How to Cook Pork | Times and Temperatures | Ontario Pork
   

How to Cook Pork

How to Cook Pork

 Learn how to cook the different cuts of pork. 

How long to cook pork, by cut

We are always getting asked how long to cook pork for and to what temperature. Well, cooking time for pork varies by the size/thickness, method, and type of cut.

This is why we've created this easy, quick-read guide that tells you what temperature your oven or barbecue could be at - and approximately how long you should cook pork for - to safely reach internal temperature.

Regardless of method, pork should be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 155F (68C), rested to a Health Canada-recommended final internal temperature of 160F (71C).

*Please note that all times and temperatures below are approximations and a guide only.

How Long to Cook Pork Chops

Ontario Pork Chop

A chop is taken from a larger cut of pork (i.e. the loin) and ‘chopped’ into smaller pieces. Chops can be bone-in or boneless.

You may also see them listed in the shop as: rib end chops, centre cut chops, sirloin chops, frenched rib chops, butterflied chops, blade chop, or a picnic cushion steak.

On the Barbecue:

  • Pre-heat barbecue to 500F (260C).
  • Set barbecue dials to MEDIUM-HIGH.
  • Cook pork chops over DIRECT HEAT. This means your pork chop should be placed on the side of the grill that has heat/flame directly underneath it.
  • We recommend that you keep the BBQ LID OPEN while grilling a pork chop, but this is optional or personal preference.
  • Grill pork chop on the barbecue for approximately 4 MINUTES A SIDE (8 minutes in total).
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 155F (68C), rested to a final 160F (71C).

Details in videos courtesy of Weber Grill Master, Damien Chong, from Weber Grills Canada.

In the Oven:

  • Pre-heat oven to 325F (165C).
  • Bake pork chops in the oven for approximately 30 MINUTES, flipping at the 15-minute mark.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 155F (68C), rested to a final 160F (71C).

In a Frying Pan/Stovetop:

  • Pat your pork chops dry; season them however you like or find a great recipe.
  • Set a frying pan on your stovetop over MEDIUM-HIGH heat and pre-heat the oil until it is shimmering (approximately 4-5 minutes)
  • Carefully place the pork chops into the hot pan - without overcrowding it - and fry your pork chops for approximately 4 MINUTES A SIDE.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 155F (68C), rested to a final 160F (71C).

Depending on thickness, the internal temperature may be reached quickly; so don't leave the chops unattended for too long!

In a Slowcooker:

  • Pat your pork chops dry; season them however you like or find a great pork chop recipe.
  • Brown your pork chops in a FRYING PAN with hot oil for about 1 MINUTE A SIDE (we aren't cooking them yet, just getting a nice sear!) 
  • Add pork chops to the slowcooker and set the temperature to LOW and cook for approximately 4 HOURS
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 155F (68C), rested to a final 160F (71C).

Searing the pork chop before going into the slow-cooker will help develop flavour.​

How Long to Cook Pork Tenderloin

Ontario Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is a whole muscle, boneless loin that comes within the hog. It is narrower and thinner compared to larger loin roasts. Tenderloins typically weigh between 3/4 lbs to 1.5lbs, and are leaner.

On the Barbecue:

  • Pre-heat barbecue to 500F (260C).
  • Set barbecue dials to MEDIUM-HIGH.
  • Cook pork tenderloin over DIRECT HEAT. This means your pork tenderloin should be placed on the side of the grill that has direct heat/flame underneath it.
  • We recommend that you keep the BBQ LID CLOSED while grilling pork tenderloin, but this is optional or personal preference.
  • Grill pork tenderloin on the barbecue for approximately 4 MINUTES AND 30 SECONDS A SIDE (15 minutes in total). Remember pork tenderloins have “three” sides.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 155F (68C), rested to a final 160F (71C).

Details in videos courtesy of Weber Grill Master, Michael P. Clive, from Weber Grills Canada.

In the Oven:

  • Pre-heat oven to 325F (165C).
  • Bake pork tenderloin in the oven for approximately 20-25 MINUTES *PER POUND*.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 155F (68C), rested to a final 160F (71C).

How Long to Cook Pork RoastsOntario Pork Roast

Pork roasts typically come from the back of the hog and tend to be large. They are usually broken into smaller portion roasts when they reach the grocery store. They can also be bone-in or boneless.

You may have come across them as: centre cut boneless roast, half loin roast, picnic roast, butt roast/blade roast, rib roast, frenched rack, leg inside or outside roast, leg eye round roast, or leg tip roast.

On the Barbecue:

  • Pre-heat barbecue to 325F (163C).
  • Set left and right barbecue dials to MEDIUM, leaving the middle section off.
  • Cook pork roast over INDIRECT HEAT. This means your pork roast should be placed on the side of the grill that has NO direct heat underneath it.
  • Keep the BBQ LID CLOSED while cooking a pork roast.
  • Cook pork roast on the barbecue for approximately 25-30 MINUTES *PER POUND*.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 155F (68C), rested to a final 160F (71C).

Details in videos courtesy of Weber Grill Master, Michael P. Clive, from Weber Grills Canada.

In the Oven:

  • Pre-heat oven to 325F (163C).
  • Bake pork roast in the oven for approximately 25-30 MINUTES *PER POUND*.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 155F (68C), rested to a final 160F (71C).

How Long to Cook Pork BACK Ribs

Ontario Pork Back Ribs
Easy Coca-Cola BBQ Ribs Recipe

Pork back ribs (also known as baby back ribs or loin ribs) are taken from the top of the rib cage between the spine and the side ribs. You can distinguish pork back ribs by their curve and shorter length, as it naturally tapers off near the end.

On the Barbecue:

  • Pre-heat BBQ to 250F (121C).
  • Set both left and right barbecue dials to LOW, leaving middle off.
  • Cook pork back ribs over INDIRECT HEAT. This means your back ribs should be placed on the side of the grill that has NO direct heat underneath it.
  • Keep the BBQ LID CLOSED while cooking back ribs.
  • Cook pork back ribs on the barbecue for approximately 3-6 HOURS.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 195F (91C), rested to a final 202F (94C).

Details in videos courtesy of Weber Grill Master, Damien Chong, from Weber Grills Canada.

In the Oven:

  • Pre-heat oven to 250F (140C).
  • Cook pork back ribs in the oven for approximately 3-6 HOURS.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 195F (91C), rested to a final 202F (94C).

In a Slow Cooker:

  • Place back ribs in the slow cooker and set temperature to LOW and cook for 7-9 HOURS (every slow cooker is slightly different, so check tenderness about an hour before).

OR

  • Place back ribs in the slow cooker and set temperature to HIGH and cook 3-5 HOURS.

How Long to Cook Pork SIDE Ribs

Ontario Pork Side Ribs

Pork side ribs (also known as spare ribs) are taken from the belly side of the ribcage. Side ribs are flatter, have longer bones, and usually have better marbling. St. Louis style ribs are side ribs that are cut to be more rectangular.

On the Barbecue:

  • Pre-heat barbecue to 250F (121C).
  • Set both left and right barbecue dials to LOW, leaving middle off.
  • Cook pork side ribs over INDIRECT HEAT. This means your side ribs should be placed on the side of the grill that has NO direct heat underneath it.
  • Keep the BBQ LID CLOSED while cooking side ribs.
  • Cook pork side ribs on the barbecue for approximately 3-6 HOURS.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 195F (91C), rested to a final 202F (94C).

In the Oven:

  • Pre-heat oven to 250F (140C).
  • Cook pork side ribs in the oven for approximately 3-6 HOURS.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 195F (91C), rested to a final 202F (94C).

In a Slow Cooker:

  • Place side ribs in the slow cooker and set temperature to LOW and cook for 7-9 HOURS (every slow cooker is slightly different, so check tenderness about an hour before).

OR

  • Place side ribs in the slow cooker and set temperature to HIGH and cook 3-5 HOURS.

How Long to Cook Pork Shoulder (For Pulled Pork)

Ontario Pork Shoulder (Pulled Pork)
Root Beer Pulled Pork Recipe

A pork shoulder can be bone-in or boneless and is made out of two parts: the butt and the picnic. Sometimes the butt can be referred to as a blade, and is best used for pulled pork. Pork shoulders are well-marbled and flavourful; best suited to slower roast times and lower temperatures (slow and low).

On the Barbecue:

  • Pre-heat barbecue to 250F (121C)
  • Have both left and right barbecue dials set at LOW, leaving middle off.
  • Cook over INDIRECT HEAT. This means your pork shoulder should be placed on the side of the grill that has NO direct heat underneath it.
  • Keep the BBQ LID CLOSED while cooking pork shoulder.
  • Cook pork shoulder for pulled pork on the barbecue for approximately 8-12 HOURS.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 190F (91C), rested to a final 195F (94C).

In the Oven:

  • Pre-heat oven to 250F (121C).
  • Roast pork shoulder for pulled pork in the oven for approximately 8-12 HOURS.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 190F (91C), rested to a final 195F (94C).

In a Slow Cooker:

  • Place pork shoulder for pulled pork in the slow cooker and set temperature to LOW and cook for 8-10 HOURS.

OR

  • Place pork shoulder for pulled pork in the slow cooker and set temperature to HIGH and cook 4-5 HOURS.

Alongside with spices and vegetables of your choice, don't forget to add a liquid to your slow-cooker when cooking pulled pork. This can be chicken broth, root beer, etc. It just needs to have a liquid to help it cook.

In an Instant Pot:

  • Place pork shoulder for pulled pork in the Instant Pot and change the settings to pressure cook (high setting) and set the timer to 55 minutes. Allow the pressure cooker to run its course, and once it's finished cooking, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for an additional 10 minutes.

Don't forget to brown (lighly saute) your pork shoulder on all sides first before cooking it in the Instant Pot; it will help with flavour and tenderness. If you're using a larger or smaller roast, you may need to add/subtract 5-10 additional minutes of cook time per pound of pork.

How Long to Cook Bacon

Ontario Pork Bacon

Bacon is typically cut from the pork belly, cured, and cut into thin or thick strips. Back bacon is cut from the loin, which results in a leaner meat.

On the Barbecue:

**Do not grill bacon directly on the grates. Please use a sheet pan or a BBQ or oven-safe frying pan (i.e. cast iron)

  • Pre-heat barbecue to 450F (230C)
  • Set barbecue dials to MEDIUM-HIGH.
  • Cook bacon over DIRECT HEAT. This means your bacon should be placed on a sheet pan or in BBQ-safe frying pan on the side of the grill that has direct heat/flame underneath it.
  • We recommend that you keep the BBQ LID OPEN while cooking bacon on a BBQ, but this is optional or personal preference.
  • Cook bacon on the barbecue for approximately 15-20 MINUTES, depending on your preferred crispiness. Turn and flip the bacon often.

In the Oven:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400F (200C)
  • Place bacon on a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Bake bacon in the oven for approximately 18-22 MINUTES, depending on your preferred crispiness. Flip bacon half way through cook time.

How Long to Cook Pork Belly

Ontario Pork Belly

Rind on or rind off pork belly is cut from the belly of the hog. It is a fattier piece of pork because of this, but means it is incredibly juicy and tender. Pork belly is most popular in Asian and Hispanic dishes.

On the Barbecue:

  • Pre-heat barbecue to 250F (121C).
  • Set both left and right barbecue dials to MEDIUM, leaving middle off.
  • Cook pork belly over INDIRECT HEAT. This means your pork belly should be placed on the side of the grill that has NO direct heat underneath it.
  • Keep the BBQ LID CLOSED while cooking pork belly.
  • Cook pork belly on the grill for approximately 2-5 HOURS, depending on the size of your pork belly.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 155F (68C), rested to a final 160F (71C).

In the Oven:

  • Pre-heat oven to 250F (121C).
  • Roast pork belly in the oven for approximately 2-5 HOURS.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 155F (68C), rested to a final 160F (71C).

How Long to Cook Ham

Ontario Pork Ham

Ham comes from the leg of the hog that has been preserved through wet or dry curing, smoked or non-smoked. Ham is commonly purchased as a full roast or in deli slices.

On the Barbecue:

  • Pre-heat barbecue to 350F - 375F (177C-190C).
  • Set both left and right barbecue dials to MEDIUM, leaving middle off.
  • Cook ham over INDIRECT HEAT. This means your ham should be placed on the side of the grill that has NO direct heat underneath it.
  • Keep the BBQ lid CLOSED while cooking ham.
  • Cook your ham on the barbecue for approximately 2-5 HOURS, depending on the size of your ham.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 155F (68C), rested to a final 160F (71C).

In the Oven:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350F (177C).
  • Bake ham in the oven for approximately 2-5 HOURS, depending on the size of your ham.
  • Or until internal temperature reaches 155F (68C), rested to a final 160F (71C).

What is the internal temperature for pork?

The internal temperature of pork should reach 155F (68C) while cooking then rested/tented for about 3-5 minutes until the final temperature reaches 160F (71C). The 160F (71C) internal doneness is recommended by Health Canada.

For any pork recipe you make, please use a meat thermometer to ensure your pork has reached the above safe internal temperature (160 F / 71 C). Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the cut - not touching bone, fat, or stuffing - to get the most accurate reading.

And really, pork need not be overcooked. In the past, it was recommended that pork be cooked very well to be safe, because of the risk of trichinosis. This, unfortunately, often resulted in dry, tough meat, and some people still associate pork with this negative experience. ⁠

Fortunately, with improved food safety knowledge and better production methods in Canada, trichinosis is no longer a risk in Canadian pork. We know pork can be cooked safely to a resting (160F/71C), which produces a juicy and tender product.

When cooked to this temperature, pork may still have just a hint of pink in the middle, for instance inside a cooked roast or very thick chop. The exception is ground pork and sausage, which like all ground meats, should be cooked thoroughly. ⁠

For a printable version of how to cook pork, you can download our Preparing Ontario Pork - Roasting and Grilling Guide

 

Ontario pork producers are very aware of the importance of providing consumers with a safe food supply and they take that responsibility very seriously. They eat the same foods as you do. Today’s producers are highly educated and use the latest technology – products and equipment – to feed, care for, monitor and keep records on the animals under their care.

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