Mine is super-tender. So tender, in fact, that I had to double check my thermometer reading to make sure I wouldn’t be innoculating my husband with trichonosis. The thermometer read 138–good enough! Trichonosis dies at 137 F. I pull my pork (Heh!) at 135, let it rest, and it climbs the extra couple of degrees it needs to climb. Still all juicy and tender and pink in the middle. Here’s a good example of a slightly more cooked, but not overcooked specimen, in case you want to cook it properly, but are a little squeamish about outright pinkness.
Which brings me to a thing that pisses me off—Why overcook meat? WHY?? I am technically related to people who eat their meat (heh!) around medium-well to well-done. Not just burgers, either. I’m talking beef tenderloin, pork, fish…it all gets the scorch treatment. I’m not judging (I totally am), I’m just saying that if your preference is to eat meat that is well-done, perhaps you should buy less expensive cuts of meat. Like brisket. Or Doc Martens. They’ll all be the same texture.
In our house, I cook all meat to the doneness that I think is appropriate. I’ve converted PLENTY of people, and I’m sure I’ve affronted plenty of others by not even asking how they like their meat cooked. It would be pointless to ask, because if they said something like “I like my filet cooked medium-well” I would then attempt to cook it medium-well. But once it hit medium-rare, I would see my right arm, posessed with the power of independent thought, reaching toward the spatula and removing the filet from the grill/pan/what have you. I could try to stop it by grabbing it with my left hand, but the battle would be short and fruitless–my right hand is much stronger than my left. I’d then have to sheepishly explain that ol’ righty had ideas of her own, and I was powerless to stop her. And that would make me sound crazy.
An aside: I had an instructor in culinary school who would always tell me my chicken was underdone if it was red directly next to the bone. I tried to explain repeatedly that sometimes during processing, redness next to or on the bone occurs from marrow. No dice. I always got marked down, even if the chicken was technically overcooked.
So the pork tenderloin last night was medium-rare and proud of it. Chris doesn’t even bother to opine on meat doneness anymore. He used to inspect pieces of meat before consuming them. This was early in the relationship. He has since learned to trust me (or to fear my wrath at being questioned re: meat). The tenderloin was rubbed in a Michael Doucharello concoction of cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, salt, white pepper, and a smidge of cayenne. A quick sear in the pan, then into the oven until 135 F. After I pulled it, I put it aside to rest and deglazed the pan with port and red wine vinegar. It reduced about 25%. I whisked in some butter, and created a beurre blanc that almost brought me to tears with its insane flavor and texture. I was pleased, because I’ve never made a beurre blanc at home, and I was winging it on this one.
Creamy, buttery polenta and caramelized red onions underneath the pork, drizzle the whole shebang with beurre blanc and KERPOW—delicious dinner.
Red beurre blanc also had the side benefit of obscuring the pinkness of the tenderloin, so if you wanted your pork cooked properly, but didn’t want your older guests to squawk like stuck pigs re: underdone pork, this would be a stupendous way to do it.
By the way, I do keep vicious kitchen organisms in check for the most part. I use separate cutting boards for meat and veggies. I do everything but don a HAZMAT suit to handle chicken. I use my friggin’ awesome ozonator (not technical name, but should be) to de-bacteriafy all of our produce…I just am less careful about things like raw eggs and USDA recs for meat. After all, my immune system is thus far serving me quite well, probably due to hygiene hypothesis (which I believe in. A lot. Go buy your kid a dog, and stop slathering them with antibacterial hand gels. Nothing breaks my heart more than a sickly little kid with overbearing parents).
One last thing–I went onto our SD card to get the photos for this post and found about 20 of these, which I did not take.
Apparently Chris and Chairman Meow have been having sexy photo sessions when I’m not around.