Growing up on a farm, we raised all of our food and livestock and, therefore, it was an absolute delight to me when my father gave me three little piggies for Christmas. In honor of the Three Little Piggies children’s song, I named my pigs Sticks, Bricks and Straw. They were good pets until they grew to be about 500 pounds each. In true farm fashion, my family re-named the pigs Easter, Graduation Dinner, and Freezer.
Buying, Prepping, and Storing
The freshest pork appears pinkish while the fat is firm and white. Pork can be roasted, broiled, grilled, poached or braised, depending on the cut of the meat. The most tender cuts of pork come from the part of the body that do the least amount of work, such as the loin. Ham is produced from the leg of the pig. Pork must always be thoroughly cooked, with muscle cuts reaching a temperature of 145º F and ground pork reaching 160º.
-Avoid freezing pork if possible since it loses precious moisture as it thaws.
-To “dry” season pork ribs, rub pork with mixture of herbs and spices just before barbecuing.
-To “wet” season pork ribs, baste ribs with sauces during barbecuing process and brush them generously during the last 30 min. of cooking.
-Add aromatic woods like hickory, mesquite, apple, or cherry to preheated coals for an outdoor barbeque flavor
-Always turn pork cuts with tongs or spoons while cooking to prevent piercing, which causes the juices to escape and the pork to dry out.
-Time your cooking carefully. Overcooked pork becomes dry and tough.
Roasting is a method of cooking pork in the oven in an uncovered pan, without adding liquid to the pan.
Recommended Cuts: Loin Roast, Tenderloin, Crown Roast, Spareribs, Fresh Pork Leg, Back Ribs, Shoulder
Broiling is a cooking process similar to grilling, except in reverse using very high heat from above for a short period of time. The use of the broiler pan helps with juices that escape from pork. Broiling is best used for tender meats and low fat cooking.
Recommended Cuts: Chops, Tenderloin, Ground Pork, Cubed & Sliced
Barbequing is a method of slowly cooking pork in an open pit or on a spit using coals, hardwoods, gas, or electricity as a heat source. Another way to achieve these results are in your slow-cooker or pressure cooker.
The same effect can also be achieved using a grill by placing the pork on the rack away from the heat source. The food is frequently based with a sweet tomato- or vinegar-based sauce.
Recommended Cuts: Back Ribs, Spareribs, Country Style Ribs, Shoulder
Grilling is a method of cooking pork over direct heat on an electric, gas, or charcoal grill.
Recommended Cuts: Chops, Tenderloin, Ground Pork
Baking is a method of cooking pork with dry heat, typically in an oven.
Recommended Cuts: Chops, Ground Pork, Country Style, and Sausage