Cooking & Nutrition

Pork cooking techniques

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service announced new cooking guidelines for pork in May 2011. Pork can now be safely cooked to medium rare at a final internal cooked temperature of 145 F, as measured by a food thermometer, followed by a three-minute rest time. Ground pork, like all ground meats, should still be cooked to 160 F.

There are two basic methods for cooking meats: dry heat and moist heat. Generally, dry-heat methods are best applied to naturally tender cuts of meat. Moist-heat methods tenderize less-tender cuts.

Dry-heat methods

  • Air frying for cuts like belly, chops, ribs, shoulder, and tenderloin.
  • Broiling for chops, tenderloin medallions, ham slices, bacon, and ground pork patties.
  • Grilling for both small cuts cooked over direct heat and large pork cuts cooked with indirect heat.
  • Instant Pot for chops, ribs, roast, or tenderloin — done in an hour or less!
  • Marinating to add flavor and to tenderize the pork — especially before grilling!
  • Roasting for large pork cuts — loin roasts, shoulder roasts, ham, and leg roasts.
  • Sautéing and stir-frying for small pork cuts such as chops, cutlets, and strips.
  • Slow cooking for low-prep meals that utilize chops, ground pork, ham, ribs, roast, etc. 
  • Smoking to give extra flavor to popular cuts like shoulder, loin, chops, belly, and ribs.

Moist-heat methods

  • Sous vide for perfectly tender pork time after time. 
  • Stewing for smaller pieces of less-tender cuts, such as shoulder cubes.

Pork today is very lean and should not be overcooked. Whenever possible, based on the cut, use a thermometer to test for doneness. Again, pork should be cooked to 145 F, with a three-minute rest time.

Pork nutrition

Pork is packed with protein and has many beneficial qualities that make it easy to incorporate into a healthy, balanced diet. Today’s pork has about 16% less fat and 27% less saturated fat as compared to 30 years ago. Worth noting: Both the tenderloin and sirloin roast meet the criteria for the American Heart Association Heart Checkmark!

Pork nutrition

Protein in pork