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Under cooked Pork!


Richard Kilgore
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I accidentally pulled a pork roast from the Weber before its time last night. It's a little pink in the center. I am trying to decide whether to put it back on or in the oven tonight.

How not-done is risky? What would you do?

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The whole issue with having to cook pork through was because there used to be a relatively high incidence of trichinella in pork. Today, that is exceedingly rare. Unless you have serious doubts about the origen of your pork, it is most likely fine to eat. From what you describe, that is generally how I cook my pork, depending on the cut.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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Little pink? Eat it. Cook it anymore it will dry out. Pork nowadays are very lean, and also the risk of trichinosis is drastically smaller than several decades ago.

With barely any marbling, personally I would prefer my pork a little pink in the middle.

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I wouldn't worry about safety. But what kind of roast is it? Done (in the culinary, rather than the safety, sense) for a loin isn't the same as done for a shoulder.

Good point: I was assuming it was a loin, since for a shoulder you would be looking for more like 200 deg F (I usually go to 204 F). It's definitely not pink, unless you count the smoke ring :smile:.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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The whole issue with having to cook pork through was because there used to be a relatively high incidence of trichinella in pork. Today, that is exceedingly rare. Unless you have serious doubts about the origen of your pork, it is most likely fine to eat. From what you describe, that is generally how I cook my pork, depending on the cut.

Trichinella spiralis is classified as being absent in the UK pig herd, however it is present in Continental Europe. Also with increasing consumption of free-range foraging pork/wild boar/hybrids there is a increased chance of these animals encountering the sylvan trichinelliasis depot (say by eating a hedgehog) and infection being reintroduced. The risk is still very small though.

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Thanks everyone.

As far as I know it was not a hedgehog or a free-range pig or a Texas feral hog, since it came from a main-line grocery store.

That said, it was (still is) a shoulder. And it went to about 175 F. Cooked it about 2 1/2+ hours.

Still think it's okay?

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I'm sure it's safe to eat. I'm not convinced it's at its peak flavor- or texture-wise.

Thanks, Dave. At this point I am not concerned about peak. I am sure it's going to be a non-peak culinary experience. I tried it last night and made a sandwich out of it today without losing any teeth (not bad, but definitely non-peak - nothing at all like the pulled pork of a couple of months ago), but was uncomfortable serving it to anyone else without a little input from you guys.

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175 deg F? You're WAAAAAAAAAAAAY into the 'safe' zone as far as cooking temperatures go. The 'pink' you're talking about is not the same kind of 'pink' that you get when pork is undercooked (i.e. below 140 F). I've cooked pork shoulder all day long and still had some red in the middle even though the meat was literally falling apart. Color is not a good indication of doneness.

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FYI...

Pork Board Continues Quest to Lower Pork’s Suggested Cooking Temperature

By January 2008, the National Pork Board expects to provide supportive scientific evidence to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to lower pork’s recommended cooking temperature from its current 160 degrees F.

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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If you want it as "pulled Pork" reheat in a crock pot with some of your sauce and it should breakdown to yummy tenderrness

tracey

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I recently cooked a pork tenderloin on the Weber. I cooked it to a little over 140º and it was beautifully tender and delicious, slightly pink. Any more than that and it becomes dry.

If I were doing a shoulder I would prefer the long, low and slow method.

I hope you enjoyed it.

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James Peterson, in his cleverly titled book Cooking, says this about pork: ". . . there is only one correct degree of doneness, the point at which the first pink translucence turns wet and rosy." I agree with this statement in general although I can think of a few exceptions.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

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Your pork is way way safe from trichinea. The USDA has the following time/temperature tables for pork and elimination of trichinea:

Deg F. Deg C. Time at temperature

120 49.0 21 hours.

122 50.0 9.5 hours.

124 51.1 4.5 hours.

126 52.2 2 hours.

128 53.4 1 hour.

130 54.5 30 minutes.

132 55.6 15 minutes.

134 56.7 6 minutes.

136 57.8 3 minutes.

138 58.9 2 minutes.

140 60.0 1 minute.

142 61.1 1 minute.

144 62.2 Instant.

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Your pork is way way safe from trichinea.

Anything else to worry about beside Trichinea, or once the T. is dead everything else will be, too? It's interesting that the times are so short even down in the 125 F range: doing a slow-cooked tenderloin it seems like you can keep the temp very low. By the time the center has hit 135 F it has probably been long enough to be safe.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Your pork is way way safe from trichinea.

Anything else to worry about beside Trichinea, or once the T. is dead everything else will be, too? It's interesting that the times are so short even down in the 125 F range: doing a slow-cooked tenderloin it seems like you can keep the temp very low. By the time the center has hit 135 F it has probably been long enough to be safe.

Most of the common pathogens, like salmonella and listeria monocytogenes aren't killed until being held at alittle higher - usually, the lowest you should go to is 130F... the FDA has tables on how long to hold something at those temps... for instance, they list for beef, pork and lamb that 130F for 112 minutes or 131F for 89 minutes will be considered pasteurized. For chicken and turkey, they have a min. temp. of 136F for between 64 and 81.4 minutes depending on fat content (the higher the fat content, the longer the pasteurization time)

The pasteurization times are logarithmic though - so you can pasteurize chicken or turkey at 140F (still a little pink and really juicy) if you hold it between 28.1 and 35 minutes depending on fat content.

I cook chicken to 140F all the time - it is always super juicy... I haven't tried it at 136F though - I wonder if it would be a little TOO rare...

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Your pork is way way safe from trichinea. The USDA has the following time/temperature tables for pork and elimination of trichinea:

Deg F.        Deg C.      Time at temperature

  120      49.0      21 hours.

  122    50.0        9.5 hours.

  124    51.1        4.5 hours.

  126    52.2        2 hours.

  128    53.4        1 hour.

  130    54.5      30 minutes.

  132    55.6      15 minutes.

  134    56.7        6 minutes.

  136    57.8      3 minutes.

  138    58.9        2 minutes.

  140    60.0        1 minute.

  142    61.1        1 minute.

  144    62.2      Instant.

Hi,

It should be noted that these USDA guidelines (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/trichinae/docs/fact_sheet.htm) state, "It should be noted that these times and temperatures apply only when the product reaches and maintains temperatures evenly distributed throughout the meat."

Microwaving does not provide the even distribution of temperature required.

Tim

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Your pork is way way safe from trichinea. The USDA has the following time/temperature tables for pork and elimination of trichinea:

Deg F.        Deg C.      Time at temperature

  120      49.0      21 hours.

  122    50.0        9.5 hours.

  124    51.1        4.5 hours.

  126    52.2        2 hours.

  128    53.4        1 hour.

  130    54.5      30 minutes.

  132    55.6      15 minutes.

  134    56.7        6 minutes.

  136    57.8      3 minutes.

  138    58.9        2 minutes.

  140    60.0        1 minute.

  142    61.1        1 minute.

  144    62.2      Instant.

Hi,

It should be noted that these USDA guidelines (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/trichinae/docs/fact_sheet.htm) state, "It should be noted that these times and temperatures apply only when the product reaches and maintains temperatures evenly distributed throughout the meat."

Microwaving does not provide the even distribution of temperature required.

Tim

Most standard cooking methods could not be used to achieve the results in the table since you must maintain those temperatures for the duration of the time indicated... the only way I can think of doing that is sous vide where you can set your bath temperature to be equal to that of the target temperature, so that once the pork reaches that temperature, it can stay there indefinitely (until you take it out of the bath). It would not be safe to do this in a 125F oven, for instance, because air is a poor conductor of heat, and a piece of pork straight out of the refrigerator would take forever to come to target temperature of 125F sitting in stagnant, or even circulating air, which would be extremely unsafe from a bacterial viewpoint.

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Most standard cooking methods could not be used to achieve the results in the table [...]

At the top of the table, perhaps, but certainly further down they can (and are!). Naturally there are many factors at work and the FDA is not attempting to compensate for all of them. But if, for example) you hold the center of a loin roast at 135 for ten minutes, say by cooking it in a smoker set to 225 degrees, you will have a perfectly safe piece of meat, at least by FDA standards.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Most standard cooking methods could not be used to achieve the results in the table [...]

At the top of the table, perhaps, but certainly further down they can (and are!). Naturally there are many factors at work and the FDA is not attempting to compensate for all of them. But if, for example) you hold the center of a loin roast at 135 for ten minutes, say by cooking it in a smoker set to 225 degrees, you will have a perfectly safe piece of meat, at least by FDA standards.

oh, absolutely... it's no problem when you get into the medium-rare range of pork - you can even do it on a grill - I've cooked a pork tenderloin on the grill and the center has definitely been at 135 for 4-5 minutes before starting to cool down...

The problem comes in when you want to attempt to do "rare" pork - like 125F - holding for 4.5 hours... the next question is - would anyone want to eat pork that rare?? I wonder what it would be like, taste and texture... But, again, I don't know if the 125F pork is so safe - although the trichinea would be taken care of, salmonella would still be a problem (if it was present in the first place, of course).. plus, I don't think it's ever a great idea to have something sitting in the hotspot of the danger zone for that long... then again, I think there's a higher chance of the pork being tainted with salmonella or listeria than with trichinea nowadays...

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As I recall trichnia. are killed by 137ºF, at that temp its still pink...But safe.Google USDA/Pork/ Temp,  and you will probably find it..

Bud

Like killing pathogenic bacteria, it is time at a particular temp one needs to be sure of a kill step.

For trichanae:

F---------C-------Time

130 ... 54.5 ... 30 min

132 ... 55.6 ... 15 min

134 ... 56.7 ... 6 min

136 ... 57.8 ... 3 min

138 ... 58.9 ... 2 min

140 ... 60 ..... 1 min

142 .... 61.1 .. 1 min

144 ... 62.2 ... Instant

You need to hold at 137 for 2.3 min to achieve kill. Hardly an issue if roasting or grilling as the bump in temp during the rest covers this and then some.

Kevin

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