As the grilling season officially kicks off this weekend, Illinois pig farmers want to know, are pork chops on the menu? According to a recent study, pork enthusiasts can now improve taste, juiciness and tenderness by cooking fresh pork cuts to the USDA standard, 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and National Pork Board (NPB) recently funded a study with the University of Illinois meat science department, testing varying degrees of doneness in pork chops. Consumers were given pork chops grilled to various temperatures to see which one they enjoyed the most. The result? Unanimously, consumers prefer pork chops cooked to an internal temperature of 145° F, which equivalates to medium-rare with a blush pink center.
“We no longer have the need to overcook pork and dry it out,” says Pam Janssen, IPPA President from Minonk. “You will have a better eating experience if you cook fresh cuts to 145. I challenge you to try it this weekend.”
Pork today is very lean, making it important to not overcook and follow the recommended pork cooking temperature. To check doneness properly, use a digital cooking thermometer to measure the temperature at the thickest part of the cut without touching any bone. Once you have reached the desired internal temperature, remove from heat and let it rest for three minutes. Fresh cut muscle meats such as pork chops, pork roasts, pork loin, and tenderloin should measure 145° F, ensuring the maximum amount of flavor.
IPPA just released a video highlighting the study. With the help of Illinois Instagram influencer, Grillin’ With Dad, more people will now know the best way to enjoy chops. You can find the video titled, “How Do You Like Your Pork Chops? 145 Please” on YouTube and Facebook. Also check out @GrillinWithDad on Instagram for pork inspiration. Happy grilling!