All About Pork

star pooley

By
@starryrose

For juicy, tender and flavorful pork, it might be time to toss out Grandma’s advice. According to the new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines, pork chops, roasts and tenderloins can be safely cooked to medium rare at a final internal cooked temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit as measured by a food thermometer, followed by a three-minute rest time.


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Ingredients

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Directions Step-By-Step

1
The Cuts of Pork:

Pork Loin:

Description: The loin roast comes from the area of the pig between the shoulder and the beginning of the leg It is sold either bone-in or deboned. Loin roast can be rolled and tied with string. Loin roasts with a bone tend to be juicier and more flavorful, but the bone can make carving a bit tricky.

Loin roast is sometimes confused with tenderloin. Despite the name similarity, they are not one in the same. A loin roast is typically sold in pieces weighing between 2 to 4 pounds (the tenderloin is a smaller, long cut that usually weighs about a pound). The term roast simply refers to a large cut of pork.

Loin roasts are delicious when brined or rubbed with a spice mixture and barbecued over indirect heat. Pork loin roasts should not be braised or stewed as they have a tendency to lose tenderness and fall apart when cooked using moist heat.

Butcher Tips:

•Cutting pork across the grain will produce slices with shorter fibers, resulting in more tender pieces.
•For a crisp surface on your roast, be sure the oven is fully preheated before place the roast in it and do not cover the meat while roasting.
2
Pork Rib Roast/Rack of Pork
Description: Pork rib roast is also referred to as rack of pork (it also may be labeled center-cut pork loin). The cut originates in the rib area of the loin, so it contains a bit more fat which makes it flavorful.

The pork rib roast/rack of pork is the pork equivalent of a standing beef rib roast or a rack of lamb. For reference, a pork rib roast/rack of pork is a simpler version of a pork crown roast, which is a pork rib roast/rack of pork turned into a circle and tied.

This cut makes a show-stopping centerpiece for an elegant dinner. Pork rib roast is not always available in the supermarket meatcase, but you can easily order it ahead of time. Before roasting or barbecuing the pork rib roast, it should be “Frenched.” Simply cut the meat away from the end of each rib, so that part of each bone is exposed. A butcher also can do this for you.

Butcher Tips:

•Do not use sharp utensils that may pierce the meat when trying to turn it because piercing allows valuable juices to escape. Use other utensils, such as wooden spoons and spatulas for turning the meat.
•For a crisp surface on your roast, be sure the oven is fully preheated before place the roast in it and do not cover the meat while roasting.
3
Back Ribs:

Description: Back ribs originate from the blade and center section of the pork loin, which is known for the “finger meat” between the bones. Back ribs also are referred to as “baby” back ribs because they are smaller than spareribs. A rack typically weighs between 1 ½ and 1 ¾ pounds.

Ribs are commonly prepared with either “wet” or “dry.” Ribs rubbed with a mixture of herbs and spices are called dry ribs. Such rubs can be applied just before barbecuing. Ribs basted with sauces during the barbecuing process are called wet ribs. For best results, brush ribs generously during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Butcher Tips:

--Do not use a fork to turn the pork cuts as they cook. The piercing causes juices to escape. Use tongs to turn.
--When grilling, aromatic woods such as hickory, mesquite, apple, or cherry can be added to the preheated coals to give the meat a distinctive flavor.
4
Country-Style Ribs:

Description: Country-style ribs are cut from the sirloin or rib end of the pork loin. The meatiest variety of ribs, country-style ribs are sold either as “slabs” or in individual servings. These pork ribs are perfect for those who want to use a knife and fork.

Ribs are commonly prepared with either “wet” or “dry.” Ribs rubbed with a mixture of herbs and spices are called dry ribs. Such rubs can be applied just before barbecuing. Ribs basted with sauces during the barbecuing process are called wet ribs. For best results, brush ribs generously during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Butcher Tips:

--Do not use a fork to turn the pork cuts as they cook. The piercing causes juices to escape. Use tongs to turn.
5
Cutlet:

Description: A cutlet is a thin, tender cut of pork that is often taken from the sirloin end of the loin after the tenderloin and bones have been removed.

Occasionally cutlets also may come from the leg or from a tenderloin that has been sliced crosswise and flattened. Supermarkets also may label thin slices of cutlet as scaloppini.

Traditional cutlets are great for quick meals and casual dining. They may be prepared to stand alone as a dinner entrée or may be used in sandwiches. Cutlets are best when quickly cooked, either by sautéing or grilling.

Butcher Tips:

--When browning pork, drying the cut off with a paper towel before adding to the heat source will result in more even browning.
--Use tongs or a spatula instead of a fork when placing pieces in the pan or when turning. Piercing meat with a fork allows juices to escape.
6
Crown Roast:

Description: Crown roast is an attractive special-occasion entrée created using a pork rib roast/rack of pork. The easy-to-prepare crown roast is formed from a pork rib roast/roack of pork that is tied into a circle, ribs up.

Before roasting or barbecuing the crown roast should be “Frenched.” Simply cut the meat away from the end of each rib, so that part of each bone is exposed. A butcher also can tie and French the crown roast for you.

After the crown roast is cooked, the tips of the bones are often decorated with paper frills. The roast's hollow center section is often filled with mixed vegetables or other stuffing.

Butcher Tips:

--After cooking remove the roast and allow it to rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.
--Generally a pork crown is ordered ahead of time from a local butcher shop, or gourmet market.
7
Chop:

Description: Pork chops are the most popular cut from the pork loin, which is the strip of meat that runs from the pig’s hip to shoulder. Depending on where they originate, pork chops can be found under a variety of names, including loin, rib, sirloin, top loin and blade chops.

Loin chops are from the lower back (just behind the rib chop) and have a characteristic T-bone shape. These chops include a lot of meat as well as a bit of tenderloin meat. Rib chops originate in the center of the loin in the rib area and include some back and rib bone. Sirloin chops come from the area around the hip and often include part of the hip bone. Top loin chops (some times called Center Cut Chops) are boneless and located above the loin chops, toward the head. The 1 1/4 inch-thick top loin chop is also called an “America’s Cut.” Blade chops are cut from the beginning of the loin in the shoulder area. They may contain some blade bone as well as back-rib bone. Blade chops are usually thicker and more marbled. They often are butterflied and sold as pork loin country-style ribs.

It’s important to note that all pork chops cook the same. The length of cooking primarily depends on the thickness of the chop. Thickness can vary from ½ to 2 inches. Whether you choose chops boneless for convenience or chops with the bone attached for their attractive appearance, the cooking time is the same. Pork chops are likely the least intimidating of all pork cuts because they are so easy to prepare.

Butcher Tips:

--•Choose meat that's pale pink with a small amount of marbling and white (not yellow) fat.
--Choose wrapped packages without any tears, holes or leaks. There should be little or no liquid in the bottom of the tray.
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Tenderloin:

Description: The tenderloin comes from the full pork loin. As the name indicates, the tenderloin is one of the most tender cuts of pork. Typically, pork tenderloin weighs between ¾ and 1 ½ pounds.

Pork tenderloin makes an elegant entrée for a small dinner party but also can be roasted or grilled whole for quick weeknight dinner. When sliced crosswise (like a loaf of French bread), the resulting medallions also may be sautéed.

Pork tenderloin has a mild flavor, so it’s best when prepared with an added spice rub, marinade, stuffing or flavorful sauce. To keep the tenderloin juicy, be careful not to overcook it.

Butcher Tips:

--•Tenderloin can be soaked in the marinade from a couple of hours to twelve hours or more. Be sure to store the meat in its marinade in the refrigerator during this period of time.
--To ensure doneness, check with a meat thermometer. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the cut should produce a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a 3-minute rest time.
9
Spareribs:

Description: Spareribs come from the belly of the hog and are known for their delicious, meaty pork flavor. These ribs are the least meaty variety of ribs, but full of flavor. Spareribs are typically larger and heavier than back ribs.

Ribs are commonly prepared with either “wet” or “dry.” Ribs rubbed with a mixture of herbs and spices are called dry ribs. Such rubs can be applied just before barbecuing. Ribs basted with sauces during the barbecuing process are called wet ribs. For best results, brush ribs generously during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Butcher Tips:

--Try using aromatic woods such as hickory, mesquite, apple, or cherry and add to the preheated coals to give the meat a distinctive flavor.
10
Pork Butt:

Description: Pork shoulder is the top portion of the front leg of the hog. The terminology for pork shoulder can vary widely depending on the region. However, the lower ‘arm’ portion of the shoulder is most commonly called the arm picnic. The upper part of the shoulder, often called the Boston blade roast (also known as Boston- style butt), comes from the area near the loin and contains the shoulder blade bone.

The Boston blade roast is a well-marbled cut. This versatile cut can be pot-roasted whole, cut up for stews or cooked over moist smoke in a smoker to transform it into classic pulled pork barbecue. Whether it is roasted, braised or barbecued, Boston blade roast becomes meltingly tender and deliciously flavorful. This inexpensive cut may need to be pre-ordered. You also may wish to have the meat trimmed and netted so that it remains intact as it cooks to fork-tenderness. The Boston blade roast is available bone-in, averaging six to nine pounds) or boneless (averaging four to seven pounds). Pork shoulder also is often ground for use in making ground pork.

Butcher Tips:

--•To ensure doneness, check with a meat thermometer. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the cut should produce a temperature of 160°F for medium doneness
--For a crisp surface on your roast, be sure the oven is fully preheated before place the roast in it and do not cover the meat while roasting.
11
Handling of Pork:

Freezing Pork:
--Follow these steps to help keep your pork fresh in the freezer:
•Use one of these freezer wrap materials: specially-coated freezer paper (place the waxed side against the meat); heavy-duty aluminum foil; heavy-duty polyethylene film; heavy-duty plastic bags.
•Re-wrap pork in convenient portions: leave roasts whole, place chops in meal-size packages, shape ground pork into patties. Put a double layer of waxed paper between chops and patties.
•Cover sharp bones with extra paper so the bones do not pierce the wrapping.
•Wrap the meat tightly, pressing as much air out of the package as possible.
•Label with the name of the pork cut and date.
•Freeze at 0 degrees F or lower.


Freezing Ham:
The National Pork Board does not encourage freezing cooked ham, since it affects the quality and mouth-feel of the meat However, leftover ham for use in soups or casseroles can be cut up into slices or cubed and stored in the freezer for 2 to 3 months.

Can I brown my fresh pork this morning, put it the refrigerator and finish cooking it tonight?
Never brown or partially cook any meat.

Defrosting Pork:
The best way to defrost pork is in the refrigerator in its wrapping. Follow these guidelines for defrosting pork in the refrigerator:
•Small roast will take 3-5 hours per pound
•Large roast will take 4-7 hours per pound
•Chop, 1" inch thick will take 12-14 hours
•Ground pork needs to be estimated by package thickness

Using a microwave to defrost pork:
Follow the microwave manufacture’s guidelines for defrosting meat. Cook meat immediately after microwave thawing.

My roast isn’t thawed completely, but I need to get my meal started. Can I still cook it?
It is safe to cook frozen or partially-frozen pork in the oven, on the stove or grill without defrosting it first; the cooking time may be about 50% longer. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. It is best if frozen pork roasts are cooked at an oven temperature of 325 degrees F. Do not cook frozen pork in a slow cooker.

Refreezing thawed pork:
According to the USDA, once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through defrosting. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked foods

What about trichinosis?
Because of modern feeding practices, trichinosis is a no longer a concern. Although trichina is virtually nonexistent in pork, if it were present, it would be killed at 137 degrees F. That's well below the recommended end cooking temperature for pork, which is 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a 3-minute rest time.
12
Roasting: Roast at 350° F.,unless otherwise noted.
Roast in a shallow pan,uncovered.

Pork today is very lean and shouldn’t be overcooked. To check doneness, use a digital cooking thermometer. The National Pork
Board follows the guidance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which recommends cooking roasts, tenderloins, and chops to an
internal temperature of 145 degrees F., followed by a 3 minute rest time, resulting in a flavorful, tender and juicy eating experience.
Ground pork, like all ground meat, should be cooked to 160 degrees F. Pre-cooked ham can be reheated to 140 degrees F. or enjoyed cold.

--Loin Roast, Bone–In and Boneless* 2–5 lbs. 145° F 20 minutes per lb.
--Crown Roast* 10 lbs. 145° 12 minutes per lb.
--Fresh Leg/Uncured Ham* 18–20 lbs. 145° 15 minutes per lb.
--Tenderloin (roast at 425°F.) ½–1½ lbs. 145° 20–27 minutes total time
--Ribs — Tender 1½–2 hours
--Ham, fully cooked 5–6 lbs. 140° 20 minutes per lb.
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Broiling: 4–5 inches from heat or Grilling over direct, medium heat; turn once halfway
through grilling.

--Loin Chops, Bone–In or Boneless (3/4 inch thick) ¾ inch 145° 8–9 minutes total time.
--Thick Loin Chops, Boneless (1½ inch thick) 1½ inches 145° 12–16 minutes total time.
--Loin Kabobs 1 inch cubes Tender 10–15 minutes total
--Tenderloin ½–1½ lbs. 145° 20 minutes total time.
--Ground Pork Patties ½–inch 160° 8–10 minutes total time.
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Barbecuing: over indirect medium heat (285° F.)

--Loin Roast, Bone–In and Boneless* 2–5 lbs. 145°
-------2 lbs. roast = 20 minutes per lb.
-------3½–5 lbs. roast = 15 minutes per lb.
--Shoulder (Butt)* 3–6 lbs. Tender 45 minutes per lb.
--Ribs — Tender 1½–2 hours total
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Sautéing: Add a little cooking oil to pan; sauté over medium–high heat and turn once halfway through cooking time.

--Cutlets ¼ inch Tender 3–4 minutes
--Loin Chops, Bone–In or Boneless ¾ inch 145° 8 minutes total time.
--Tenderloin Medallions ¼–½ inch Tender 4–8 minutes total time.
--Ground Pork Patties ½ inch 160° 8–10 minutes total time.
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Braising: Cook, covered, with a liquid at a simmer; turn once halfway through cooking time.

--Loin Chops, Bone–In or Boneless ½–¾ inch 145° 6–8 minutes total time.
--Loin Cubes 1 inch Tender 8–10 minutes.
--Tenderloin Medallions ½–¾ inch Tender 8–10 minutes.
--Shoulder Butt* 3–6 lbs. Tender 2–2½ hours
--Ribs — Tender 1½–2 hours
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Stewing: Cook, covered, with liquid at a slow simmer.

--Loin or Shoulder Cubes 1 inch Tender 45 minutes–1 hour

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Pork