5 Methods to Check if Pork is Done
No, I am not Sherlock Holmes. I am not his relative either. However, I have an experienced pair of eyeballs that can tell if the pork is done or not. So, my pork meat is not overcooked or undercooked when it hits the table. Yes, my meat always shines. Even my grumpy uncle will echo this thing. Well, I am pork fan. I have shopped, smelled, cooked, and eaten pork meat all my life. So, I can tell just by looking at it, if it’s half-baked or not. My pork chops always come out juicy, flavorful, and delicious.
Unfortunately, I cannot pass on this skill set to you because this stuff can be learned only through experience. However, I am happy to contribute to your arsenal of kitchen skills by sharing some ingenious ways to reliably gauge if the pork is cooked to perfection or not. Of course, one can use a thermometer, but there are a ton of hardworking families out there who don’t own a thermometer or any other fancy device out there. So, it makes sense to learn the difference between delicious and inedible meat without the use of a fancy device.
5 Methods to Check if Pork is Cooked
1. Piercing Method
Before I knew any other method, I knew this piercing method. This technique is as simple as it gets. All you have to do is prick a small portion of the pork with a knife or fork to check if the juices that come out run clear or not. Remember, not to prick the tool too deep. We don’t want all the valuable juices to flow out. If the juices are clear, you should know that you have done a good job. If it’s not clear, don’t fret. Simply return the meat to the heat source for more cooking.
2. Touch Method
My wife uses this method. She thinks that it’s better than the piercing method that I use. I won’t disagree with her on her face, but I will mention my disagreement through this post. Anyways, you decide whether you want to try this method or not. So, here’s how you check whether the pork is done or not through your touch. Simply press the pork meat with your fingertips. Upon touch, the portion should feel firm to you, but it should spring back to its original shape. Remember, it may release some juices which can further tell you the health of the pork. The juices that escape must be clear, or they should have a faint pink colored tint to it. Meats that are half-done will release dark pink juices. Pork meat that’s fully cooked will feel fairly firm on touch, and it will release little to no juices at all.
3. Shrink Test
As they say, “Size matters.” In this method, you will check the meat size. Remember, heat can cause the meat to shrink in size. The meat part that’s supported by the bone will not shrink much. The pieces that are not supported by the bone will experience noticeable shrinkage. It’s easy for us to get carried away by the lovely grill marks that appear on the outside. Remember, if it looks nice and charred from the outside, but there is no reduction in size, it’s probably not ready to be served on the table. On the other hand, if there is significant shrinkage in size, it’s an indication that your meat is overcooked. So, keep an eye on the size of the pork to tell you if the meat is properly cooked or not.
4. Taste Test
Now, this method is a no-brainer. You simply have to remove one bone from the end of the pork and then taste it. From the taste, you will be able to tell if the meat is done or not. The problem with this method is that you will have to keep tasting one after another to see if the meat is ready or not. By the time the pork is ready, there won’t be much left for the guests. So, someone like me is not an ideal candidate for this taste test. Being a pork fan, I might end up eating more than enough. This method should work fine when you intend to cook the meat for yourself. Even if you finish everything during the taste test, you won’t end up with a ‘yuck’ look on your face.
5. Thermometer Reading
To throw all the hassle out of the window, you can always use a meat thermometer to read the temperature for you. It’s not necessary, but it’s the fastest and easiest way to tell if the pork is cooked well or not. You can forget about timers, charts, or any other taste test. A good thermometer can deliver accurate and unwavering reading without you throwing an arm and a leg. That being said, a thermometer works best only when you know the exact spot to stick it. While using a thermometer, make sure that it doesn’t touch the bone, or else it will reflect incorrect readings. Your best bet would be to insert the device into the center of the thickest part of the meat. That would be the bull’s eye spot for the meter reading.
The key takeaway over here is that you shouldn’t overcook or undercook the pork. You have to cook it the way it should be. So, it’s important for you to tell when the pork is ready. This isn’t a rocket science thing. However, most of the methods outlined above will require a fair amount of practice and experience. You will get more accurate with time. Unless you are confident with your skills, you can use a thermometer as your back up tool to see how you faired with your accuracy. It’s one of the best ways to refine your accuracy. Over time, you can dump the thermometer because you will be skilled enough to make a reliable gauge on your own in a fast, easy, and efficient manner.