If there’s one cooking myth that simply refuses to die, it’s the theory that all pork needs to be completely nuked, with no trace of pink, or else you’ll get sick. Why? Because this was common practice for centuries, and many of us grew up while this was still true. But times have changed, and so has the pork we eat. It’s perfectly fine to cook pork to medium, or even medium rare if you so choose.
Pigs have always had a reputation for being trash-eaters, and for a very long time this was the case. Back in the day, if you didn’t cook pork until it was tough and gray there was a chance that you could be infected with all sorts of nasty stuff, especially trichinosis, a very unpleasant parasite.
Nowadays, however, commercial pigs are raised in much the same way as cows are, and the trichina worm (which transmits trichinosis) is virtually non-existent in the U.S. pork industry. You can cook pork just like you cook beef or lamb and not have to worry about getting sick (Yes, there’s always a risk of contracting disease from other pathogens, like salmonella, but no more than eating a runny egg yolk). While you’re free to even cook it to medium rare if you like, we suggest you stick to medium (about 140-145 degrees), because medium-rare pork can tend to be a little chewy. Cooked to medium, it’s tender and juicy. Cooked to well done, it’s shoe leather. You can find 10 great pork dishes here.