Sunday, March 29, 2015

Review: Pure Pork Awesomeness by Kevin Gillespie & David Joachim!

Title: Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World
Author: Kevin Gillespie & David Joachim
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: March 31st 2015
Source: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Book Description via Goodreads:

Highly respected Atlanta chef and season six Top Chef Fan Favorite Kevin Gillespie shares his unbounded passion for pork in 100 unique recipes with global flavors. Everything you need to know about selecting, cooking, and enoying pork is included within.

"Like Bubba Gump and his shrimp, I have a million ways to cook pork because I love it so much. If I had only one animal to eat forevermore, I would eat pigs. You could have a pork chop one day, pulled pork another, and cured bacon the next day, and they'd all taste completely different. You can't do that with chicken. Chicken tastes like chicken no matter what part of the animal you eat. And I love beef and lamb, but they don't have the amazing versatility of pork. Pork can be the star of the show or a background flavor. But no matter where it shows up, pork is always welcome on my table."
---from the introduction, Kiss a Pig

On Bravo TV's season six of Top Chef, Kevin Gillespie became known for his love of pork. He literally wears it on his sleeve with his forearm tatoo. His first book, Fire in My Belly, a James Beard Award finalist, included his famous Bacon Jam. Now he shares his passion and love of pork in a book devoted entirely to the subject. Pure Pork Awesomeness celebrates pork's delicious versatility with more than 100 easy-to-follow recipes. Dig into everything from Bacon Popcorn and Bourbon Street Pork Chops to Korean Barbecued Pork Bulgogi, Vietnamese Spareribs with Chile and Lemongrass, and Banoffee Trifle with Candied Bacon. Organized like the pig itself, recipes use every cut of pork from shoulder and tenderloin to pork belly and ham. Find out how to buy the best-tasting pork available, differences among heritage breeds of pigs, and what to do with new cuts like "ribeye of pork". . . all from a witty, talented chef who knows the ins and outs of cooking pork at home.



This cover drew me in from the title alone: Pure Pork Awesomeness. I love cooking with pork. Whether it's bacon, ham, chops, smoked, grilled, or fried, I have to agree with Gillespie: it's pretty awesome. This book pays homage to the wonderful animal that is the pig with 100 recipes that all incorporate pork in some form or another.

This book is divided by cut or style of meat, making it really easy to navigate if you already have pork to use in your fridge and you're looking for something delicious to do with it. The pictures that are included in this cookbook are amazing looking, but I wish there had been more of them. This book includes a lot of tips on how to best make and use the ingredients listed, and even includes recipes for basic starting items like stocks and rubs. There's also information about each cut of meat, and each recipe is paired with an anecdote from the chef about why the recipe is included in the book.

The tagline for this book says that this book has recipes from "around the world", and I was honestly surprised on how well this book delivered on that concept. There are so many different cultures and cooking styles represented here. Off the top of my head, just to name a few, are German, Chinese, Mexican, Vietnamese, Korean, and American. There's a diverse mix of recipes here, so there's sure to be something for everyone (vegetarians obviously excluded).

Some of the dishes that I am most looking forward to trying (sampled from a long, long list of awesome sounding recipes) include: Lemon-Ricotta Tortellini in Ham Broth, Grilled Pork Belly with Pickled Apples and Smoked Peanut Butter, and Pork Minute Steaks with Potato Pancakes and Pumpkin Butter. On a personal note, I really appreciated that Sheboygan brats were referenced in this book. My girlfriend lives there and I spend a lot of time there, and I cannot stress enough how much everyone should just put them in their face, all the time.

In short, I think this book is a must have for anyone who loves pork as an ingredient. There are recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert that all incorporate this lovely meat candy into it in some fashion. It's a book that I'll certainly be getting for my kitchen.

Thanks so much to Andrews McMeel Publishing who provided me with a copy via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.


  1. We all know I love me some pork, and there's no doubt in my mind that I'll be wanting this book for myself. Pork is an awesome meat, and I love it in all it's cuts.