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Grilling Pork To Perfection

Contributed by: News Canada

(NC) - The love affair between pork and the grill is as old as cooking itself. Grilling pork is relatively straightforward and requires no special skills. But different pork cuts - chops, tenderloin, roasts, and ground pork - all need slightly different approaches.

Chops and Steaks:

  • Season with a marinade or rub, as desired. Brush on sauce, if using, when meat is nearly cooked; this will prevent sauce from burning.

  • Use a medium heat; a fierce heat will tend to toughen the meat and dry it out.

  • Turn the meat as seldom as possible, without charring or burning it. A handy guide to knowing when to turn the meat is to watch for small droplets of moisture appearing on the meat surface.

  • Touch the centre of the chop with tongs or your finger. If it's perfectly done, there should be a slight "give". If in doubt, make a small incision into the meat; if there is still a touch of pinkness, it's time to take the meat off the grill and let it rest a few minutes - the meat will continue cooking as the heat equalizes.

  • Do not overcook pork; for grilling cuts about 3/4 - inches thick, grill on medium for about 2 minutes, turn 90 degrees, and grill for an additional 2 minutes; repeat for other side. Total grilling time should be between 6-8 minutes.

  • Thicker chops will, of course, take longer; thicker chops - 1 1/2 to 2-inches thick - use a meat thermometer to ensure perfect doneness.

Tenderloin:

Tenderloin, as the name implies, is very tender, but it is not the most flavourful pork cut. Be bold when seasoning.

  • Tenderloin can be grilled over high heat; turn frequently for even cooking and to avoid burning.

  • Tenderloin can be cooked to medium-rare (145 F/63 C), or slightly higher. Allow to rest for about five minutes before serving.

  • Tenderloins can be grilled whole, cut into thick rounds and grilled or use for kebabs, or cut crosswise and gently pounded to make small medallions.

Ground Pork and Pork Burgers:

  • Ground pork, like any ground meat, must be cooked to well done.

  • Pork burgers can be seasoned with just salt and pepper, or with as exotic ingredient as the imagination allows.

  • Four ounce burgers, about 3/4 inches thick, will take about 10-15 minutes, turning once.

Food Safety

Cooking al fresco is great fun, but the rules of food safety still apply:

  • Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator.

  • Wash everything- hands, cutting boards, utensils - before and after touching food.

  • Avoid cross-contamination: make sure that you don't put cooked food on the same plate or chopping board you used for raw food.

  • Discard marinades which have been used for uncooked meats.

  • Refrigerate leftovers and any perishable food promptly.

  • Use a meat thermometer, especially when cooking ground meat of any type, to ensure a safe internal temperature has been reached.

  • Keep hot foods hot (above 140 F/60 F), and cold foods cold (40 F/4 C or below).


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