When it comes to getting comfortable in your home kitchen, there's nothing better than serving a perfectly cooked piece of pork. Whether or not you have attempted this yet, the task of finding the perfect temperature and time to cook meat can seem overwhelming, especially for newer chefs. Luckily, it's not as complicated as you might first think.
Don't let your uncertainty hold you back from experiencing the deliciousness that is a pork loin, pulled pork or a pork chop with your meal. Read on and get ready to wow any future dinner guests with a gorgeous dinner, made all the better with that juicy piece of protein.
At what temperature is pork done?
One of the most important things to note when cooking meat is temperature. Before serving any kind of meat, you should make sure that the internal temperature meets the safety standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Pork Board. This may sound a little daunting initially, but cooking pork safely is as simple as obtaining a thermometer. The temperature is applicable to every pork cut including:
- Pork butt
- Pork shoulder
- Pork ribs
- Ground pork
- Loin chops
Keep in mind that most fresh pork products are leaner than other types of meat you might be familiar with. Because of this, the USDA suggests cooking it to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the same temperature for every variation of pork you might choose from pork tenderloin to shoulder. However, once your meat has hit this mark, you're not too far off from overcooking the product. As an at-home chef, that means you'll need to keep a close eye on the process to create a perfectly cooked piece of pork.
How to know when your pork is done
Okay, so now you know the ideal temperature to hit in order to make your pork safe to eat. But how do you know when the meat is ready to be taken off the heat and ready to be served? Your best friend in this case will be a food thermometer, a tool that will determine the internal temperature of your piece of meat. Here are simple directions for you to use a meat thermometer:
- Test: You'll want to make sure that your thermometer is accurate and reliable. You can do this by putting it in some cold water and waiting for the dial to drop.
- Place: Ensure that you put the thermometer in the pork roast in the right place. Place the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to receive an accurate reading. Be sure to do your best to avoid fat or bone.
- Read: Now, your thermometer should be giving you a temperature. It's best to begin testing your meat early so you don't burn or overcook the pork.
Once the meat has been cooked until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit, you're free to adjust the cooking time depending on your preference. Do you prefer a little more juiciness? You might want to pull it from the heat soon after. On the other hand, there are some people who love a well-done piece of meat. In that case, cooking it a little longer would be the best move.
Is it okay for pork to be pink?
Keep in mind that, when it comes to pork, a little bit of pink color is normal for a fully cooked piece of meat. You can even serve up some medium rare pork to those who prefer to eat it that way. If you're still unsure, just grab your handy-dandy meat thermometer and check according to these guidelines (in Fahrenheit):
- Medium-rare: 145 to 150 degrees
- Medium: 150 to 155 degrees
- Medium-well: 155 to 160 degrees
- Well: 160 degrees
Another good tip is to keep an eye on the juices of the meat as you're preparing it. If the liquid is clear, the meat is probably fully cooked. A little pinkness to the pork will leave the meat juicy and tender, as long as it has hit that ideal 145 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you are uncomfortable with this color, you can cook it for a few minutes longer to eliminate the shade.
Upgrade your mealtime with pork from Hatfield®
Now you're ready to get creative and find a new pork recipe to test out at your next dinner party. Nothing will guide you in the right direction like using top-tier pork products, like the ones you can find from Hatfield®.
We're dedicated to providing you with the best pork possible. Not only that but when you buy from Hatfield®, you can rest easy knowing that we work every day to do business the right way. From the treatment of the animals and farmers to the environment, our team pledges to take great care from the beginning to the end of the process.