10 Tips To Perfectly Cooked Pork

Pork is a tasty, lean, versatile white meat that can be used in a variety of delicious recipes – that is, when its cooked properly. If you’ve ended up with dry and rubbery pork dishes in the past, most likely it’s due to a combination of under-seasoning and overcooking. “I think some people get turned off (from pork) because they overcook it, or they don’t marinate, or they don’t use a moist cooking method, and then it tastes like shoe leather,” Debra Krummel, PhD, RD, explains.

 

Don’t let past cooking mishaps keep you from enjoying all of those delish savory pork dishes. Whether you cook it on the stovetop, bake it in the oven, or grill it – read on for 10 tips to achieving perfectly moist and tender pork, every time.

  1. Choose To Crackle

    If you like your meat with a crispy outer crust, get to crackling! Crackling is the process of cooking skin until it is crispy and delicious, and it’s ridiculously easy. Before cooking your pork roast, pat the skin dry, score it, then rub it with oil and salt. Do not baste during cooking or it will not be crisp. It’s also vital to keep the roast uncovered during cooking. Increase temperature again for last 20 minutes of cooking and watch the delicious golden crispiness unfold.

  2. Transfer Chops To The Oven

    Pork chops are a tender, quick-cooking cut of meat — so quick-cooking, in fact, that they’re incredibly easy to overcook. Avoid turning your pork into shoe leather by starting with a good sear on the stovetop, and then transferring them to the oven to finish cooking. The gentle heat of the oven regulates the rate of cooking a little better and also prevents the outside from getting tough and dry before the middle has finished cooking.

  3. Rest Your Roast

    According to chef and author Hugh Acheson, allowing your meat to rest after cooking is vital to keeping it juicy and flavorful. Allow meat to rest at least 5-10 minutes (a few minutes more for roasts). Doing so will maximize the juiciness by allowing them to fully redistribute – resulting in more succulent, tender meat.

  4. Don’t Skimp On Quality

    Choose well-raised, pastured pork products over conventional grocery store options. Not only is it a healthier choice, but some experts say there’s a huge difference in taste and quality – making it worth the extra couple bucks.

  5. Add Liquids

    For a fork-tender pork roast, pour in some wine and chicken broth while roasting. Cooking pork with chicken stock and wine brings additional flavor and juiciness to the meat – while keeping the pork from becoming tough and dry.

  6. Temperature Matters

    Cooking pork chops from the fridge and immediately placing them in a hot pan or into a hot oven is generally considered no-no. It puts you on the fast track for unevenly cooked meat. Take your pork out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before you plan to start cooking. Bringing the meat up to room temperature helps it cook more evenly throughout, avoiding meat that’s overdone on the outside and undercooked inside.

  7. Browning Adds Flavor

    Browning, also known as the Maillard reaction or caramelization, is caused when you heat sugars and amino acids together. Browning adds deep, rich flavor to meat – especially pork. To get good browning, you’ll need to cook over medium-high heat (or even higher if your stovetop’s heat tends to run low). A strong heat can quickly dry out a lean pork chop, so be careful not to overcook it.

  8. Slow Cooker

    Don’t think you have to go out and buy a backyard smoker to make to-die-for baby back ribs. For an easy and almost fool-proof way to achieve tender and savory ribs, try using a slow cooker. Using a slow cooker breaks down ribs and gives you fall off the bone slow cooker ribs without the hassle of using a smoker or grill.

  9. Consider Brining

    You’ve probably heard about brining your Thanksgiving bird, but it works great with pork, too. Brining (marinating your ingredients in a mixture of salt and water) works by breaking down some of the muscle tissue and helping the meat to draw in moisture. Add dried herbs, such as thyme, oregano, or sage, to the brine or rub them directly on the meat for more flavor. You can also supplement or replace the water with another liquid, such as apple cider for a flavorful pork brine.

  10. Low And Slow

    According to experts, its best to slow-cook your pork in low heat for 4 to 8 hours (depending on the cut and the size of the roast) rendering it tender, but still moist. “The whole loin roast is more of a slow roast,” says Tom Mylan, executive butcher and co-owner of The Meat Hook in Brooklyn, NY. “But don’t cook it too much, or on too high of a heat – because it is so lean, it will get pretty dry,” he explains to ModernFarmer.com

Did you know?

Lime juice contains antioxidants that slow down the build up of plaque on artery walls.

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