Beyond its well-known designation as “the other white meat,” pork offers an affordable and versatile option for your summer grill-outs. Packed with protein and B vitamins, lean cuts of pork, such as chops and loins, provide top-notch options for health-conscious meat lovers. Though most of us are familiar with sizzling, pan-fried bacon or slow-roasted pork shoulder, firing up the grill to cook pork is a lesser-known method of preparation that can impart incredible flavor and contribute to that “summertime vibe.” Simple Truth® is your best source for fresh, natural pork that is free of antibiotics and added hormones. Grab a package of natural pork chops, country ribs, or pork tenderloin and remember these three tips for grilling succulent, juicy pork delights:
1. Take its temperature. Due to the lean nature of many pork cuts, they can be easy to dry out if overcooked. Checking the internal temperature near the end of the cooking process takes the guesswork out of grilling and is important for food safety. Pork is thoroughly cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 145° F. Make sure to check the temperature in the thickest part of the meat, avoiding contact with the bone, and ensuring that the probe is inserted one inch into the meat (or up to the notch on your thermometer stem). Because pork must be fully cooked for food safety, be careful to keep your grill heat moderate to give the pork time to cook through without burning.
2. Focus on flavor. Pork is a mild-flavored meat, making it extremely versatile in terms of potential preparations. Marinating pork is a great way to prepare it for grilling, as this ensures a deeply-infused flavor that is heightened by the fire of the grill. Other options for serving pork include topping with fruit-based salsas or chutneys, or incorporating fresh herbs that grill well, such as rosemary. If you can handle the heat, coat the pork in a blackening spice, grill to perfection, and pair the punchy spiced exterior with a cool pineapple-mango salsa!
3. Rest is best. As with all meats, giving the cooked portion a chance to rest before serving allows the juices to settle back into the fibers of the meat and contributes to a juicier end product. Cover your grilled pork with foil and let rest on the counter for 10 minutes before taking that first mouthwatering bite. If you can’t wait that long- we understand!
So, the next time you fire up the grill, will you pick pork?
Allison Kuhn RD, LD is a corporate dietitian for The Kroger Company, working daily to educate customers about Kroger products and how they can fit into a variety of special diets and healthy lifestyles. Allison attended culinary school at The Midwest Culinary Institute before graduating from The University of Cincinnati and becoming a Registered Dietitian in 2013. Allison is a Certified Food Safety Manager by the National Restaurant Association and is currently working towards her Masters in Nutrition Science at The University of Cincinnati, planning to finish early next year. Her past experience has included working as a college chemistry tutor, researcher, and clinical dietitian. Outside of her career activities, Allison’s interests include cooking for and entertaining friends and family, traveling, and enjoying the many unique restaurants and food venues Cincinnati has to offer.
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