Friday, June 14, 2013

Beyond Bacon Review

Get ready, this is going to be a long one, because I just have a LOT to tell you. 

So do you remember a while back when I blogged a recipe for Salted Almond Freezer Fudge? That little quick recipe was inspired by a preview I saw of the Paleo Parent’s new upcoming book, Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog. In that blog post, I said, “I want that book like a fat kid wants cake… and I used to be a fat kid, and I always want cake.” Guess what? Stacy read my post, and contacted me and asked me if I would like to review their book on my blog! I couldn’t believe it!
So I waited….and waited… and waited….and then one rainy day my Instagram feed started being flooded with other bloggers pictures of their review copies of Beyond Bacon. For a tiny second, I thought just maybe that other, more important bloggers had been chosen to review it instead of me (and let’s be honest, I wouldn’t blame them) but THEN MY DOORBELL RANG! My fiancé answered to the door, and tried to fool me into thinking that it was a package for him…. But lo and behold, the Paleo Parents SENT ME A COPY! As Stacy would say, “PRAISE THE LARD!” 

My love affair with pork started when I was living in Columbia, SC. Me and my fiancé had just started eating Paleo, and we also started going to our local farmer’s market and buying pastured pork from the lovely people at Caw Caw Creek. All I knew was that Mark Sisson told me that it was not only ok for me to eat pastured pork, and lard rendered from their fat,but it was GOOD FOR ME, and so being the good southern girl that I am, I just dove right in. We have bought an obscene amount of pork from these people since then.  So much so, that one time we were in line at their booth, and the person in front of us asked the farmer, “What do you recommend?” He said, “You should ask them.” (He was pointing to us!) The farmer and his crew quickly found out that we weren’t afraid to try anything they suggested. We had conversed about how I saved the bones to make stock, and he then proceeded to GIVE us some trotters (pig’s feet!) and told us to add them to our stock pot to make our broth rich and full of collagen. We have been buying them ever since.  

Since Stacy and Matt so graciously sent me a copy of their book, I have been trying to give it the best review I could. In anticipation of the book’s arrival, I stocked my freezer with pork and fatback so that I could be ready to hit the ground running! The first recipes I made were the Bacon Pumpkin Pancakes and Maple Sage Breakfast Sausage. I made them for dinner (brinner! You know, breakfast for dinner?) and even though the recipe says it serves 4-6, me and my fiancé stuffed ourselves. After we get married, we really need to start having kids soon so we stop devouring everything! We did have a LITTLE leftover for breakfast the next morning, and decided to make our own breakfast sandwiches by adding a scrambled egg. Ian’s exact words were, “Suck on that mcgriddle!” (not a great pic, but I was more interested in stuffing my face than food styling!)

What caught my eye about the recipe for the pancakes, was that there was a way to make the recipe nut free by using sunbutter (sunflower seed butter). I was excited to use that variation because I have been trying to cut back on almonds.  (There is nothing wrong with almonds, I just tend to overdo it, and I think too many almonds aggravates my gut) The pancake recipe is actually on their blog, so go check it out! It will tide you over until the whole book is available.While the pancakes were delicious, and a special treat, I know I will make the Maple Sage Breakfast Sausage over and over. I don’t have a sausage stuffer (YET- it's going on the registry for our wedding), so I just made them into patties. They were more flavorful than any store-bought sausage, and really easy to make.  I will definitely make them for company and holiday breakfasts!

The next night, I decided to make the Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and the Mashed Cauliflower with Lard. They have a recipe for how to make your own Kielbasa in the book, but I had actually just bought some from Caw Caw Creek last Saturday, and I had no idea what to do with them. This recipe was SO VERY EASY, and took ten minutes to prep and throw in the pot. I also made the Mashed Cauliflower from the “Veggies and Sides” section of the book, as was suggested to go along with the Kielbasa. As I noted on instagram, I have NEVER successfully made a mashed cauliflower recipe that I enjoyed as much, or more than mashed potatoes. This recipe was SINFULLY good. Ian licked his plate clean, and then proceeded to lick the food processor clean as well, despite my warnings that the blade from my food processor is wicked sharp. His response was, “Don’t care. You should have made more cauliflower.” 

The other bonus for the mashed cauliflower recipe is that it didn’t contain any dairy or butter at all. Instead of butter, the recipe adds lard to make this side creamy and lusciously porky. I always love to find paleo recipes that are truly dairy free, because I can serve them to my brother, Chandler, who is completely allergic to milk (like, trip to the hospital allergic, NOT just lactose intolerant). Chandler isn’t paleo yet, but I really think that once he is out of college and settled down, he might come over to the dark side…. Especially if I serve him mashed cauliflower with lard! 

Which brings me to the next recipe I reviewed -  Lard. I already had some in my fridge, but I used the last of it to make that awesome Mashed Cauliflower, so I took a slab of uncured fresh fatback from my freezer, and stuck it in the fridge so I could render some the next morning. I have rendered lard many times before, but Matt and Stacy’s method is way superior to mine, and I will be using it from now on. My lard has never been this snowy white! 

To get the full scoop on how to render your own luscious lard, go pre-order their book! Did I mention that if you pre-order it, you will be guaranteed the lowest price? Also, I heard that their first book, Eat Like a Dinosaur, sold out the first day it was released, so if you want your copy, make sure you go pre-order it! 

Why is their method of rendering lard superior to mine? Well, all I am going to say is that it leaves you with the opportunity to make Lardons, another awesome recipe from their book. Per the suggestion in the book, we used our fresh, crispy bits of fat to top a salad for lunch! Better than bacon bits by far!

Of course, with my freshly rendered lard calling my name, I had to make to make their Caramel Praline Lard Fudge, which, by the way is also dairy free. Did I mention everything in the book is dairy free? How awesome! I didn’t think it was possible to make fudge without cream or butter! Again, another incredibly sinful and delicious recipe from the King and Queen of all things pork. After you have pre-ordered the book, and it arrives, drive recklessly to the store to get the ingredients for this recipe. Ok, don't do that, just drive safely obeying all the traffic laws, but don't dawdle! It’s been a long time since I’ve had fudge, and it was well worth the wait. 

I recently made stock from Caw Caw Creek trotters, and Ian has been pestering me to use it, so I made the Egg Drop Soup recipe for breakfast. Also delicious, super easy, and sure to be a regular staple in our house, especially when I start popping out paleo babies. The Paleo Parents say that this is one of their kids’ favorite recipes. 

So, is it clear to you by now that this is my new favorite cookbook? Let me just say that I have a LOT of cookbooks, especially for a gal under 30 with a limited income. In addition to the wonderful recipes in this book, I really appreciate the sections in this book that go into detail about the art of raising pastured pork, and how it can benefit your health. Sections of this book truly read like a novel, and in fact, I spent an hour reading those sections aloud to my fiancé. The photographs and graphics are some of the most beautiful works of art I have ever seen in print. Matt and Stacy have truly honored the pig and their love and respect for the animal shows in every page. I respect this book as a classically trained chef and fellow lover of pastured pork. 

On another note, this book teaches you how to order a whole hog, something I have been longing to do for quite some time. Ian just got a new job in Virginia Beach, and so we will be moving. This new job comes with many opportunities for us both, but one thing we are excited about is the chance to buy a whole hog. It may even be our wedding present to each other. I look forward to cooking our way through this book and visiting the farms and butchers featured in Beyond Bacon as well. 

Ian also wants to thank the Paleo Parents for sending me this book.... he has been a happy boy the last few days! The hardest part of recipe testing was keeping him out of the dishes long enough for me to snap a picture! He also notes that if any other foodbloggers out there want his personal opinion of their book, and a thorough review, he would be happy to lend my services. How kind of him, right? Now if you will excuse me, I need to get back to my kitchen, my freezer full of pastured pork, and my new favorite book. 


  1. Katy, with this glowing and thorough review, I bet Victory Belt would send you any book you requested :)

    Thank you! <3 #praisethelard

    1. Really? Maybe I'll send them an email! I do love to be thorough!

  2. Sweet review! This is my first time visiting your blog. Wish I had the book right now! Thanks for the tease :)

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