The Southern Foodie's Guide To The Pig by Chris Chamberlain ~ A Culinary Book Review

Chris Chamberlain
Cooking / Southern

How To Select, Prepare, Cook, And Enjoy 
Everything But The Oink

Chris Chamberlain, author of the popular The Southern Foodie Cookbook, takes you back to the South for a tour of the restaurants that make the best pig dishes.

When Ben Franklin lobbied his fellow founding fathers to consider the wild turkey as our young country’s national symbol, perhaps he should have considered the pig. Arguably the most democratic of all proteins, pork is welcome across the country from a gourmet pork belly dish on the menu of the toniest Charleston bistro to a whole hog roasting in a hole dug in the sand of a beach in LA (Lower Alabama).

Pork is also uniquely democratic in that it is a meat that is welcome at every meal. The old saw goes that when considering a breakfast of bacon and eggs, "the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed." While you may occasionally see a breakfast steak on the menu, the pig is the star of the morning meal. A thick-sliced smoked bologna purchased from a gas station deli in rural Tennessee is the perfect working man’s lunch, unless you consider the ultimate demonstration of the nose-to-tail versatility of the pig, a snoot sandwich made from a boiled hog’s nose slapped between two slices of white bread. Feel free not to consider that for too long…

The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig takes you on several journeys. An anatomic survey of the pig introduces readers to all the parts of this versatile animal and teaches procedures and recipes to prepare all sorts of wonderful dishes. A geographic tour of the Southern states will showcase restaurants in the region that have particular talents when it comes to pork. The chefs and pitmasters have shared some of their most sacred secrets, the actual recipes for the best pork, barbecue and bacon dishes that emerge from their kitchens. Finally, since man cannot live by pig alone (unfortunately), there is also a selection of recipes that are great accompaniments to the pork dishes contributed by the fifty Southern restaurants that are featured.

So feel free to keep a copy of this book in your glovebox to help you find the best place for an elegant meal in Atlanta or that hidden gem of a barbecue joint in Kentucky. Or get this book a little dirty in the kitchen as you take your own tour of the South’s best pork dishes while you plan your meals for the week. Either way you use it, it’s a journey well worth taking.

My Thoughts

There is just so much to salivate over in this book. The pictures, the descriptions, the recipes, every inch is just covered in some sort of deliciousness. In fact the only thing that could possibly make the book better would be to insert some scratch and sniff spots . . . but of course that would just be over the top!

I really like the layout of the book. The first section is educational. If you are a hard-core foodie or just an average joe, this section is for you. The explanations that are included on the different cuts of meat and the different types of seasoning methods are interesting and do not talk down to those of us that are not as well versed in the matters.

The second section is going to make you want to take the ultimate foodie field trip. This section includes some of the outstanding restaurants in the South that just happen to feature some out-of-this-world pork dishes. The details make you feel like you are getting the inside scoop into each restaurant. At the bottom of each page is a list of that particular restaurant's specialties, insider tips to help you make your choices, and also directions to the featured recipe from this establishment in section three of the book.

Chris Chamberlain saved the best for last in this book . . . the recipes! We've had the book for a couple of weeks and have tried several of the offerings. Granted my attempts are nowhere near as pretty as the pictures, but the results are oh so tasty! Just go ahead and add this to your Christmas list to give and to get. It will be perfect for all your favorite foodies. 

Connect With The Author

Chris Chamberlain is a food and drink writer based in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has lived his entire life except for four years in California where he studied liberal arts at Stanford University and learned how to manipulate chopsticks. He is a regular writer for the Nashville Scene and their "Bites" food blog. He has also contributed to the Nashville City Paper, Nashville Lifestyles magazine, 2001 Edgehill and at Follow his Facebook page The Southern Foodie.

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