For juicy, tender and flavorful pork, it might be time to toss out Grandma’s advice. According to the new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines, cooking a pork chop, roast and tenderloin can be safely prepared to medium rare at a final internal cooked temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit as measured by a food thermometer, followed by three minutes of rest time.
The new cooking temperature will produce pork that’s succulent and tender—not an over-cooked hockey puck—and will likely yield a finished product that is pinker in color than what most of you are accustomed to.
Restaurants have been following this standard for nearly 10 years. The new temperature recommendation reflects advances in both food safety and nutritional content for today’s pork, which is much leaner than Grandma’s, and even Mom’s pork. On average, the most common cuts of pork have 27 percent less saturated fat than the same cuts 20 years ago.
Both the USDA and the National Pork Board recommend using a digital cooking thermometer to ensure an accurate final temperature. Pre-cooked ham can be reheated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or enjoyed cold on sandwiches.