The Perfect Pork Chop
The very worst thing in the world (in our household anyway) is cutting open a pork chop and finding it tough and dry. While some of that is in the genetics and the marbling (fat around the chop), a lot of it comes from the cooking.
While it was originally taught to push pork chops to 160 degrees, which is past the point of being pink, it also takes out the natural tenderness and flavor. The USDA now recommends cooking chops, roasts, loins, and tenderloin to an internal temperature of 145° F, followed by a three-minute rest. We use a digital thermometer to check the temperature on the grill and in the oven.
Note: Ground pork should always be cooked to 160° F. Doneness for some pork cuts, such as small cuts that are difficult to test with a thermometer or large cuts that cook slowly at low temperatures, is designated as “tender.” Pre-cooked ham can be reheated to 140° F or even enjoyed cold, while fresh ham should be cooked to 145° F.
Hopefully these guidelines help you get the most flavor out of your pork, because as Dad says, “A carefully cooked pork chop is about as close to perfection as it gets.”