The truth is that, no matter how delicious pork can be, it's also known for easily drying out — and nobody likes a dry pork chop. So, how can you become a pork-cooking master?
With these six tips, of course! Here's our best advice for preparing better pork:
Keep the fat
The fat on pork is great for flavor, so definitely don't trim it off. Instead, season well and enjoy the extra crispy, salty bites. Your pork will be more likely to stay moist with the added juiciness of the fat.
Buy on the bone
Similarly to not removing the fat, cooking your pork still on the bone will also help keep it from drying out. Look for thick-cut, bone-in cuts for delicious, marbled, on-the-bone flavor.
Marinades aren't just great for imparting flavor — they also help lock in moisture and tenderize your meat. For pork, you can marinate for up to 12 hours prior to cooking. Just be sure to store marinating pork in the refrigerator and do your best to cover all sides of meat with liquid or turn the meat occasionally.
Soaking your pork in a brine before cooking can help it retain moisture during the cooking process. While a simple brine of water and salt will do the trick, you can also use the brining stage to impart extra flavor with sugar and seasonings. Just be careful not to brine too long (two to four hours should do the trick) and rinse the pork before cooking.
Use a meat thermometer
While all of these previous steps are important, the ultimate influence in whether your finished product is juicy and tender comes down to preparation method. Depending on your cut, you can sear, pan-fry, bake, roast, grill and more. Regardless of what you choose, use a meat thermometer to ensure the interior of your pork doesn't get overcooked. Aim for a middle temperature of 145 degrees F, which should be mostly white with a slight touch of pink.
Let it rest
Just like beef, giving your pork a resting period after you remove it from heat will keep the juices from running out when you cut it open. Trust us: The difference in flavor will be well worth the wait.
Now that you're a pork-cooking expert, make sure you buy the best cuts for your next meal.