Friday, April 29, 2016

Review: The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook

The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook – The Whole Pig & Nothing but the Pig BBQ Recipes is written by championship pitmaster Bill Gillespie. He started cooking competitive BBQ in 2005 and won the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue in 2011 and in 2014 he won the American Royal Invitational, probably the two most coveted titles in the world of competitive BBQ. Bill knows what he’s talking about and shares his hog knowledge with us in this book.

Bill Gillespie covers everything in this book. From the rooter to the tooter (ok, not quite but pretty close). The recipes are easy to read and follow. He covers appetizers, snacks, drinks (with bacon in them) main courses, whole hog, and dessert (with bacon). The book is worth it just for the section on whole hog.

First Thoughts

The book looks like a BBQ cookbook. From the font, to the sketch of a pig, to the color of the brown butcher paper color in the background. Bill starts the book off with a short biography so you know he’s an expert on talking about cooking pigs and then goes on to a section on different types of pigs and there uses. He also covers smokers, woods, charcoal and cooking temperatures – each is important for understanding the recipes to follow.

Pursuing the Book 

Looking over the table of contents, you get a good idea that the book is about pork. Just pork. Used in all kinds of ways.

  • The Pig, the Whole Pig and Nothing but the Pig 
  • The Belly of the Beast 
  • Sausage, Sausage and more Sausage 
  • Ribs, Chops and Loins 
  • Butts, Shoulders and Hams 
  • Going Whole Hog 
  • Sauces and Rubs 
Each section focuses on a specific part of the hog and how it can be used in various recipes. The sausage chapter teaches you how to make the sausage and then gives you other recipes where you can use the sausage.

The Recipes 

 The recipes are easy to follow. The ingredients are listed on the left and then the instructions are on the right. The measurements and cooking temperatures are given in both US and European units. The art of barbecue is growing in Europe so it’s nice to see a book that our brethren across the pond can use with ease.

If there is a new concept presented, there are pictures to show you how to do it. For example, a couple recipes call for a bacon weave and Bill includes images to show you how to make one.

The bacon weave.
The Whole hog section, to me, makes this book worth it. Bill goes into detail on how to cook a whole hog. He tells you the tools you need to prepare it correctly, cook times depending on size, and a two-page picture spread on trimming and preparing the hog for the pit. I am ashamed to say I have never cooked a whole hog, but I now know I can do it because I have detailed instructions to.
Half of the whole hog trimming tutorial. 

Final Thoughts 

For the BBQ enthusiast, fanatic or even the casual weekend smoker this cookbook has recipes for us all. There is good advice on everything about the hog and everything about the cookers and fuels. The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook – The Whole Pig & Nothing but the Pig BBQ can help old and new BBQ competitors up their game and the backyard cookers impress their friends. You can make Homemade Maple-bacon butter, a bacon weave breakfast burrito, pulled pork egg rolls or a whole hog. It’s all in the book.

The one problem I have with the book is the font size. It is a little hard to read (I may be getting old) while it sits on the counter and you’re trying to prepare the recipes. Other than that the pictures are mouthwatering, the layout is easy to navigate and the recipes are easy to understand. I give The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook – The Whole Pig & Nothing but the Pig BBQ a full rack of ribs on the Gibbs Ribs scale*.

*When I do reviews, books or otherwise, I rate the items with ribs (they are my favorite BBQ dish). A full rack is great and a single rib is poor. I will tend to stick to a full rack, half rack or one rib.

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