Eating is necessary to our survival, but eating food safely is the crucial aspect to it. We need to ensure that when we’re cooking our food or buying our food, we know that it’s safe to eat.
We have all heard if something is pink, it isn’t cooked thoroughly – but how true exactly is this?
Today’s guide will look at all the information regarding pink pork, if it’s safe to eat and some other helpful information for your pork needs!
What’s The Deal With Pink Pork?
Cooking food thoroughly is the most vital thing to do before we look at the color and texture of the meat.
Generally, if you prod your meat with a thermometer – it needs to be at a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is the temperature that is considered safe to consume and cooked correctly.
The question is though, if you’ve cooked your pork to this temperature, and it looks pink, does that mean it’s cooked?
The basic answer is yes – the temperature is the important facet to knowing when meat is cooked.
This temperature will indicate that the pork is cooked, but you need to ensure that you’ve put the thermometer in the center of the pork.
The reason for this temperature is that the likelihood of bacterial growth like E. coli is all but removed.
Whether the pork is pink or not is not a good indicator of the meat being fully cooked.
Some people will wrongly put the pork back into the oven or smoker for a longer time to get the desired appearance, but this can often mean the meat is now overcooked, and you lose a juicy texture and some taste.
So, How Are You Meant To Confirm Pork Is Cooked?
The purchase of a meat thermometer is the most essential thing to do when buying and cooking your meat. Without this, there’s absolutely no way you’ll be able to cook the perfect piece of pork safely.
If you have an old meat thermometer, it’s a great idea to go out and buy a new one. Some old thermometers can be inaccurate, especially after a number of years of use.
If you don’t have a thermometer, it’s best to go and buy one – but if that’s not possible, there is a test you can do, but it’s not close to being as accurate.
If you poke your pork with a sharp knife into the center, you can notice the juice that comes from it. If the juice is clear, it’s likely to be cooked, but there’s never a guarantee of that.
With a thermometer, you can confirm the temperature of the meat to the desired 145 degrees.
When you take the pork out of the oven and this temperature has been reached, you should let the pork settle on the kitchen counter for around 5 extra minutes.
After these five minutes, you should begin to slice or carve your pork. The color should be either all white or white with pink. Don’t be put off by the pink color that is joined to the white – remember, it’s all about the temperature.
Much like steak, you can eat the pork in cooking preferences, for example medium rare or well done.
If for any reason, you don’t want pink in your pork – you can cook the meat for a longer period of time, but beware that you will harden the pork and lose some moisture.
You can, of course, counteract the dry pork by adding rubbing sauce for the second oven period, or you can cover the pork in apple sauce, gravy or other relevant sauces as applicable.
Is This The Same With Ground Meat?
No. You can’t take a chance with ground pork at all. To ensure that ground pork is thoroughly cooked, you’d need to get to a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
This applies for all types of ground meat, and it’s essential to remove the chances of having bacterial growth.
Can I Reheat Pork?
Sometimes, you’ll buy a large chunk of pork and cook it thoroughly – but you’ll have a lot of leftovers.
If this is the case, you’ll need to ensure that you either freeze the pork (as soon as it has cooled enough) or place the pork in the fridge.
It’s crucial that you store your leftover pork correctly. Before placing pork in the fridge or freezer, the pork needs to have cooled enough to allow you to do so.
As soon as this happens, get some foil wrap or plastic wrap and ensure the wrap around the pork is airtight.
Then, place the pork in the fridge or freezer in a safe place, away from other foods – especially away from raw meats.
When it’s time to reheat pork, you’ll have to ensure that whatever method you choose – the pork needs to get to the 165 degrees Fahrenheit temperature to confirm that it is cooked properly.
When you’re dealing with frozen pork, you should thaw the pork in the fridge overnight.
Do not try to heat the pork to thaw it, it will cause various problems in the cooking process. You’ll likely overcook different areas, while the center remains frozen.
If you decide to microwave leftover pork, ensure you’ve put the microwave on a setting of medium heat, and place the pork on a microwave safe plate.
You’ll want to cook the pork for around 3-5 minutes, but it’s the temperature that is the thing to take note of.
Do not bite the pork or attempt to eat the pork until you have confirmed the temperature is at 165 degrees.
The Bottom Line
The point is, pork can definitely be pink because color is not the only indicator of whether meat is cooked, it’s all about the internal temperature of the pork that will tell you if it is cooked thoroughly or not.