When is “the other white meat” considered “done?”

December 2nd, 2013

Research suggests consumers prefer cooking to appearance rather than taste

Pork was the subject of a recent study to determine consumers’ reaction to how the meat was cooked.  The results go a long way to explaining the battle that pork has in elevating its status in the cooked meat paradigm.

In the throes of that battle, a late 80s marketing campaign portrayed pork as “the other white meat.” The hope was that positioning pork along with real white meats (pork is only white after cooking) like fish and poultry, it would be seen as a healthier alternative to red meat.

Now it seems that consumers are cooking the redness, and therefore the taste, right out of these pork products.

While the USDA recommends cooking to 145 degrees Fahrenheit with a three minute rest, research suggests consumers are more apt to eat pork when it is cooked to 170 degrees.

The difference in that “doneness” level?

The way it looks.

While cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees is considered “safe” by the USDA, and offers the optimum flavor and texture, the participants in the research complained that the meat didn’t look done.

South Shore Meats is New England’s premier wholesale portion control meat manufacturing facility manufacturing and we are use to working with and perfecting the finest cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal for white-tablecloth establishments throughout the Northeast. 

At South Shore Meats, we not only know how to cut the meat, we take great care in learning the optimum way to cook it as well. 

Here is the basis of the study; 300 people in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles were surveyed. While 61 percent of respondents said they have a meat thermometer, less than 20 percent use it to check to see if pork is done. Instead, they cut into pork to check the color, letting the juices out.

So more than 150 of the subjects have a meat thermometer, but only 60 were using it to determine “doneness.” By cooking to “look” rather than temperature, the study shows that pork-eaters were more often than not eating well-done pork.

The problem with well-done pork is that it will be tough and dry. That’s not good for the pork industry.

To combat the perception that a medium-rare piece of pork chop, roast, or tenderloin isn’t “done” pork producers united this summer for the “Cook It Like A Steak Campaign.”

So much for “the other white meat.”


Carlo Crocetti

South Shore Meats


South Shore Meats is New England’s premier wholesale portion control meat manufacturing facility manufacturing the absolute finest cuts of Beef, Pork, Lamb and Veal for white-tablecloth establishments throughout the Northeast. This fourth generation, family run business combines state-of-the-art portion control concepts with Old World craftsmanship to provide the finest center-of-the-plate cuts in the industry.

South Shore Meats is located at 12 Taylor Avenue in Brockton, Ma and provides portion control cuts to all major food distributors in New England. More information is available online at southshoremeatsonline.com

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