Cookbook cover for Pure Pork Awesomeness

PURE PORK AWESOMENESS: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World

Kevin Gillespie, David Joachim Angie Mosier

Andrews McMeel
March 2015

$29.99/trade paperback

ISBN: 9781449447076

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Chef Kevin Gillespie’s true passion lies in incorporating fresh, organic ingredients into all of his dishes. The Georgia native worked in top restaurants in Atlanta and Oregon before opening his first restaurant, Gunshow, in May 2013. Gillespie was one of three final chef-testants on Bravo TV’s season 6 of Top Chef and was voted “fan favorite.” He has been named a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year award for three consecutive years, nominated for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef, and named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for his outstanding accomplishments in the restaurant industry. He was also named one of Mother Nature Network’s top 40 Chefs Under 40 for linking farms to forks. Gillespie’s debut cookbook, Fire in My Belly, was a James Beard Award finalist. His second restaurant, Terminus City, opening in 2015, combines Southern meat and three, family-style cooking, and BBQ.

David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than forty cookbooks. His first book with Kevin Gillespie, Fire in My Belly, was a James Beard Award finalist. He writes a column in Fine Cooking magazine called “The Science Of . . . ,” and he co-owns Chef Salt, a line of artisanal seasonings featuring unrefined salts from around the world.

“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. I love beef and lamb, but they don’t have the amazing versatility of pork.

It can be the star of the show or a background flavor. No matter where it shows up, pork is always welcome on my table.”

—from the introduction, “Kiss a Pig”

On Bravo TV’s season 6 of Top Chef, Kevin Gillespie became known for his love of pork. Now he shares his unbounded passion 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 Rib Eye of Pork to Vietnamese Spareribs with Chile and Lemongrass and Banoffee Trifle with Candied Bacon. Find out how to buy the best-tasting pork available, differences among heritage breeds of pigs, and what to do with new cuts like “rib eye of pork” . . . all from a witty, talented chef who knows the ins and outs of cooking pork at home.

Korean Barbecued Pork Bulgogi

Feeds 4


If you’ve never eaten at aKorean barbecue restaurant, you gotta go. It’s fun. You grill your own strips of marinated meat, then add whatever spicy, sharp, and crunchy accompaniments you like. The requisite spread usually includes kimchi, pickles, chiles, and lettuce leaves to wrap it all up. Beef is most common but there are pork versions too, which I like better. To simplify the dish, I pan-sear thin slices of pork shoulder and turn the accompaniments into a sort of slaw that you wrap up in the lettuce. You could brush a little hoisin in there before you roll it up, or squirt on some sriracha. Use whatever condiments you have or none.

1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Korean red chili powder(or Espelette pepper)
1 teaspoon mashed garlic
12 ounces paper-thin sliced boneless pork shoulder
1/4 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated, about 2 teaspoons
2 limes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek, or more as desired
1 carrot
1/4 small head cabbage, finely shredded, about 2 cups
4 scallions, root end trimmed, thinly sliced on the bias
8 butter or Bibb lettuce leaves, for serving

In a gallon-size zip-top bag, combine the soy, sugar, sesame oil, chili powder, and garlic and smush to combine. Add the meat and smush around so all pieces are well coated. Squeeze out the air, zip the top shut, and marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature. The meat is so thin and the marinade so strong that a quick marinade is all this needs.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, chili sauce, ginger, 1 tablespoon lime juice, the salt, and the sambal oelek. Taste and add more sambal oelek if you like it spicy.

Grate the carrot on the largest hole of the box grater; you’ll get about 1 cup. Squeeze dry in a paper towel, then toss the carrot, cabbage, and half the scallions with the dressing to combine.

Heat a grill pan over high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade and discard the marinade. Working in batches, grill the meat in a single layer for 30 seconds, then flip and grill for another 30 seconds; it will shrink and get some good color and grill marks. The meat is so thin that it should cook through in this short amount of time. Transfer the meat to a plate and stack. Slice the meat crosswise into 1-inch slices.

Layer the meat and slaw on the lettuce leaves and garnish with the remaining scallions.

Good to Know: Look for thinly sliced pork shoulder at Korean markets. It’s pretty common. Or just ask your butcher to thinly slice some boneless pork shoulder for you. Call ahead, because they usually freeze the meat for a little while to make it easier to slice paper-thin. You could also do the same thing at home.

Candied Bacon

Makes 1 Pound; About 16 Slices


I was out of town having breakfast at a diner one day, and along with the scrambled eggs and hash browns on the menu, I saw candied bacon. Bring it on! I’d been playing with different ways of candying bacon—like coating the bacon in liquid sugar—but it never came out crisp enough. When the candied bacon came to the table, it was thick cut with a gorgeous sheen and tasted nice and crispy. “How do you make this?” I asked the waitress. She said they just sprinkle brown sugar on it and bake it. Duh—sometimes chefs overthink things. This is one of the simplest preparations in the world to make. Definitely give it a try. I also use this as a dessert component in Banoffee Trifle with Candied Bacon and Bacon-Molasses Chipwiches.

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound Belly Bacon, sliced and chilled, or store-bought bacon (see Good to Know)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Combine the brown sugar and salt and place in a pile on another baking sheet. Separate the bacon into single slices and, one by one, lay the bacon in the sugar mixture and press to crust it on both sides, patting so the sugar adheres. You should have a fairly thick layer of brown sugar on both sides of the bacon. Spread in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle any remaining sugar over the bacon. Bake until the sugar melts, bubbles, and turns a deep brick red color, 18 to 20 minutes; the bacon will start to curl. If using thick-sliced bacon, after 18 minutes increase the oven temperature to 400°F and bake until crispy and deep brick red in color, another 10 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer to a baking sheet lined with nonstick foil or a silicone mat. Serve immediately or let cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Good to Know: If you replace the Belly Bacon with store-bought bacon, buy a thick-cut dry-cured bacon smoked with real hickory wood.

During recipe testing, Gena Berry went one step further with this candied bacon and turned it into Crack Bacon, a wicked addictive snack. To make it, just add 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons Espelette pepper, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper along with the sugar and salt in the recipe. It tastes best baked and served immediately. But you can get a jump on prep by mixing up the spice mixture ahead of time and spreading it on the prepared baking sheets. Then just coat the bacon in the seasoning, bake, and serve.

Recipes from Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World by Kevin Gillespie with David Joachim, Andrews McMeel Publishing

Contact: Andrea B. Shores