Don’t Tell Me Not to Fully Cook My Pork Chops

Every time I watch a video or TV show of a chef making some kind of pork recipe I’m invariably forced to listen to him or her badger me about how I shouldn’t cook it all the way through, but should instead leave it a little pink in the middle. Their story being that once upon a time it was necessary for safety reasons to cook pork all the way though like chicken, but at some point in recent years there was some vague yet magical development in pig slaughtering so now there is no need to worry about eating half raw pork. Based on their complaints about people continuing to overcook pork it would seem that few home cooks are listening to them so maybe they might want to consider getting over themselves and just letting us fully cook our pork chops.

Chefs love nothing more than to complain about people overcooking food. Tell any chef you prefer your steak well done and he’ll look at you like you told him you prefer your Veuve Clicquot mixed with equal parts 7up. I feel some chefs are particularly vocal about undercooking everything to increase their credibility with other chefs. I suspect the first person to suggest leaving pork pink in the middle was thinking more about his culinary street cred than advances in food safety. Mark it down, it is only a matter of time before you start hearing people tell you that you don’t need to cook chicken all the way through.

In any case, does it really make that much difference to the taste and texture if the middle of a pork chop is not entirely cooked? It’s not like fully cooked pork is like trying to eat shoe leather, and if you want truly tender pork you can easily find a couple thousand slow cooked or smoked recipes to choose from.  If you want to undercook your pork, go right ahead; it probably won’t hurt you. But do it because you like it and not because some TV chef feels the need to tell you what to do.