Spanish-Style Grilled Pork Loin

Pork loin is always a  big hit in our house. It’s delicious, lean, healthy and lends itself to all types of savory flavors. When it’s cold outside I sear and then roast the pork, but as soon as Spring arrives I head out to the grill. Not only am I fascinated by the alchemy of the grill, I love not having dishes to wash, so I am always trying to figure out how to make our entire dinner outside. The tasty marinade bastes the pork and then transforms into a delicious sauce for your dinner…and a vinaigrette for a quick salad later in the week. Now that’s getting some serious mileage from a small cooking investment!

I served my kids the pork without the sauce. If you have adventurous eaters, I envy you! You could also serve the sauce in a little ramekin alongside the pork and encourage them to give it a try.

Spanish-Style Grilled Pork Loin
Serves: serves 8 - 10
When you are feeding a crowd you can't go wrong with pork loin. It's a crowd pleaser and so much easier to manage on the grill then lots of burgers or chicken breasts. If you don't have oregano, either thyme or rosemary would work equally well in this marinade. Happy cooking!
  • 1 cup Oregano leaves
  • ¼ cup Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • ¾ cup Olive oil
  • ¼ cup Sherry vinegar
  • 4½ - 5 lb Pork loin, trimmed (see note)
  1. In a food processor combine oregano leaves and garlic and pulse until a paste is formed.
  2. Add Kosher salt, olive oil and sherry vinegar and pulse until the dressing is emulsified.
  3. Place the pork in a pyrex dish, poke about 10 holes with a fork in each side of the pork and spread both sides with approximately ⅓ cup of the dressing.
  4. Transfer the rest of the marinade to a mason jar - now you have dressing for your pork.
  5. Cover the pork with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  6. Spray grill with olive oil or canola spray and heat to high. Let grill preheat until the temperature gauge reads at least 300 degrees.
  7. Place pork on the grill, I like to put it crossways for grill marks, and grill over high heat, turning every few minutes for about 15 minutes total (this is the searing part of the cook time).
  8. Turn heat to low and continue cooking, turning the pork every 15 minutes, for about 45 minutes longer.
  9. The internal temperature of the pork should be 145 degrees when you take it off the grill. Let it rest for about 10 minutes so the juices can redistribute, the internal temperature will continue to rise.
  10. Thinly slice to serve (the meat will be slightly pink in the center).
Pork loin - it's important to trim not only the excess fat and the silver skin off the pork. The silver skin is tough and inedible when cooked, so you definitely want to cut it off.


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Healthy Pulled Pork

This recipe thunderbolt really happened by accident. I was trying to make pulled pork last minute and the grocery store was out of pork butt. Tragedy! I know, not a horrible thing, but what was I going to do? Well, I decided to grab a pork loin and see what I could do with it. Turns out the pork loin made a delicious and much healthier pulled pork. The one change, since it has so little fat, you really want the shredded pork to sit overnight in the braising liquid. So, this is a recipe you need to start 1 day before you want to eat it.

Try my barbecue sauce, it’s great on the pulled pork.

Classic Barbecue Sauce

Healthy Pulled Pork
Serves: 12
I used a slow cooker, but you can just as easily make this pork low and slow in the oven. I've included instructions for both methods. The most important part of this recipe is to make sure the cooked and shredded pork go back in the braising liquid overnight. It's the best way to add the flavor that you're missing when you don't have the fat from a pork butt. Happy cooking!
  • ½ cup Brown sugar, light
  • 2 tbsp Mustard, ground
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp Paprika
  • 2 tbsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp Onion powder
  • 6 lb Pork loin, trimmed of fat and cut into 4 equal pieces
  • 3 cups Apple juice
  • ¼ cup Liquid smoke
  • Accompaniments - barbecue sauce, potato rolls.
  1. In a small bowl combine mustard, Kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder.
  2. Rub the 4 pieces of pork with the spice rub. If you have extra time, you could refrigerate the pork overnight for additional flavor.
  3. Slow cooker: place the pork in the slow cooker and add apple juice and liquid smoke. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 - 7 hours.
  4. In the oven: preheat oven to 300. Place pork in a large 4 quart baking dish (you could also use a Dutch oven), add apple juice and liquid smoke and cook for 2½ - 3 hours.
  5. When the pork is cool enough, shred into bite-size pieces.
  6. Place shredded pork back in the slow cooker or baking dish in the braising liquid and refrigerate overnight.
  7. To serve reheat pork in a covered dish in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.

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Easy Baked Ham

Ham is always a big hit in our house! It’s so easy to cook and I can feed a lot of hungry kids. When I’m making a ham just for our family, I don’t bother with a glaze, but I’m including my favorite glaze recipe here as well. To make this recipe even simpler, I call for a spiral-cut ham, so you don’t need to spend a lot of time carving the ham. With this recipe I am hopeful you’re encouraged to make family Sunday dinner a tradition in your house.

Easy Baked Ham
Serves: 10-12
Behold the 2 ingredient recipe! Of course, you can make the glaze, but I only take that step for company or a holiday - otherwise the kids are so happy to just have normal, delicious ham. Check out my improvised cutting board - I don't own a cutting board with a rim, so whenever I need to carve a protein I simply place a flexible cutting board inside a rimmed sheet pan and I am ready to go. Happy cooking!
  • 7 - 8 lb Spiral Ham
  • 1 cup Apple juice
  • 1 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup Brown sugar, light
  1. Preheat oven to 250.
  2. Place ham in a large shallow baking dish (I have a 4 quart Pyrex dish that I use in this recipe).
  3. Pour apple juice over the ham.
  4. Cover ham with parchment paper followed by aluminum foil tightly crimped to the baking dish.
  5. Cook until warmed through, 1¾ - 2 hours.
  6. Carefully remove to a lined cutting board to cool slightly before carving.
  7. If glazing, whisk vinegar, mustard and brown sugar in a small bowl.
  8. Slowly pour over the ham, using a pastry or basting brush to get the glaze inside the spiral slices.
  9. Increase oven temperature to 425 and return the ham to the oven for 15 minutes.
  10. Finally, carefully remove the ham to a lined cutting board to cool before carving.


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Spicy Honey Pulled Pork

I LOVE pulled pork…it is so flavorful and a great option for feeding a crowd (or our family). Not enjoying any fat on my food, I shred it neurotically, so you’re only left with lean pork. And it freezes beautifully, so you can make a big batch and save some for a future meal. Usually I gravitate to Southern flavors, lots of brown sugar, cumin, celery seed. Sometimes I go out on a limb with still more cumin, but amp up the chipotle chili powder and the pork is ready for a Mexican-inspired meal. Inspired by a food article (I am constantly reading), I went in a totally different direction, and created my FAVORITE pulled pork ever! With hints of chili paste and honey this pulled pork is Asian-inspired and incredible! In our house, we enjoy this pork over rice, with noodles, in quesadillas, and best of all on homemade nachos!

Best nachos ever! Spicy Honey Pulled Pork with black beans, shredded cheese and homemade nachos.
A picture can never convey the mind-blowing deliciousness of this dish!

Spicy Honey Pulled Pork
Serves: 20
Not a fan of heat? You can make this dish less spicy by reducing the amount of chili paste. My recipe calls for 4 tablespoons, try 2 or 3 instead. Happy cooking!
  • 2 Onions, yellow, medium, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 12 Garlic cloves, smashed
  • 10 lb. Pork shoulder roast or butt
  • 2 tbsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Chipotle chili powder
  • 2 cups plus ¼ cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups plus 1 cup Orange juice
  • 4 tbsp Ground chili paste
  • 1 cup Honey
  1. Preheat oven to 250.
  2. Lay sliced onions and garlic in a large Dutch oven or casserole dish.
  3. Rub pork all over with Kosher salt and chipotle chili powder.
  4. Place pork in cooking vessel, pour 2 cups of Apple cider vinegar and 2 cups of orange juice over the pork.
  5. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and cook in the oven for 6 hours.
  6. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer to a foil-lined sheet pan. Let cool at least 30 minutes, until you can easily shred the pork.
  7. In the meantime, pour the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Reserve 3 cups of the braising liquid, discarding the rest. Add remaining apple cider vinegar and orange juice. Whisk in ground chili paste and honey. Set aside.
  8. Shred the pork, discarding the fat, and place in a large casserole dish. Pour liquid flavoring mix over the pork, and using your hands, throughly combine.
  9. Serve immediately, or refridgerate for up to 3 days. Rewarm in a 300 degree oven before serving.


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Lemongrass Pork & Rice Bowl

This pork manages to be elegant and delicious at the same time. Somehow I am always able to knock out a great pork tenderloin, but pork chops just never work out for me, so I am very loyal to this cut of pork. Luckily for me, pork tenderloin is a favorite in our house, and the leftovers are so yummy with more rice, in a salad, a lettuce wrap…I am a little fanatical about my dressings and this one is so good. The lemongrass (from a tube by the way) adds so much flavor, and then all of the fresh cilantro…I always make a double batch and store the extra in the fridge for a future dinner.

Lemongrass Pork & Rice Bowl
Serves: 8
Among the many reasons I love Asian food...clean, bright flavors, lots of fresh herbs, crunchy raw vegetables. This pork bowl really shines for all those reasons. Happy cooking!
  • ¼ cup Rice vinegar, unseasoned
  • ¼ cup Soy sauce, low-sodium
  • ½ cup Canola oil
  • 2 Shallots, medium, minced
  • 1 tbsp Lemongrass (I use the lemongrass tube but you can use fresh lemongrass as well)
  • 1 tbsp Brown sugar, light
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 2½ lbs Pork tenderloin
  • Handful of Cilantro
  • 2 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Lemongrass
  • ½ cup Rice vinegar, unseasoned
  • ½ cup Canola oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Sweet chili garlic
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • Suggested accompaniments: jasmine rice, sliced cabbage, sliced cucumbers, minced cilantro, sliced radishes, additional dressing.
  1. Trim the pork tenderloin and place both pieces in a large Ziploc bag.
  2. Whisk the rice vinegar, soy sauce, canola oil, shallots, lemongrass, light brown sugar and honey in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour over the pork and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  4. Make the marinade - in a food processor (or finely mince the ingredients). Combine cilantro, garlic, lemongrass, rice vinegar, ¼ cup canola oil, honey, sweet chili garlic and Kosher salt. Pulse and transfer to a Mason jar.
  5. Preheat oven to 375.
  6. In a oven-safe skillet heat ¼ cup canola oil over medium heat.
  7. Sear both pork tenderloins over medium heat, about 10 minutes total. 3 minutes flip, and so on.
  8. Transfer skillet to the oven.
  9. Cook, flipping once halfway through, 15 - 20 minutes total. If you have a digital thermometer, this is a great time to use it. You want to pull the pork when it's internal temperature it 150. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


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Black-Eyed Pea and Pork Chili

This recipe was inspired by a chili article I read in Fine Cooking magazine. I have made sofrito for years, as a flavoring base in all types of soups, stews, braises and casseroles. But I have never ROASTED my sofrito as this article suggested, and WOW, it really intensified the flavors and made this delicious chili even better! One of the things I love about cooking – there is always a new skill, a new technique to learn and try. This is not a quick recipe, but on a cold weekend afternoon, I can’t think of anything more fun to do then make a big batch of this recipe. There are a lot of steps, but the complexity of the dish and the layers of flavor make it totally worth it! It is soooo good and freezes great!

Black-Eyed Pea and Pork Chili
Serves: 8
This is the first time I have ever cooked with dried chiles. They do add to the cost of the dish, but they impart a complexity of flavor that's invaluable. And they will last over a year in your pantry, so you will have lots of time to use them up. Don't skip the step of roasting the sofrito, it really takes this chili over the top! Happy cooking!
  • 2 (14.5 oz) Petite diced tomatoes, drained (I use roasted garlic and onion flavoring)
  • 10 Garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 Poblano chiles, chopped (ribs and seeds removed)
  • 1 Onion, yellow, chopped
  • 2 Peppers, red, chopped
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp Oregano, dried
  • ¼ cup Red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup Canola oil, divided
  • 3 (15 oz) cans Black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 dried Arbol chiles
  • 2 dried New Mexican chiles
  • 3 lbs. Ground pork
  • 2 tbsp Cumin, ground
  • 2 tsp Chipotle chili powder
  • 2 Chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce
  • 2 cups Chicken broth, low-sodium or homemade
  • Suggested garnishes: Sour cream, shredded cheese and minced scallions.
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 and cover a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the tomatoes, garlic, onion, red peppers, 1 tsp Kosher salt and oregano on the sheet pan. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and ¼ cup Canola oil. Mix until well combined.
  3. Roast, stirring once halfway through cooking time, for about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the sheet pan aside to cool.
  4. Empty the black-eyed peas into a colander and rinse well.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  6. Add the dried chiles to the dry skillet. Toast on both sides, until slightly blistered, about 3 minutes per side. Take the skillet off the heat and carefully add 2 cups of water to the skillet. The chiles will start to rise to the top, to counteract that, place the colander with the beans in it on top of the chiles to push them down.
  7. Soak the chiles for 20 minutes. Remove from the water and stem, seed and finely mince the chiles. Set aside.
  8. In a large Dutch oven heat remaining ¼ cup Canola oil over medium heat. Add pork and sprinkle on top the ground cumin, chipotle chili powder and remaining 1 tsp of Kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned. (You do not need to drain the pork since it is so lean)
  9. Meanwhile transfer the sofrito mixture to the food processor and pulse, retaining a chunky texture. Once the pork is browned, add the sofrito mixture to the Dutch oven. Next place the minced dried chiles in the food processor along with the 2 canned chipotle chiles. Pulse to combine and add to the Dutch oven.
  10. Add the black-eyed peas and chicken broth and stir to combine. Turn heat to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes.
  11. Serve right away, or even better, cool the chili, refrigerate and enjoy the next day (the flavors will meld and deepen overnight). The chili can be refridgerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Roasted Sofrito
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Mojo Pork Tenderloin

I love pork tenderloin! Grilled or roasted – it always turns out yummy and juicy. Think of it as a blank canvas, much the same as a skinless, boneless chicken breast – you can add any flavor profile to it and create an interesting and delicious meal. This marinade is so easy and the pork tastes incredible. Pork tenderloin is a great option for a quick family meal, or double this recipe and you have a ideal main dish for a crowd. It’s much easier to move a few pork tenderloins around the grill instead of tons of chicken breasts. Try this pork as the centerpiece of a make-your-own taco bar. Ours had thin slices of pork, flour tortillas, my grilled salsa (recipe link below), sour cream, Mexican rice (I had a ziploc of it frozen from our last Mexican dinner), shredded cheese and my incredible black bean salad (recipe coming soon). When I talk about how to make dinner kid-friendly this meal is a perfect example of how to do that – each person gets to make their own taco so everyone enjoys their dinner. I round this meal out with a big platter of raw veggies – my kids love vegetables so they can supplement their VERY basic tacos (pork, cheese and tortilla) with a few handfuls of vegetables, and dinner is done!

This picture shows the recipe doubled - normally you will grill 1 package of pork which contains 2 pork tenderloins.
This picture shows the recipe doubled – normally you will grill 1 package of pork which contains 2 pork tenderloins.


My go-to Mexican inspired salad dressing is this delicious honey-lime vinaigrette. Try it the next time you make tacos, enchiladas….

You have to try this salsa! It is sooo good!

Mojo Pork Tenderloin
Serves: 8
Love the Cuban flavors of this marinade, Mojo always say "summer" to me. Make sure to use fresh oregano, it really is the centerpiece of this marinade. I served this pork as part of a taco bar, but it could easily stand alone with rice and a salad. Happy cooking!
  • 3 tbsp Oregano, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Canola oil
  • ¼ cup Orange juice
  • 2 Limes, zested and juiced
  • 4 tsp Minced garlic
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2½ lbs Pork tenderloin, trimmed (the package will have 2 smaller pork tenderloins around 1¼ lb each)
  1. In a small bowl whisk together the oregano, canola oil, orange juice, lime zest and juice, minced garlic and Kosher salt.
  2. Place tenderloins in a Ziploc bag. Pour marinade over the pork. Marinate in the refridgerator for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before grilling to allow the pork to lose some of its chill.
  3. Prep grill with canola spray and preheat burners to low. Close the lid and allow the grill to heat up for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Place pork on the grill and cook it for 10-15 minutes on each side. The pork is ready to come off the grill when it has an internal temperature of 150 degrees. Let it rest on a platter for 10 minutes before slicing so it can finish cooking (the temperature will increase another 10 degrees) and the juices can redistribute.


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Pulled Pork

I have loved making pulled pork for years, and now with such a big family to feed, I love it even more! Over time I have experimented with so many techniques for cooking the pulled pork – grilling, smoking, searing –  but the one that works best for me, and is the most consistent and hands-off? Low and slow oven cooking. Tender and moist pork every time!

Okay this might not be one of my sexiest food pics, but I promise you it's one of my most delicious! Pulled pork shown here topped with my chow chow sauce.
Okay this might not be one of my sexiest food pics, but I promise you it’s one of my most delicious! Pulled pork shown here topped with my chow chow sauce.

Of course store bought condiments are fine, but if you are feeling particularly inspired, my barbecue sauce is sooo good with the pulled pork.

A new favorite is the chow chow sauce shown in the picture, find the recipe with my Southern Pork Tenderloin.

Both of these sauces keep for several weeks in the fridge, so they can jazz up lots of sandwiches and simple grilled dinners.

Pulled Pork
Serves: 10-12
Pulled pork is one of the easiest things to cook. The key to making it incredible is planning. You need to do the dry rub the night before cooking and then get the pork started early in the morning. Another secret tip? Cook the pork the day before you want to serve it. Then all you need to do the day of your dinner is heat a tray of pork, covered, in a 300 degree oven for an hour. The best hands-off dinner! This makes A LOT of food, even with a family of 10 and company usually, I have extra, I love to freeze a bag of pulled pork for a last minute dinner option. Happy cooking!
  • For the rub:
  • ¼ cup Light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 2 tbsp Ground mustard
  • 2 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 8-9 lb Pork butt, Boston butt, or Picnic shoulder
  • 1-2 cups Barbecue sauce
  • For serving:
  • Potato rolls
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Coleslaw
  1. Rinse the pork in the sink and pat dry. Place on a large baking sheet or pyrex baking dish.
  2. Combine all of the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle on the pork and pat into the skin.
  3. Cover pork with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 300.
  5. Remove the pork from the fridge one hour before cooking. Discard plastic wrap.
  6. Place pork in an ovenproof container - could be a roasting plan or a aluminum pan.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven.
  8. Cook for 8 hours, the pork will be fork tender at this time.
  9. Remove from the oven, and with tongs, remove pork to a rimmed baking sheet so it can cool. Drain baking container of all but 1 cup of baking liquid. Reserve to mix to with the shredded pulled pork.
  10. After 1 hour, shred pork, discarding fat and anything yucky (I say that seriously - I am a purist).
  11. Place pork back into the baking dish and mix in the reserved baking liquid, plus 1-2 cups of barbecue sauce (you need to evaluate this as you go - some people like it more on the dry side, some people prefer their pulled pork more saucy)
  12. Heap onto sandwiches and enjoy with your preferred condiments.


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Southern Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is such a great weeknight dinner solution, but this recipe is also interesting enough for company. The flavors in the rub give the tenderloin a subtle kick, but it’s mild enough for your kids to dig right in. All of the kids loved this dinner and I was left with just a few pieces after all of the older boys went back for seconds! The chow chow is a cinch to make, adds some grown-up interest to the meal and can be done ahead of time. The chow chow keeps great in the fridge and play the elevated and much more interesting mustard role in your fridge…enjoyed on sandwiches and pulled pork all week! I was planning on grilling the pork but it ended up torrential downpouring just as I was ready to start the grill, so I decided to rely on an Martha Stewart technique – from one of the first cookbooks I ever owned, Quick Cook Menus from 1988. Once you sear the pork on the stovetop, it’s totally hands-off and the pork comes out perfect everytime!

Searing the pork before it goes into the oven
Searing the pork before it goes into the oven
Once the pork comes out of the oven, transfer to a cutting board set inside a rimmed baking sheet, makes cleanup a snap!
Once the pork comes out of the oven, transfer to a cutting board set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then slice.


Southern Pork Tenderloin
Serves: 8
I've been making this recipe for years...and it still surprises me how much everyone enjoys this meal. My younger children won't go near the chow chow sauce, but they devour the pork. The chow chow? So delicious and a terrific condiment to have in the fridge - try it with grilled chicken, pulled pork, on sandwiches....Happy cooking!
  • For the pork:
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Ground mustard
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp Light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • ¼ cup Canola oil
  • 2 Pork tenderloins, trimmed (see note) (about 2¾ - 3 lbs total)
  • For the chow chow sauce:
  • ¼ cup Yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup Honey mustard
  • ¼ cup Yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp Sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tbsp Cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  1. Remove pork from the fridge, preheat oven to 375. Mix dry seasonings, add canola oil and stir to combine. Coat the pork with the seasoning rub.
  2. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil coating it and then a second sheet of aluminum ready to become a pouch for the pork.
  3. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sear the pork on all sides until well-browned, approximately 3-5 minutes per side.
  4. Transfer seared pork to the prepared baking sheet and pour pan drippings over the pork.
  5. Tightly close the foil with the opening along the top of the pork and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and carefully open the foil about 1 inch along the top.
  6. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven (the temperature on the pork should be between 140-150 degrees at this time (see note) and place on a cutting board placed inside a baking sheet (the technique catches all of the pork juices when you start slicing). Let rest 10 minutes, uncovered, before slicing.
Silver skin on pork: It's important to remove the connective tissue on the pork because it does not dissolve into the pork. This step only only takes a minute and really improves the quality of your finished dish! Here's a great how-to guide.
The correct temperature for pork: The National Pork Board recommends cooking pork chops, roasts, and tenderloin to an internal temperature between 145° F. (medium rare) and 160° F. (medium), followed by a 3 minute rest. Since large cuts increase approximately 10° F. while resting, remove them from the heat at 150° F. followed by a 10 minute rest.


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