even photos where you’d swear the pig was smiling! While some may take this as an excuse not to eat pork, I see these images as confirming my dedication to finding properly-raised animals for moral, environmental, and personal health reasons.
For more information and even some recipe samples from Beyond Bacon, you can check out Stacy and Matt’s blog here, where they reveal a few of their recipes and special features, and share other reviews of the cookbook. If you’re ready to buy the book, you can click here to order it from Amazon. You won’t be disappointed in this remarkable addition to your Paleo bookshelf, and you just might discover a newfound love for headcheese, chitterlings, and organ-rich scrapple! This truly is a cookbook that respects the whole hog.