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November 10, 2013

Food Thread: Pork Tartare -- It's What's For Dinner [CBD]

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Not really. But not because I am afraid of getting sick. The days of pork-borne trichinosis are long gone, at least in commercial pork. Sure, if you go up the road to your neighbor who raises a few pigs; don't eat that chop cooked rare.

The odds are much better that those pigs have the trichina worm boring merrily through their muscles. That's because family farms and small producers tend to feed their pigs scraps from pretty much anywhere, and that's exactly how the life cycle of the trichina is kept going.

Commercial producers cook the pig food, use vegetarian feed (or both), test often, and haven't given anyone trichinosis in so long that the 10 or so cases each year in this country probably come from wild game, or are contracted abroad.

I'm not suggesting that you cook those nice fat pork chops to 125°, but you certainly don't have to cook them to the consistency of shoe leather.

I cook pork to about 140°, which ends up at 145° after resting. If my wife isn't eating it, I'll shoot for about 135°-140°. At that temperature there is still a bit of pink in the middle, and the meat is still nice and juicy and flavorful.


Interestingly, rare pork does not have a pleasant texture, unlike rare beef. I'm not sure why, although I suspect that it's in part because the beef we tend to eat rare is of high quality -- and the equivalent pork tends to be from the small producers and boutique farms whose pork I would not eat rare unless I was 100% sure that it had been frozen at very low temperatures for a few weeks. That kills the trichina worms. But even then, why bother, when it is perfect at medium?

Next week: Chicken Tartare.

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posted by Open Blogger at 02:50 PM

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