Some people say that it is unsafe to eat pork chop that is not well cooked. But some say it is safe to eat. In this article, I will discuss medium-rare pork chops. Is it safe to eat?
Yes, times have already changed. Pork chops cooked medium rare are now safe to eat, especially if you cook the thickest part of the meat at 145°F. Then allow it to rest for another three minutes before eating it.
Pink pork chops are fine as long as you cook them at a certain temperature. Use a food or meat thermometer to ensure you have cooked them right. Poke it on the thickest part of the pork chop. If the thermometer registers the right cooking temperature, you can eat them, and you won’t have any problems.
Read on to learn more about medium-rare pork chops and whether they are safe to eat or not.
Medium Rare Pork Chop – Is It Safe to Eat?
Safe to Eat Medium-rare or Pink Pork Chops
Can you eat medium-rare pork? Yes, it is now safe to eat medium-rare or pink pork chops. You won’t suffer any digestive problems or other problems relating to parasite-laden meat. Just be sure that you have cooked their thickest meat parts to 145°F before consuming them.
When eaten, today’s pork meat rarely causes problems. So, you can safely eat medium-rare or pink pork chops. Cooked medium-rare, pork is tender to eat, delicious, and healthy.
No Need to Worry About the Trichinae Parasite
You no longer have to worry about the trichinae parasite – the dreaded dangerous pathogen that caused serious illnesses in the past.
Cook Your Pork Chops Medium-rare at 145°F
This parasite cannot live beyond 137°F. So if you cook your pork chops medium rare at 145°F, you are overcooking all the trichinae parasites inside the pork meat by about 8°F. There is no way they can affect your health if you ensure that you cook your meat at this temperature.
People were afraid of eating medium-rare pork because of this parasite. They need to update their information about these parasites.
The chances of contracting trichinosis or trichinellosis are also very rare today. Some even say that this threat no longer exists. You will see why this is so as you keep on reading this article.
More on Medium Rare Pork Chop
Stop the Cooking Once the Meat’s Internal Temperature Reads 145°F or 63°C
If you are cooking solid cuts of pork for steaks, roasts, or pork chops, you can safely stop the cooking process when the internal temperature of the meat reads 145°F or 63°C. But you still have to complete the cooking process by allowing the meat to stand for 3 minutes before serving.
A 137°F or 58°C Heat Can Kill the Trichinae Parasite
At 137°F or 58°C, the heat can kill the trichinae parasite. If you add the resting period of about 3 minutes, the temperature of cooked pork chops will reach approximately 155°F. This temperature is well above the required temperature. This process will eliminate any risk.
Different Process of Pig Farming or Husbandry
Still, many people ask: “can you cook pork chops medium rare?” They are not aware of the modern process of pig farming or husbandry. People assume that the way they grow pigs is still how they do it today.
In the past, the expert’s recommendation is for people to cook their pork until it does not show any signs of pinkness. This is the advice from the US Department of Agriculture until 2011.
But in pig farming, things have already changed. Pink pork and medium-rare pork chops are now safer to eat.
Is It Still Necessary to Cook Pork Well Done?
In the olden days, people told each other that they should never leave any pink color in the pork they were cooking because that would make them sick. So, everybody was cooking their pork chops, steaks, and roasts well done.
This has been true for the last 30 years. People were cooking their pork meats well done for fear of getting sick.
Thankfully, many reports have debunked this idea of ‘only cooking pork well done.’ And there is now a growing number of people that have discovered the amazing difference in the taste and flavor of medium-rare pork chops and well-done pork chops.
The advantages of cooking pork chops medium rare are many. For instance, you don’t need to use apple sauces to improve the taste of dry and tasteless, well-done pork chops. Just a simple seasoning of salt and pepper will be enough to supplement the moistness of the pork meat.
How Has the Production of Pork Changed Over the Years?
Some changes happened in pig farming, resulting in a big change in how pork should be cooked. Pigs are now raised in pig farms completely different from how they were raised in the past.
Growers No Longer Feed Them with Raw Food or Meat
Pig growers no longer feed them with raw food or meat, which often was already spoilt. That’s why the trichinae parasite was ‘ruling the roost,’ so to speak. Perhaps small pig growers in third-world countries are still doing it this way.
Pig Inspection for Trichinae Parasite
But not anymore with big pig farms and pig growers in developed countries. For instance, In Norway, they inspect every pig for trichinae parasite. The last time they found a pig infected with this parasite was in 1994.
Trichinosis No Longer Exists
In other words, trichinosis, the illness caused by the trichinae parasite, no longer exists. This disease is the primary reason people are afraid of cooking pork chops, pork roast, and other pork meats pink or medium-rare.
Restrictions on the Types of Food for Pigs
Researchers were able to establish that feeding pigs with ‘slops’ contributed mainly to the problem of trichinae parasite infection. So, the pig industry enacted certain restrictions on the types of food they could give to commercially raised pigs.
Since the industry adopted this change, trichinosis infections among people who eat undercooked pig meats have nearly gone to zero.
2008 to 2012 Trichinosis Infection in the United States
From 2008 to 2012, only ten incidents of trichinosis infection in the United States were due to commercially grown pigs. Only five of those incidences were due to undercooked pork meat.
Suppose you consider that in 2017, the meat industry in the United States has produced more than 26 billion pounds of pork. In that case, it is easy to see that the trichinosis threat is already virtually eliminated.
Imagine having only five cases of trichinosis in the past four years with all those billion pounds of pork consumed in the United States.
Data Is From Commercially Grown Pork
However, you should also consider that this data is from the commercially grown pork and not from the homegrown sector, which still feeds its pigs with food waste and raw meats from wild game animals.
Modern Husbandry Techniques
Today, growers use modern husbandry techniques to grow pigs commercially. There are more advances in how they are kept, fed, and treated. That’s why chefs are more comfortable now with commercially raised pork.
Chefs Are Aware of the Changes in the Pig Industry
The Urban Kitchen Group executive chef in San Diego, California, Joe Magnanelli, says that the pigs they use came from Salmon Creek Farms, a farm cooperative.
All the pigs have the same breed, and they are fed the same wheat and barley diet. Most importantly, they are all kept in sanitary conditions.
Thankfully, many chefs in the country are already aware of these beneficial changes to the pig industry and are pushing the move to encourage consumers to look at medium rare pork chops with less suspicion.
National Pork Board’s Announcement
The announcement from the National Pork Board regarding the new pork-temperature guidelines released in 2011 assures consumers that eating medium-rare pork chops and pork meats are now safe to eat.
Guy Fieri, a well-known restaurateur and TV personality, says that home cooks will now feel confident with the news that they can now enjoy medium-rare pork, just as they do with their other dishes.
Again, is it safe to eat medium-rare pork chop? In the past, nutritionists and the USDA recommended cooking meat until its internal temperature was 160°F, slightly pink meat. Now, restaurant chefs cook medium-rare pork until its internal temperature is 145°F.
Benefits of Eating Medium Rare Pork
Juicy, Succulent, and Tender Pork Chop
Cooking pork chops well done will result in a dry, tasteless, and chewy piece of meat. So, you have to cover it with apple sauce to make it tasty. If you cook it medium rare, you no longer need to use plenty of apple sauce. It will already taste saucy and delicious, just by itself.
If you start cooking your pork chops at 145°F and let them rest for another 3 minutes before serving, you will find them as juicy, succulent, and tender as any beef steak cooked medium-rare.
Reduce the Cooking Time Little by Little
If you are still hesitant about doing this, you can start by compromising a little at a time. Reduce your cooking time little by little until you find your sweet spot. The meat should not be as too done as you previously did it.
And when you are already used to it, go for the full 145°F cooking temperature and the following three-minute rest. Your pork chops will be safe to eat; rest assured.
Buy a Food or Meat Thermometer
You should buy a food or meat thermometer if you can afford it. You can use it not just for cooking pork chops but also for other foods. This tool will ensure that all the pork chops you are eating are safe.
Once you love the taste of medium-rare pork chops, this instrument will ensure that you’ll never overcook them. You’ll get that excellent taste every time.
Is It Safe to Eat Medium Rare Pork Chops
It is now safe to eat medium-rare pork chops regarding health standards. Gone are the days when the USDA and nutritionists recommended that you should cook at around 160°F.
Restaurateurs and chefs are leading the pack in cooking pork and pork chops at around 145°F, effectively cooking them medium-rare. The question is: does that make them safe to eat?
A Temperature of 145°F Is More Than Enough to Kill the Trichinae Parasite
If you consider that the dread trichinae parasite cannot withstand 137°F, then a cooking temperature of 145°F will be more than enough to kill them. From a health standpoint, pork chops cooked medium rare at 145°F are perfectly safe to eat.
People Tend to Overcook Pork Because of the Fear of Trichinella
Martin Bucknavage, a senior food safety extension associate at the Department of Food Science at Penn State, has this to say about cooking pork. He says that people tend to overcook pork because of fear of trichinella.
Many people don’t even use a food thermometer when they cook pork. Perhaps they overcook their pork to get trichinella out of their minds. So, Americans do not think twice about cooking their pork until they are entirely white. They settle with shoe-leather pork to avoid getting sick.
National Pork Board in the United States Are Bent on Changing the Consumers’ Minds
The National Pork Board in the United States is bent on changing the minds of consumers regarding eating less-done pork meat. This organization recommends that people cook pork chops and pork loins up to 145°F internal temperature.
Allow the Pork to Rest for Three Minutes Before Serving
Pork cooked at this temperature will still retain its pink color. After reaching the 145°F mark, you should allow the pork to rest for another three minutes before serving. They have changed the accepted standard.
Up to 2011, the standard in the food industry is to cook pork to 160°F to be safe for consumption. The dreaded trichinella parasite primarily influenced that standard. Now you know that this parasite is no longer a threat because commercial pigs are raised in modern ways.
Medium-rare Movement Is a Trend
Still, some disagree. One of them is the chef-partner of Pulino’s Bar and Pizzeria in New York, Nate Appleman. Nate believes that this medium-rare movement is just a trend. He says that if the meat is medium cooked, its texture is better. At lower temperatures, pork meat can be chewy, he added.
Recipe for Perfect Pork Chops
If you want pork chops to be juicy and tender, you must follow this gluten-free, paleo pork chops recipe. It is suitable for two people:
For Pork Chops
- Thick-cut pork chops, two pieces, about 1.5 inches thick each
- Black pepper
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- Black pepper
For the Pan Sauce
- 1/2 cup liquid (can consist of lemon juice, apple juice, wine, apple cider vinegar, broth, OJ, or hard cider)
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves
- Two sprigs of rosemary or thyme
- One teaspoon of arrowroot powder (optional)
How to Cook
- Dry the pork chops by patting them with a dry towel. This is important, so don’t skip this step.
- Get the kosher salt and black pepper. Sprinkle them generously on both sides of the pork chops.
- Heat olive oil on a skillet using medium heat. If you want to whisk up a pan sauce, never use a nonstick pan because you may scratch it.
- Set the pork chops carefully on the pan when the oil is hot.
- Cook one side of the chops for 3 to 4 minutes. Then flip the other side of the chops and cook them for 5 minutes.
- Get a meat thermometer and check the chops’ internal temperature. Go for 145°F, which will make them medium-rare.
- Once cooked, remove the chops from the pan and allow them to rest for a few minutes under a foil tent or a plate.
- While the chops are resting, make your pan sauce.
- If there are bits in the sauce, keep them in the pan. Maintain medium heat and add the herb, garlic, and other aromatics. Saute from 30 to 60 seconds until the sauce is fragrant. If you need extra fat, add butter or oil to the pan.
- Deglaze the saucepan by adding an acid or other liquid. Whisk all the ingredients until all, if not most, of the bits, are blended into that sauce. If you want your sauce thicker, add some bits of arrowroot powder into the broth before adding it to the pan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since people are not used to eating medium-rare pork chops, they will have many questions in their minds about their safety. Hopefully, the answers to these questions will allay your fears about eating medium-rare pork chops:
Is It Safe to Eat Medium-rare Pork Chops?
Yes, you can now safely eat medium-rare pork chops. The restrictions of long ago regarding the eating of medium-rare pork are now slowly being updated.
Today’s chefs and restaurateurs believe that when you cook the internal parts of the pork chop at 145°F, it will be safe to eat. Resting the pork chop for another three minutes after it is cooked will make it safe to eat.
What Can Happen to Me If I Eat Medium-rare Pork Chop?
If you eat medium-rare pork chop from modern pig farms, nothing bad will happen to you. Modern commercial pig raisers are not like the pig growers of the past. They don’t feed ‘slots’ to their pigs but clean and sanitized food.
Pig growers of the past feed raw food and raw meat to their pigs. Sometimes those foods are already spoiled. That’s the reason why their pork meats are contaminated with trichinella.
Modern pig growers use modern-day methods of raising their pigs. They don’t anymore harbor these deadly parasites inside their pork meats.
What Is the Benefit of Eating Medium-rare Pork Chops?
One of the benefits of eating medium-rare pork chops is getting a saucy, succulent, and juicy pork meat that tastes better. Cooking pork chops well done makes them very leather chewy and unpalatable to eat.
In Closing: Can I Safely Eat Medium Rare Pork Chop?
Yes, you can safely eat medium-rare pork chops. We’re no longer living in the past when trichinosis sowed fear among pork chop lovers.
There are no worries about eating pink pork chops today, especially if their thickest meat parts are cooked at 145°F. After cooking, allow the pork chops to rest before enjoying them. Medium rare pork chops taste yummier.