This is a sponsored post on behalf of The National Pork Board.
I don’t know about you, but growing up, my family’s pork experience included Shake and Bake paper thin pork chops and that was about it. I will admit, just a few months ago I bought pork chops and baked them to almost inedible. Why are most of us cooking our pork all wrong?
Well, in the days of our mothers and grandmothers, they were taught to cook the pork well done to get rid of any trichinosis. During the late 1940’s until the late 70’s there were quite a few trichinosis cases in the United States, so out of fear (and rightfully so) everyone over-cooked their pork. Now, according to the CDC, only an average of 20 cases of trichinosis are reported every year.
How Long Should You Cook Your Pork?
Recent USDA changes in guidelines reduces the temperature in which you can safely cook your pork to. Almost all cuts of pork can be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. This is significantly less then what our mothers and grandmothers are used to and yes, pork can even be a little pink! Check out this temperature guide for all cuts of pork. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, purchase one now!
Why Can We Cook Pork To a Lower Temperature?
The CDC states that,
The overall number of (Trichinosis) cases reported has decreased because of improved pig-raising practices in the pork industry.
I was able to visit first-hand, a local, family-owned pig farm to be able to share what I saw and to help squash any misconceptions you guys might have about how pigs are raised and why you can and should cook your pork to a lower internal temperature. And if you don’t cook with pork now- you should!
Here are the Top Three That Surprised Me While At Brenneman Pork
- Cleanliness: When I saw the part of our itinerary on the Brenneman Farm included “showering in,” and “showering out,” I was totally surprised. Yes, you actually have to take a shower before you step in a pig barn. This helps get rid of any diseases or bacteria that can affect the pigs. The CDC recommends to keep pigs in clean pens with floors that can be washed (such as concrete). If you have an image in your mind of pigs wallowing in the mud, this is the exact opposite. The barns and pens are surprisingly clean and you even have to go in the barn with boots and coveralls after you shower in.
- Family: Brenneman Pork is a large-scale pig farming operation, BUT it is family-owned. Sons, daughters and in-laws have become a large role in making this operation run. The Brenneman grandchildren are even running around enjoying the farming life. When you see the faces of the small-town families and see the pride they have in their work, it becomes much more than a pig farm.
- Care: When someone builds something from the ground up and it is their family’s livelihood, they most likely want to continue to do it well. But a major part of the Brenneman’s desire is to create healthy pork for families like yours. I saw that care through the family involvement, the cleanliness and organization of the operation and the desire for continued improvement.
The Brenneman’s also participate in The We Care responsible pork program. At Brenneman Pork they acknowledge their responsibility to:
Produce safe food
Protect and promote animal well-being
Ensure practices to protect public health
Safeguard natural resources in all of our practices
Provide a work environment that is safe and consistent with our other ethical principles
Contribute to a better quality of life in our communities
Visiting a pig farm for myself and meeting the people behind the pork that comes to my table, changed my views on pork. You can say that I’m cooking with pork more often now! Do you have any questions about pig farming or pork? Let me know!