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What Is The Safe Cooking Temperature For Pork & Other Pork Myths

What Is The Safe Cooking Temperature For Pork & Other Pork Myths

Pork is a staple in many households, but is often met with groans of dismay. Why is that you may ask? Pork has a tendency to be overcooked, left dry and flavorless, and not even the thickest dousing of sauces will save that leathery mess on your plate. But why is it that people overcook pork when it isn't necessary? In this blog article we will explore the safe cooking temperature for pork and dispel some other myths that you may have heard about pork.

Myth 1) Pork Needs To Be Cooked Well

Pork does need to be cooked well, but not how you think. Well as in properly and with expertise, not until it's a dry and flavorless lump. When cooking pork chops, roasts, ham, and loins - tender or otherwise - you only need to cook to a minimum temperature of 145°F and then rest for 3 to 5 minutes. For ground pork, a temperature of 160°F is required.


Pork chops, roasts, ham, and loins need to reach a minimum temperature of 145°F (medium doneness) and then rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving.

Ground pork requires an internal temperature of 160°F before serving.

Is Pork Safe At Medium?

Are you preheating your grill? Has it reached temperature before you start? If your grill isn’t hot enough then food will stick because there is not enough conductive heat in the metal (cast iron or stainless steel), which results in a literal chemical bond between the food and cooking grids. To prevent this preheat your grill and give it a good scrub with your trusty grill brush - even if you did it after cooking last time - before adjusting the grill to the temperature you wish to be cooking at. The thing is, that a piece of food that has been put onto a hot grill will develop sear marks that will make it quite easy to flip. This food will release easily and you are good to go.

Delicious Pork Roast with sweet potato fries

Myth 2) Pork Is White Meat

Yes; pork is a lighter color when cooked -that is because it contains less myoglobin. Pork is livestock like beef and lamb, and all livestock is considered red meat. The "Pork - The Other White Meat" campaign began in 1987 in a bid by the pork industry to encourage people to consume and prepare pork over chicken. It was also in direct retaliation to the "Beef - It's What's For Dinner" campaign.

Myth 3) Pork Is Full Of Fat & Unhealthy To Eat

Ribs and Salad make a delicious meal

While you don't want to be consuming ribs and pork belly on a daily basis, for the most part, pork is actually quite lean. Some cuts can even be leaner than a chicken breast! A properly trimmed pork tenderloin contains 0.05 grams less total fat than a skinless chicken breast and many chop and roast cuts have less than 10 grams of fat per serving. Furthermore, most pork cuts are, on average, 16% leaner than they were about 20 years ago.

Fat is a necessary part of your diet and essential for living. The overconsumption of bad fats is where we get into trouble. Fat from pork is not necessarily unhealthy; it is factory-farmed animals in general that have higher levels of the "bad" fats (Omega-6-Fatty Acids) that we tend to over consume in the first place. This is because these animals cannot exercise as they should. You can avoid this by purchasing your meat from a local butcher who is conscientious of where their products come from. This has the added benefit of supporting your local small business.

Myth 4) Pork Is Full Of Nitrites & Nitrates

Any meat cured with saltpetre, sodium nitrite, or monosodium glutamate (MSG) should be consumed in moderation because they have been linked to health problems. That goes for all cured meats, not just bacon. Meat can be preserved in more traditional ways too, by using smoke and other kinds of salt. These products are readily available for the conscientious shopper. Nitrates are a whole different thing and are actually naturally occurring. There are more nitrates in your handful of arugula (and even your own saliva) that there is in your bacon.

Make your own bacon, or buy naturally smoked nitrite free

Myth 5) Pigs Are Dirty & Full Of Disease

Pigs are generally quite clean animals and love to take baths

Many assume that pigs are dirty and full of disease, however that just isn't the case. A pasture-raised pig is more nutritious. They spend their time foraging in the sunshine, eat a diverse omnivorous diet, and happily bathe in fresh water. This makes their pork fat a nutritious source of Vitamin D, the meat is antibiotic and hormone free, and they are leaner in a good way. Yes, these pigs will also wallow in mud, but when provided with a clean environment they will mess in a designated area, leaving themselves with "clean" mud to use as protection from the sun and bug bites. Factory-farmed pigs do not receive these opportunities.

Pork is a lean and healthy source of vitamins and minerals that belongs on the menu rotation. When prepared properly, pork provides plentiful opportunities for pleasing meals. What will you make now that you know the safe temperature to prepare pork and we’ve dispelled other porcine meat myths? Share your favorite pork recipes on our Grills Facebook page or Grills Instagram account using the hashtags #deliciousPork and #NapoleonGrill.

Happy Grilling!