Saturday, October 22, 2011
I've been checking out The Whole Hog Cookbook: Chops, Loin, Shoulder, Bacon, and All that Good Stuff by Libbie Summers. Jessica from Rizzoli had emailed to ask if I'd be interested in a sample copy, and I know that a lot of my barbecue/grilling readers enjoy grilling and smoking pork.
The Whole Hog is NOT a grilling/barbecue cookbook. It's not about smoking whole hogs. I'd say to pick up Peace, Love & Barbecue if that is what you have in mind. This is a cookbook that teaches you how to cook all the parts of the hog or pig. So, let's say you've been wanting to make Chitterlings which are better known as chintlins around here. You won't be finding that recipe in many cookbooks, but here it is in The Whole Hog Cookbook:
Perhaps chitterlings are not up your alley. I can't say myself. I've not tried them, but I've not turned them down. With my mountain background, I'm not sure how I've missed them, but I have. Now I can make them with this recipe, but I'll have to think about that. I'm not so sure I can sell the boys on them, since they refused to eat pork butt when they were little. I got around that by calling pork butt shoulder instead of butt. Sometimes, it's all about the spin.
Now, this gyro recipe is a keeper. Before you get freaky about pork belly, do know that it's the bacon section of the pig - so more fat. Summers got this recipe from a guy in Greece, and that's where you get really great gyros. Most sold as such in the United States are not very good. I know, because I lived in Greece for a couple of years. These gyros aren't exactly like the ones in the neighborhood where I lived, but the gyros vary around the country in Greece. If you want authentic gyros, then here you go . . . and the tzatziki sauce recipe to boot.
These are a couple of the more unusual recipes in the cookbook. You get all the standards as well. And, some of them are designed for the grill or can be easily adapted. Try out the kebabs. Yum!
If you're not very familiar with pork, then you get a lot of basic information but not in a "talking down" kind of way. The cookbook is chock full of beautiful photos like the spread above which helps you understand the cuts and also means you know what you're looking for when you go to the grocery store or meat market.
For more complicated recipes or processes, there are additional photos which, again, make it easier to visualize what you need to do to make your pork happen. Making sausage, for instance, sounds pretty labor intensive (and does take work and effort), but you can see in the photos, that it's done in steps and is do-able.
The guys did want to know why the author is watering the pigs in her church clothes. Hum. Well, those are more like business casual. But WHITE! This is a cookbook, and quite a few of the photos are girly. That can be kind of cool I guess, but I would not suggest white clothing when in the pig pen (even if you are a fashionista). But, if you can put together a cookbook this good and with this many great recipes for pork, then I guess you can wear whatever you want.
All in all, I have to say this is an excellent cookbook for anyone who loves pork or wants to expand beyond pork chops and bacon. There are loads of ways to cook pig from one end to the other, so you're missing out if you only do pork a couple of ways. With The Whole Hog Cookbook, you're set. You could stay busy a long time mastering the art of cooking pork, and you can do it with The Whole Hog Cookbook.