Pork – the meat of all meats is amazingly diverse, can be used in many different dishes and can be combined with many different ingredients, to make a variety of delicious dishes. From the most elegant meals, to simple everyday dishes, pork is a perfect choice! The variety of pork cuts – from impressive crown roasts and stuffed roasts to basic pork chops and ribs – will suit any occasion. Although a variety of culinary techniques can be used when cooking pork, there is one key factor that always come into play when trying to cook your pork perfectly.
There is a lot of information out there, regarding proper cooking temperatures, times, methods and strategies all claiming to make the juiciest most tender cut of pork you will ever see, but I am here to tell you one trick that might just change your culinary life- using a good quality meat thermometer. It is very important to know that pork need not be overcooked. In fact, using a meat thermometer can mean the difference between a juicy crowd pleasing cut of pork and a dry and chewy cut that no one will want to eat.
In the past, it was recommended that pork be cooked “very well” to be safe. This, unfortunately, often resulted in dry, tough meat, and some people still associate pork with this negative experience. Fortunately, with improved food safety knowledge and better production methods in Canada, we now know pork can be cooked safely to (160°F/71°C) or less, which produces a juicy and tender product. When cooked to this temperature, pork may still have just a hint of pink in the middle, for instance inside a cooked roast or very thick chop. The exception is ground pork and sausage, which like all ground meats, should be cooked thoroughly.
A meat thermometer is not only important for food safety; it is also important for cooking pork to the perfect temperature. For more information regarding specific cuts and their cooking temperatures visit the How to… section on the Put Pork on Your Fork webpage.