What's for Dinner: The Whole Hog

Three reasons to pig out tonight

Not feeling inspired by your usual dishes? Here's what's for dinner.

Whole-animal cookery has gained a foothold in the culinary scene because it's sustainable and economical—not to mention the fact that "snout to tail" is too good a phrase to pass up. It's a great practice for restaurants, but chances are, you may not be able to buy a pig in the grocery store, let alone lift one. But with this pork-studded meal of bacon-wrapped dates, pork salad and bacon-baked apples, you can still have your own version of the whole-hog experience.

① Appetizer: Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Parmesan

Chef Suzanne Goin's version of Devils on Horseback is best summed up in her own two words: meat candy. It has just four ingredients, in perfect harmony: sweet dates, savory bacon, salty cheese and fresh parsley.

② Main Course: Thai Pork Salad with Fresh Herbs

Don't be fooled by the name salad. This dish is a substantial main course, thanks to a meaty, herbed-up ground pork topping. You could eat it the traditional way or go fork-free by wrapping it in the lettuce.

③ Dessert: Baked Apples with Oats, Bacon, Chocolate and Raisins

Bacon pulls double duty in these baked apples—not only are there crisp pieces of bacon, but there's also bacon fat mixed in, infusing flavor in the whole fruit as it bakes.