Cooking

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 degrees F. as measured by a food thermometer, followed by a three-minute rest time. Ground pork, like all ground meats, should be cooked to 160 degrees 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

  • Grilling for both small cuts cooked over direct heat and large pork cuts cooked with indirect heat
  • Broiling for small cuts such as chops, kabobs and pork patties
  • Sautéing for small pork cuts such as chops, cutlets and strips
  • Panbroiling for chops, tenderloin medallions, ham slices, bacon and ground pork patties
  • Roasting for large pork cuts – loin roasts, shoulder roasts, ham, leg roasts

Moist-Heat Methods

  • Stewing for smaller pieces of less-tender cuts, such as shoulder cubes
  • Braising for large or small cuts, but traditionally less-tender cuts

ROASTING — in an uncovered, shallow pan at 350o F.

Approximate
Thickness
or Weight
Cooking Time
(in minutes, unless otherwise specified)
Loin Roast, Bone-in or Boneless*

2-5 pounds

20 per pound

Crown Roast*

6-10 pounds

20 per pound

Leg

3 1/2 pounds

40 per pound

Shoulder Rost (Butt)*

3-6 pounds

45 per pound

Tenderloin (roast at 425 -450o F)

1 – 1 1/2 pounds

20 – 30

Ribs

1 1/2 – 2 hours**

BROILING — 4 inches from heat OR GRILLING — over direct heat

Approximate
Thickness
or Weight
Cooking Time
(in minutes, unless otherwise specified)
Chops, Bone-in or Boneless

3/4 inch

8-10

Thick Chop

1 1/2 inches

12-16

Kabobs

1-inch cubes

10-15**

Tenderloin

1 – 1 1/2 pounds

15-25

Ground Pork Patties

1/2 inch

8-10

GRILLING — over indirect heat

Approximate
Thickness
or Weight
Cooking Time
(in minutes, unless otherwise specified)
Loin Roast, Bone-in or Bonesless*

2 pounds

45 minutes – 1 hour

Shoulder Roast (Butt)*

3-5 pounds

2 1/2 – 4 hours**

Ribs

1 1/2 – 2 hours**

SAUTEING — with a small amount of oil over medium-high heat in an uncovered pan

Approximate
Thickness
or Weight
Cooking Time
(in minutes, unless otherwise specified)
Cutlets, Bone-in or Boneless

1/4 inch

3-4**

Chops, Bone-in or Boneless

3/4 inch

7-8

Tenderloin Medallions

1/4 – 1/2 inch

4-8**

Ground Pork Patties

1/2 inch

8-10

BRAISING — with a small amount of liquid over low heat in a tightly covered pan

Approximate
Thickness
or Weight
Cooking Time
(in minutes, unless otherwise specified)
Chops or Cutlets

1/4 – 1 inch

8-15

Cubes

1 inch

8-10**

Tenderloin Medallions

1/2 – 3/4 inch

4-8

Shoulder Roast (Butt)

3-6 pounds

2 – 2 1/2 hours**

Ribs

1 1/2 – 2 hours**

STEWING — in liquid at slow simmer in a covered pot

Approximate
Thickness
or Weight
Cooking Time
(in minutes, unless otherwise specified)
Ribs

1 1/2 – 2 hours**

Cubes

1 inch

45 minutes – 1 hour**

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

Nutrition

Learn more about why pork has gained a reputation as a white meat. See how pork compares nutritionally to other meats. Also, find your guide to the leanest cuts of pork and see how pork producers have responded to consumers’ demands for leaner pork.

How much fat should I be eating?

For your good health, the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming 20-35% of calories as fat and less than 10% of calories as saturated fat by selecting foods that are lean or low-fat. The guidelines for cholesterol are no more than 300 milligrams per day. Pork easily fits into a balanced eating plan as suggested by the Dietary Guidelines. Lean pork not only provides a host of vitamins and minerals, but has fat and saturated fat levels equivalent to skinless chicken.

Fat Intake Guidelines
Calories
Total Fat (20 – 35% of calories)
Saturated Fat (10% of calories)
1,600 (many sedentary women)
36-62 grams
17 grams
2,200 (active women, many sedentary men)
49-86 grams
24 grams
2,800 (many active men, some very active women)
62-109 grams
31 grams

Can I cut fat and still keep great taste?

Preparing healthy meals that feature pork starts at the supermarket and ends at the table. The following checklist will help you achieve the results you want:

Get a lean start

  • Use cuts with the words “loin” or “round” in their name for the leanest meats, such as pork tenderloin or loin chop.
  • Cuts with minimal visible fat are the leanest.
Develop an eye for size
  • Portion control is key to reaching and maintaining a healthful weight.
  • Follow the MyPyramid guidelines and eat 5 to 7 ounces (for adults) from the meat group each day, depending on your calorie needs.
  • A 3-ounce serving of trimmed, cooked meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
Skim and trim
  • Remove excess fat prior to cooking – it can cut total fat content per serving in half.
  • Skim fat from pan juices after pan-broiling.
Cook it light
  • Use low-fat cooking methods, like grilling, broiling, stir-frying and pan-broiling to maximize flavor while keeping added fat to a minimum.
  • Broil, grill or roast on a rack, so natural fat from meat drips away.
  • Cook thin cuts of meat quickly, with little or no fat, by pan-broiling or “dry sautéing” in a non-stick skillet with a little juice or broth.
  • Add stock, wine or fruit juice to the skillet after meat is removed; heat and stir; then use as a low-fat sauce or glaze.
  • Stir-fry with vegetable cooking spray or a small amount of flavored oil.
  • Marinate for flavor and juiciness, with juice, wine-flavored vinegar or fat-free dressing instead of oil-based marinades.
Spice for life
  • Season meats with herbs and spices (other than salt) to boost flavor and cut back on fat and salt at the same time. Rub herbs and spices onto pork before grilling, broiling or roasting.
  • Experiment with different seasonings to discover exciting new ways to enjoy healthful eating.
S-T-R-E-T-C-H flavorful, higher-fat ingredients
  • Use favorite foods like sharp cheeses and herb-flavored oils to flavor your dishes, but cut the amount in half.
  • Use low-fat cheeses or whipped or reduced-fat butter.
Lighten-up on the ladle
  • To get the most benefit from the vegetables you’re eating, use less of a regular salad dressing, or use a fat-free variety or herb-flavored vinegar instead.
  • Choose cream-based sauces and gravies less often than sauces made with skim milk or fat-free broth.
Did you know that pork is an “excellent” source of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus and protein and a “good” source of zinc and potassium? These nutrients are important to our health. Read below to learn how these nutrients impact your health and the percent Daily Values that are listed on food labels. They tell us how much of various nutrients we should consume each day. The following information is based on a 3-ounce serving of pork. As you can see, these key nutrients make pork a nutrient-dense food!