Pastured heritage pork can be used for all your favourite pork recipes. But note that there are some differences – this is NOT your grocery store pork!
My pigs have lived their lives foraging outdoors, running and playing, developing their muscle tissue. Industrially-raised pigs do not have this opportunity and hence their muscles remain soft. My meat is more nutritious and tasty thanks to the sunshine and forages. However, you may wish to cook it longer and slower at a low temperature to achieve the desired tenderness.
My pigs produce pork that is darker and denser – not pumped with water. Hence it is important to keep it moist. Don’t overcook!
Loins – Make it medium:
To enjoy your loin roast at its juicy best, cook it to medium so there’s still a hint of pink in the centre. Contrary to popular belief, pork doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through, and overcooking makes the meat tough and dry. An internal temperature of 140 F is ideal when it is removed from the oven.
Let it rest
Cover with foil and set it aside to rest for about 10 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to settle, which helps keep the meat tender and moist. It will continue to cook – the final temperature should be about 150 F.
Understanding Pork Chops
I cut my chops 1 inch thick so they stay juicy. You may see a letter marked on the package. That is because there are 3 kinds of bone-in chops : sirloin (S) which comes from the part closest to the ham (excellent for brining and cooking slower); centre (C) which looks like a small t-bone and often includes a portion of the tenderloin; rib (R) which is much like a centre chop but without the tenderloin (great for BBQ).
This cut is often cured and smoked to make ham. However, it may be enjoyed by oven cooking, slow and low with 2 layers of foil. Because it is very lean, the trick is to keep it moist. Slather with a glaze prior to cooking and serve with a tasty dip. If you have a smoked ham, just heat through for 25 minutes per lb at 275 F.
What to do with Side Pork
Side pork is from the belly of the pig. Most of us know it as bacon, which may contain nitrates, nitrites, artificial smoke flavour and other chemicals. My side pork is pure pork belly with no additives. Place it into a medium-hot fry pan. Add some salt part way through cooking and fry until slightly crisp. Drain on a paper towel and serve.
What to do with Hocks and Shoulder Roasts
Ideal for the slow cooker – braise 6 hours at low temperature with a jar of wine sauerkraut or apples or onions or whatever you fancy. Lovely dark, dense meat falls off the bone.