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Mar 21, 2011 06:34 AM

Does brined pork stay pinker when cooked??

I made a pork tenderloin last night. The recipe called for brining anywhere from 8 to 24 hours, then slathering in dijon mustard, rolling in panko and then roasting in a 425 oven until the pork reached an internal temperature of 160. I took it out right at 160, let it rest for 10 minutes and then cut into it. It was still really pink in the middle. Not like a blush of pink, but really pink. Do I need a new thermometer or does the color have something to do with the brining process.

P.S. I never had a problem with the thermometer before.

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  1. Nope. That puppy was still raw. I think it’s 175 or so for pork tenderloin. The brining will help the meat keep its moisture, even at higher pull temps. Try brining your pork chops. Chicken also loves the brine.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Woodfireguy

      175 ?????

      According to the USDA:
      What is a safe internal temperature for cooking meat and poultry?
      Following is a chart of safe minimum internal temperatures:

      Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts, and chops may be cooked to 145 °F.
      All cuts of pork, 160 °F.
      Ground beef, veal and lamb to 160 °F.
      All poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.

      1. re: debw1946

        I know that USDA says 160 for medium done and 170 for well done. Who cooks pork medium done? Why take that chance? Brining changes that though.

        1. re: Woodfireguy

          chance of what? the dangers of pork are way overblown, and in the last few decades there is little danger from it at all

          1. re: Woodfireguy

            I cook pork medium done and I think the USDA temps are too high. Anything more than 145-150 when it comes off of the heat is too dry for us to enjoy.

            To the OP - I think that the texture of the meat would be your back-up to doneness in the event your thermometer failed. Was the meat pink and flabby - raw looking? Or could you see the firmer striations that appear as the flesh tightens? If the former, your thermometer should be replaced. If the latter, the device is ok, the meat was cooked and appears to have retained additional juices from both resting and the long brining period.

            1. re: Woodfireguy

              I do....I pull pork tenderloin at 145*-150*....allow it to rest....slice and serve slightly pink.

              1. re: Woodfireguy

                I cook pork tenderloin (sous vide, usually) to ~135 f, at which point it is absolutely delicious. IMO, if you have to cook pork tenderloin to 175, it is not worth eating.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  IMO, if you have to cook pork tenderloin to 175, it is not worth eating.


          2. The pork tenderloin will stay pinkish through the medium range, where it will start to turn deep into a tan or white, depending on the specific piece of meat you are roasting. Also, the length of time you brine the meat will impact the color and texture as well.

            Most commercial kitchens will pull pork tenderloin @ 145*, unless it is requested to cooked longer by the patron.

            to test your thermometer, just boil some water and see if it reads 212.....or check it with room temeperature water.

            1 Reply
            1. re: fourunder

              An ice bath that is at least half ice is the most reliable way to check a thermometer's calibration regardless of altitude.

            2. Brining can cause meat to look pink even when it's cooked... sort of like ham.
              The question is whether the meat was a raw pork pink or a ham pink.
              Also, if you cooked longer, did the pink go away?
              I would suspect it didn't since I would guess you made ham. :-)

              1 Reply
              1. re: dave_c

                only if the brine used curing salt. regular salt won't do this.