Pork Primer, Plus Recipes

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Pork Primer. Learn about how to buy and store, defrost and cook pork, pork nutritional facts, plus a plethora of pork recipes to fit just about any occasion.

Who would have thought that something like pork could change? I mean, pork is pork, right? Think again.

Today's pork products contain an average of 31% less fat, 29% less saturated fat, 10% less cholesterol and 14% fewer calories compared to those of your grandparents generation.  Many cuts stack up to the nutritional profile of poultry. In fact, a 3-ounce serving of a skinless chicken thigh contains more fat and saturated fat than a comparable serving of trimmed pork tenderloin or boneless pork sirloin chop.  No wonder they call it "the other white meat."

Pork Storage and Defrosting Guidelines
If you plan to keep fresh pork longer than 2 to 3 days before cooking it, store it in the freezer. After pork has been cooked, cool leftovers in the refrigerator, uncovered; then cover and wrap them within 1 hour of cooking. Store cooked leftovers in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

The best way to defrost pork is in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. Follow these guidelines for defrosting fresh pork in the refrigerator:

  • Small roast: 3-5 hours per pound
  • Large roast: 4-7 hours per pound
  • Chop, 1" thick:12-14 hours
  • Ground pork: estimate time by package thickness
You can also defrost pork as you cook it. To defrost during cooking, increase cooking time by one-third to one-half, depending on the size of the pork cut. When cooking frozen pork chops, place them farther from the heat source for broiling or start cooking in a hot skillet, as in pan broiling. Cook frozen pork roasts at 325°F.

You might also want to use a microwave, following the manufacturer's directions for defrosting meat.

If you look at old cookbooks, they used to recommend cooking pork much longer than today. THe following chart shows updated cooking time's for today's leaner cuts of pork.

Roasting - 350° Oven Approx. Thickness/Weight Cooking Time
Loin roast, bone-in 3-5 pounds 20 min. per pound
Rib roast, boneless 2-4 pounds 20 min. per pound
Tenderloin (450°F oven) 1/2-1 pound 20 min. per pound

Broiling/Grilling 4" from Heat Approx. Thickness/Weight Cooking Time
Chops, bone-in 3/4 inch 6-8 min.
Chops, boneless 3/4 inch 6-8 min.
Tenderloin 1/2-1 pound 15-25 min.
Kabobs 1 inch cubes 10-20 min.
Lean ground pork patties 1/2 inch thick 8-10 min.

Panbroiling - Med. High on Stovetop Approx. Thickness/Weight Cooking Time
Chops, bone-in 3/4 inch 6-10 min.
Chops, boneless 3/4 inch 6-10
Lean ground pork patties 1/2 inch 7-9 min.

Carving pork is easy when you have the right tools and understand the technique. Make sure you have a sharp knife, a carving fork and a cutting board.

To carve a pork roast:

  • Remove the roast from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Look at which direction the muscle fibers run in the meat (this is called the grain).
  • Hold the meat firmly in place with a carving fork and slice the roast across (at a right angle to) the grain.

Pork Recipes

Wow, we have enough pork recipes to keep Homer Simpson happy for a lifetime! No matter what your taste, you're bound to find it in the links in the Related Recipes section below. Enjoy!