Pork Cooking Temperature: When is it Done?
Often less expensive than its counterparts, pork is both a flavorful and lean option for special occasions or a quick weeknight meal.
However, it’s widely known that to ensure safe consumption, pork must be cooked to an appropriate temperature.
So, at what temperature is pork done? Depending on the cut and cooking method you’ve chosen, the answer varies. Read on for all the clarity you need!
Understanding Pork Cooking Temperatures
Although some cultures enjoy delicacies that feature raw pork, it is extremely risky to consume raw or inadequately cooked pork due to the risk of foodborne illnesses like trichinosis.
In addition to the health concerns associated with eating undercooked pork, overcooking presents its own risk: tough, dry meat.
To achieve a tasty and moist end result, factors like your cooking method, oven/stove performance, and the thickness of the cut can all play a role.
Despite these factors, there’s a simple way to keep yourself and your family safe, enjoy a delicious meal, and receive all the B vitamins, zinc, protein, and other health benefits available from premium pasture-raised pork.
All you need is a meat thermometer and this guide on internal temps for pork.
Recommended Cooking Temperatures for Different Cuts of Pork
We strongly suggest following the USDA’s recommended temperature guidelines when cooking every type of meat, but especially pork.
Thankfully, there are only three pork cooking temperatures you need to know. We’ve created a simple chart below to help you remember each one.
Cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork
Whether you’re cooking pork tenderloin (everyone’s favorite tender cut), or other whole cuts of meat like pork roast, pork loin, pork shoulders, and pork chops, the minimum internal temperature is 145°F with a three-minute rest time.
Take the pork out of the oven or turn off the heat source when the internal temperature reaches 145°F and let it rest for three minutes before slicing and serving. This temperature will result in a juicy and slightly pink center.
Cooking temperature for pulled pork
For any shredded pork dish, the minimum internal temperature is 190°F to make it tender enough to pull apart.
Cooking temperature for ground pork
Ground pork should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160°F to ensure that any harmful bacteria are destroyed.
If you don’t have much experience cooking with ground pork, making the transition is as easy as this: What are your favorite ground beef or ground chicken or turkey recipes? Swap in ground pork and enjoy!
Here are some of our favorite ground meat recipes to get you started:
Sweet Peppers Stuffed with Ground Meat and Zucchini
With just a handful of veggies and pasture-raised ground meat, stuffed peppers are a quick and healthy lunch, dinner, or appetizer. Make ahead and store in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
Classic Ground Meat Chili
This healthy chili is a year-round favorite in the one-pot-meal club. After a few basic steps, the bubbling pot on the stove will take care of the rest.
Pasture-Raised Ground Meat Thai Larb
Prepped and ready to eat in roughly 15 minutes, this lean Thai salad dish pops with the flavor of fresh herbs and is usually eaten either with sticky rice or wrapped in butter lettuce.
Instant Pot Italian Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles
This recipe is keto and paleo friendly, low-carb, gluten and dairy free, and provides several servings of veggies, thanks to fresh spinach and zoodles.
Tips for Cooking Perfect Pork
The most common mistake when cooking pork is overcooking, which leads to dry meat.
However, by promptly removing your pork from the heat source once it hits the minimum internal temperature requirements listed above, you can trust that your meat is safe to eat and will also be juicy and tasty.
Beyond avoiding overcooking, here are the 3 most important things to keep in mind when making a succulent pork meal:
1. Marinating meat before cooking ensures even richer flavor.
2. Tougher cuts can be just as delectable by using a slow cooker or smoker.
3. Let the meat rest for at least 3 minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute so that you get even moisture throughout the entire cut.
How to use a meat thermometer to determine pork cooking temp
A meat thermometer simplifies the entire process of cooking pork. All you have to do is place it correctly, peek at the reading, and you’ll be certain whether you’ve hit the minimum internal temperature requirement.
Here’s how to use your meat thermometer correctly:
Step 1: Confirm its accuracy.
To be sure that your thermometer is accurate and reliable, place it in a glass of icy water. If the dial drops, it’s functioning fine.
Step 2: Place the thermometer correctly.
It’s crucial that you place the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to get a trustworthy reading. You might need to try a couple placement options in order to avoid fat or bone.
Step 3: Read.
When the thermometer is placed correctly, in just a few seconds you should have an accurate temperature reading. We suggest that you start testing early so you don’t overcook your pork.
Pasture-raised pork is the gold standard.
When purchasing your next order of pasture-raised pork cuts, we suggest looking for a meat operation that’s transparent about the following:
- Animals are never treated with antibiotics or added hormones
- 100% born, raised, and harvested in the USA (there are significant carbon emissions are associated with importing animals from other countries)
- Flash frozen immediately after harvesting to ensure maximum freshness
- Regenerative agriculture practices that support animal wellbeing and foster healthy soil, plant diversity, and natural waterways.
Grass Roots is proud to meet all these standards and more. Shop our extensive collection of pasture-raised pork.