How Long to Cook Ground Pork
In this brief article, we will be answering the question of how long to cook ground pork and will also tell the proper way of cooking it. Moreover, we’ll also address some important precautions to take when cooking ground pork.
How Long to Cook Ground Pork?
Ground pork should be cooked for about three to four minutes, or till it becomes evenly brown with no pink. The USDA gives instructions for safe cooking and storage for ground pork and other pork cuts to avoid infections (1).
To ensure ground pork is cooked, it must attain an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Nutritious is Ground Pork Meat?
Pork meat that is ground or finely chopped is referred to as ground pork. Commercially sold varieties are either seasoned or unseasoned.
According to the USDA, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of cooked ground pork contains:
- 297 calories
- 25.7 grams of protein
- 20.8 grams of fat
- 0 grams of carbohydrates
- 0 grams of fiber
- 0 grams of sugar
Moreover, pork is also a good source of minerals and vitamins, including:
- Vitamins B6 and B12
What are the Benefits of Eating Pork?
Pork is richer in thiamine as compared to other red meats such as lamb and beef. Thiamine is a B vitamin essential for various bodily functions. Among the vitamins, thiamine is undoubtedly the most susceptible to thermal degradation. After cooking meat, thiamine results undetectable in most of the meats, except for pork, where thiamine can be retained to 15% (2).
The abundance of vitamins B6 and B12 make pork extremely helpful for blood cell formation and maintenance of the brain and cognitive function.
Pork is also a rich source of heme-iron which is readily absorbed by the human digestive system. Iron content of pork is higher than in turkey, chicken and fish and comparable to beef (3).
Moreover, the selenium found in pork is important for optimal thyroid function, which is involved in various processes relating to metabolism, weight and appetite, the reproductive system, and even mood. A six-ounce pork chop contains over 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of selenium. Selenium also has many biological functions, such as an antioxidant and enhancement of immune function. The best known health benefit of supplemental Selenium is its function in suppressing the incidence and mortality of several important cancers. Selenium from meats such as pork and beef are highly bioavailable (3).
How to Properly Cook Ground Pork?
Now that you know how long to cook ground beef, you’ll need the following items to cook the perfect ground pork:
- A non-stick pan
- Wooden spoon
- Internal food thermometer
- Paper towels
Here are the instructions for cooking ground pork:
- Heat the non-stick pan over a medium flame. There is no need to add oil since pork seldom sticks to the pan’s surface because of its natural oils.
- Put ground pork in the pan, using the wooden spoon to break it up before it starts to turn brown.
- Keep stirring the pork so that it cooks (turns brown) evenly and does not stick to or cook too much on one side. Unclump any large pieces using the tip of the spoon.
- As mentioned, cook the ground pork for about three to four minutes, till no pink is visible and the internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place some paper towels in the colander. Carefully spoon the cooked pork onto the towel so that it absorbs excess grease. Let it stay on the towel for at least two to three minutes. Then you can mix the pork with other ingredients.
What Happens If You Eat Undercooked Pork?
Eating undercooked pork can give you Trichinosis (also called trichinellosis), a food-borne illness caused by eating undercooked or raw meats, especially from pork products contaminated with a specific type of worm (parasite) or bacteria (1).
Typical symptoms of Trichinosis include:
- Abdominal discomfort
What Safety Precautions Should You Take When Cooking Ground Pork?
For those who haven’t cooked ground pork before, here are some food safety tips:
- Contrary to popular belief, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) states that it is not necessary to rinse ground pork before cooking. The cooking process itself is enough to destroy all dangerous microorganisms.
- A study published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection revealed that 525,000 reported infections and 2,900 hospitalizations every year in the US were attributed to pork consumption.
So, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services, meats such as ground pork must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit for safe consumption. It is recommended that you use an internal food thermometer to make sure the pork is properly cooked.
- Another factor to consider is climate. A study that appeared in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease showed that climate change, especially higher temperatures, promotes the growth of harmful bacteria such as salmonella.
In this brief article, we answered the question of how long to cook ground pork, and discussed the proper way of cooking it along with the important precautions to take when cooking ground pork.
If you have any more comments or questions, please let us know.
- Fresh Pork from Farm to Table. United States Department of Agriculture.
- Lombardi-Boccia, Ginevra, Sabina Lanzi, and Altero Aguzzi. Aspects of meat quality: trace elements and B vitamins in raw and cooked meats. J food Compos Anal, 2005, 18, 39-46.
- Finley, John W., et al. Bioavailability of selenium from meat and broccoli as determined by retention and distribution of 75Se. Biol trace elem res, 2004, 99, 191-209.