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Apr 22, 2013 10:22 AM

Cooking fresh pork

I have what may be a silly question. As part of our CSA farmshare, we bought a share of a pig. When we received the pork, there were some recipes included, along with cooking tips. Several times, the tips said things like 'If you have never cooked with fresh pork, it may be different than what you are used to'-but there were no specifics.
I haven't cooked with this pork yet, and I am wondering if it really is that much different than what you might but in the grocery store. Or, are they just presuming that people generally cook ham?

I have experience with pork loin, chops, shoulders, etc....should I really expect this to be different? If so, in what way? Any special techniques I should use or tips you can pass along?


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  1. I bet they assume that you have previously cooked supermarket pork that has been "enhanced" with a saline solution, which of course this pork has not. That so-called enhanced pork often exudes moisture when you cook it which this pork will not. I'm not sure it will be all that different but if it were me, I would be sure to cook it so it was still somewhat pink, so maybe cook for less time than you may be used to. Lucky you to have such nice meat to work with!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: GretchenS

      I know! I am very excited to work with it. I don't want to destroy it, so thanks for your advice.

    2. For me, fresh pork means the day of butchering. Reacts differently from brined, aged pork. Do a simple roast and see how it differs from one from the supermarket.

      On another note, corn or grain finishing drives the cost up quickly, so it is probably leaner then expected. Although the supermarket pork is so lean now, it is almost fat free. Be sure you baste regularly.

      2 Replies
      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

        this isn't that fresh! we received it in shrink-wrap packages and it is waiting for me in our freezer. I wish we had gotten a loin roast or something along those lines. We got a shoulder, and boston butt roasts (hello pulled pork!), loin steaks, ribs and two packages of sausage. It was mostly the steaks I was concerned with because they are pretty thin.

        1. re: justme123

          Try a smothered pork chops preparation for the steaks. Cooks Country has one that should be free online, but it's a common dish so recipes are easy to find.

      2. Just make sure you don't overcook the chops and loin roasts. Thin pork chops are really easy to dry out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: John E.

          I cook to 135-140F and let rest 10 minutes and it's always nice and juicy. Definitely easy to overcook, so watch carefully as John E said.

        2. Oops, thought I'd posted. I'd call the CSA and ask what exactly they meant by that phrase.

          1 Reply
          1. re: c oliver

            Could mean the flavor in general. Ours has almost a gamey quality to it.