There is a lot of confusion around cooking temperatures and pork. I am going to try and simplify this for everyone. I hope this clears up any misconceptions as this is a common question I get- Why can some cuts of pork be cooked for such a short amount of time, while others can be cooked all day?
Some cuts of pork taste better cooked for a shorter amount of time, while others taste better cooked low and slow.
Premium cuts, such as tenderloin and loin cuts should be cooked fairly quickly and left with a little bit of pink in the center. To get this light pink colour in the center of your cut, remove your cut from the oven once it has reached an internal temperature of 150˚F (66˚C). Take it out of the oven, cover in tin foil and let it rest for at least three minutes. This resting period allows the juices from the tenderloin to redistribute. The cut will be done once it reaches a final internal temperature of 160˚F (71˚C). For best results, use a meat thermometer, this will ensure a juicy and tender result for these cuts.
Economical cuts on the other hand, such as the shoulder, ribs, leg and belly need to be cooked longer- not for food safety reasons, but in order to break down the tough protein collagen that is in these cuts. Cook these cuts for longer and to a higher internal temperature for best results. Using lower heat for a longer time will ensure tender, juicy and fall apart meat. With these cuts do not worry if the final internal temperature is much higher than 160˚F (71˚C), the heat and time was needed to tenderize the pork.
If you need any more information regarding premium or economical cuts and how to cook them check out this great article from Canadian Living entitled, Butcher’s block: Cuts of pork.