Cooktop Cove: If you're not following these 5 tips for cooking pork you're doing it wrong
Pork, when it's cooked right, is one of the best kinds of meat that can ever hit your plate. The problem is, it's a very hard piece of meat to get right. It doesn't even matter what cut of pork you're cooking. Pork loin, tenderloin, and pork chops can all be very hard to cook without turning that beautiful piece of pork into a dried-out mess that's tough to chew and sometimes, even unpalatable.
So, what's the answer? For many it's simply refraining from cooking pork altogether and going to the experts - namely, an expensive restaurant - in order to enjoy pork that's been cooked just right. But you don't have to do that anymore. There are many ways to get tender, juicy pork - and it can be a real showstopper too! Follow these tips and start saving your money and enjoying your pork at home once again.
1. Cook it to medium
This is perhaps the most important tip when cooking pork. There are a couple of reasons why so many people overcook their pork. The first is that pork is raised to be much leaner these days so it simply doesn't have the fat content that it once did. That lack of fat can be better for health, but it's also disaster for cooking pork. Without it, pork dries out far too easily and results in that toughness no one wants to eat.
The answer? While pork used to have to be cooked well-done in order to eliminate the threat of trichinosis, that's just no longer the case. Pork is raised much differently than it once was and trichinosis is no longer an issue when pork has been cooked to 137 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, it's recommended that pork is cooked to 145 degrees just to be sure, but it really shouldn't be cooked any longer than that. Any more and it will dry out; there's just no way around it.
2. Coat it in vegetable or olive oil
Many people put their oil into a pan and then place the pork in. But doing so leaves it exposed to the heat of the pan and it doesn't take long to dry it out. Instead, leave the pan bare while it heats up and instead use that oil to coat the pork itself. Even if making pork chops, the meat should be entirely coated in oil. The oil will provide a barrier between the heat of the pan and the meat itself and will help keep that pork moist and juicy.
3. Stuff pork loin and tenderloin
Stuffing certain cuts of pork, such as loin and tenderloin, helps the home chef bring a masterpiece to the table in a couple of different ways. The first is that it can be stuffed with things like moist bread and fruit like apricots or apples. All of these things can infuse moisture into the pork and keep it from drying out.
Stuffing pork also makes it a true masterpiece when it's sliced. There's little that's more beautiful than serving up a slice of pork with beautiful and delicious ingredients that are just begging to be dug into. Stuffing pork loin will turn you into a true masterchef!
4. Use marinade
Marinades are one of a cook's best friends and it's easy to see why. They infuse flavor directly into the meat as the pork sits in the marinade and can really bring a lot more to a dish. But, marinades can also be used during the cooking process. After the pork marinades in it, just boil it in a pot for two minutes; that will kill any bacteria that can be harmful. After it's been boiled, spoon the marinade over the pork as it cooks. This will keep it moist and provide for an extra shot of flavor, too.
5. Don't use a lid
When pork is being sauteed or fried, it needs to be very dry to allow a crust to form. Crusts on meats are great because they lock in moisture but they also bring their own flavor to the meat. By caramelizing the meat, it brings out the natural sugars of the cut and those sugars are full of flavor.
When a lid is placed over top of this meat, condensation forms on the lid and that's a big problem. When that condensation drops into the pan, it actually causes the meat to steam rather than sear. This is not only lacking in flavor, but it also creates pork that is tough and dry.
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