Cooking pork has evolved throughout the years, especially since the days when it had to be thoroughly cooked to avoid the occurrence of trichinosis infections. Thankfully, modern pork manufacturing voids this problem with the use of international safety regulations. The most important consideration with preparing pork is to be sure that the meat is thoroughly cooked with an internal temperature of at least 160° Fahrenheit. Some tips for cooking pork include selecting the right cut of meet, proper cooking time, and varying the flavor with spices and seasonings.
Selecting the right cut of pork is a very important part of any recipe. Pork loin tends to be a more tender cut, which is the part of the pig that is most utilized in food dishes. Sirloin roast, loin chop, and tenderloin all originate from the pork loin. Like most meats that are relatively low in fat, pork loin should be cooked at a relatively high temperature for a short amount of time, or at a lower temperature for longer periods of time. Poaching, braising, and other forms of "moist cooking" usually work well with pork loins.
When purchasing pork, a cook should make sure to select pieces that are not discolored, as this could be a sign of rotting flesh. The cut should be firm with a pale pink coloring. There should be very little fat marbling, with most of the fat being visible around the perimeter of the pork meat.
The amount of time needed when cooking pork depends on the thickness of the meat and the method of cooking, but the internal temperature of 160° and a cooking thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat can always be used as a guide. Tender pork loins can be cooked in thin strips and be stir-fried to completion in a matter of minutes. Thinly-sliced pieces of pork can be sautéed and cooked to completion within 10 minutes. Thicker cuts that are about one-inch (2.54 cm) thick can be grilled until the proper internal temperature is reached. Pork roast will have to be cooked for several hours in either the oven or for a more extended period of time in a slow cooker.
Pork tends to have a relatively mild taste to it. This allows for a lot of variations in recipes, as the cook can experiment with different seasonings and marinades. There are a variety of seasoning mixes that are available in the local grocery stores or online, but some cooks prefer to mix their own flavor profiles. Pork also works well with homemade sauces and marinades.