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Cooking Questions: Pork

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How long should I cook my pork roast?

The rule of thumb for pork roasts is to cook themĀ 25 minutes per pound of meat at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Use a thermometer to read the internal temperature of the roast. When the temperature reaches 140 degrees F (60 C), pull the roast out of the oven; it'll continue to cook due to the residual heat and will reach 145 degrees F (63 C).

How do you keep pork chops from drying out?

Don't overcook 'em! Use high heat and a light flour coating. First, dry the chops with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper, and dredge lightly in flour. Add a combination of butter and oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high flame. The fat should be quite hot when you add the chops, sizzling, into the pan. Avoid crowding. Give the chops room in the skillet so they'll brown before they overcook. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then turn. Transfer the pork chops from the pan to a plate when the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F (60 C); they'll continue to cook due to the residual heat and will reach 145 degrees F (63 C). Let the pork chops rest for about five minutes before serving, to redistribute their juices.

How long can I keep cooked ham in my refrigerator?

To store cooked ham, carve the remaining meat from the bone and place it in clean, small shallow containers in a refrigerator. Use it within three to four days. A whole cooked ham from the storeĀ can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Cooking the ham changes the acidity and the chemical composition of the preservatives, thus decreasing the shelf life. Cured ham can be frozen but you might note changes in texture and flavor.

Do I have to soak a ham before I cook it?

Most U.S. ham producers use the injection-curing method whereby the ham is injected with brine. After curing, a ham might be smoked to add flavor and aging capability. Because the use of salt is essential to the curing process, it is very unlikely that you will ever find a non-salty ham. You can try and eliminate some of the salt by soaking the ham in water in the refrigerator for about 6 hours before you cook it. This is definitely recommended for most salt-cured "country-style" hams. If you have a honey-glazed ham you should definitely not soak it, as this will dissolve the glaze.

What is country ham?

Country ham has been dry-cured in a mixture of salt, sodium nitrate, sugar, and other seasonings for a period of days (depending on the weight of the ham). The salt is then rinsed off and the ham is slowly smoked over hardwood fires before being aged 6 to 12 months. Most are sold uncooked, though fully cooked hams are now becoming more readily available. Country-cured ham is distinguished by its salty, well-seasoned, firm flesh. America's most famous country-cured hams come from Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia.

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September 22, 2017

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