How To Perfectly Cook Pork

Whether it’s a loin, leg, shoulder, or belly, it’s about time we leave behind the days of overcooked, dry, and tough pork.

2 min read


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Pink Is Okay

Raw meat dishes exist in many cuisines. Think of sashimi, tartare, carpaccio, ceviche, kibbeh or kitfo, to name just a few.

But when it comes to pork, there is a difference between ‘raw’ and ‘doneness’.

Contrary to popular belief, it is perfectly safe for pork to be pink!

Colour alone is not a reliable indicator of doneness, as harmful bacteria cannot be detected by sight, smell, or taste alone.

Instead, the internal temperature of pork is the best measure of doneness.

“If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork!” ~ James Beard

Minimum Temperature

Opinions on the minimum internal temperature of cooked pork are split along the 49th Parallel.

While the USDA recommends cooking raw pork steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F/62°C, Health Canada advises a higher minimum of 160°F/71°C.

Despite this current discrepancy, both organizations agree that pork with a hint of pink in the middle is not only safe to consume but can also lead to juicier and more flavourful meat.

Analog vs. Digital Thermometers

Both analog and digital thermometers can serve the same purpose but do so in different ways.

Analog thermometers, often made of stainless steel, feature a clock-like dial to offer a durable and affordable way to measure temperature, but they may lack precision. Despite this, analog thermometers are generally less expensive and considerably more durable (no batteries required).

On the other hand, digital thermometers can display fast and precise readings onto an LCD screen and provide the flexibility to alternate between Fahrenheit or Celsius. 

However, they require batteries and are more susceptible to damage. Ultimately, the choice between analog's simplicity and durability and digital's accuracy and convenience depends on personal preference and specific needs.

Using A Thermometer

Whether using analog or digital, insert the probe of a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, making sure it penetrates all the way to the middle.

For a more accurate reading, avoid contact with any bones or pockets of fat.

To ensure accuracy and monitor ‘doneness’, test the temperature of each portion of meat separately.

After measuring the temperature of one piece of meat, clean the thermometer probe to prevent any cross-contamination.