pork - intro

"Pork. The Other White Meat."  That was the advertisement slogan in the late 1980s.

But pork is beyond a doubt red meat, as I demonstrate in several recipes. Only when it is overcooked does the meat blanch, which really isn't that different from beef or lamb turning grey when overcooked. 

Pork has a flavor that is quite different from beef, and it has the imo annoying habit of overcooking real easy.

Because of parasite concerns, the USDA recommendation for pork meat is to fully cook it to 165 ºF, the same temperature as well done (read: shoe leather) beef; and with the same outcome for pork. For the same reason raw pork dishes are shunned even more in the US than raw beef dishes.

Problem is that these concerns were justified in the 1950s but have since become mostly unfounded. Trichinella infection has become quite rare in US and Canada raised pork. Even so, freezing the meat to 5 ºF for 3 weeks kills the parasite. Problem solved. A word of warning for hunters: Trichinella is a lot more common in game animals, and those varieties may be freeze-resistant.

The best way to avoid bacterial infections is –like with beef - to cut and grind your own meat from large roasts. Roasts and steaks should be washed and seared to kill off any surface bacteria, but other than that there is no real reason to overcook the meat.

Low-temperature cooking between 136 and 140 º pasteurizes meat within 15 minutes. Like with beef, rare or medium pork tastes so much better than overcooked shoe-leather. See Red-Roasted Pork.

Sous-vide cooking is another method with guaranteed pasteurization without overcooking the meat.

With proper precautions taken during the production process, even ground pork can be eaten raw. Mett, a raw ground pork preparation, is quite common in parts of Europe, and is often served right next to the Filet Américain.

Besides the roasts, chops, stews and the ‘nasty’ bits, pork also has an extensive choice of cured meats. Ham and bacon are a lot more popular than corned beef, which is why they rate a separate listing here.

Boiling pork is fairly common in the Asian kitchen. similar to steaming ribs or duck before grilling or roasting them.


Same-level links

recipe page links

Chapter 2.4. pork

  1. pork - intro
  2. dry-cooked
  3. moist-cooked
  4. Offal
  5. cured pork