Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pork: Just Take It Easy

Pork: The Other White Meat.
Pork: Be Inspired. 
Pork, the one you love.  No, wait.
Pork:  You're Overcooking It.  And, we knew it.  

Yes, not only is pork not a white meat, the bloody USDA (pun intended) has finally come clean and officially declared that pork is safe to eat if cooked to 145F, not the disastrously moisture reducing 160F.  

In other news, John Boehner is sensitive.

Look:  we all knew it, but it became so ingrained in our consciousness that it's like the story of the elephant who is able to be tethered by only a loose rope.  We can't disobey.  Well, my fellow carnivores, let thy spirit be free!  Wok on the wild side!  Waltz into your local bisto and proudly order the pork tenderloin...dum dum DUM!...medium!  I mean, after all, that's how we've been serving it to you, so we might as well come clean.  Yes, I said it: a chef/kitchen HATES to have food sent back, especially when it's not even been tasted, but more than that, we hate to send food out that's overcooked by your request.  So, we cook it until it is "done" and sauce over it to hide the perceived pink.  Think I'm kidding?  Ask a guy in white.

I realize I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but in simple terms, cuts of meat that are lower in, or even devoid of fat  (see buffalo, venison, elk, boar) are simply unpalatable when cooked to well-done and devoid of color.  But, you continue to ask for them that way.  Insert line about sheep and pork here.

So, what about the cuts with more fat, like the shoulder, picnic, belly, butt, osso buco, etc?  Well, duh.  Fat is flavor.  And, let's be honest- a mouthful of meat that is laden with too much fat is just nasty.  Cooking is about balance.  Cook those cuts of meat slower, lower and longer.  Let the fat render slowly to season the meat, while providing the optimal amount of flavor.

 That's all, folks.

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