Pork: Nutritious, flavorful and fun to cook

Farm Forum

As the leaves are working on changed colors, and harvest is in full swing. The month of October is not only great for beautiful colors, tailgates and trick-or-treating, but it is a great opportunity for South Dakota pig farmers to showcase their AMAZING product during October Pork Month.

A lot of consumers are looking for a healthy protein source that offers lots of flavor and a variety of cooking methods? You’ll find some great options with pork – whether you’re making a family dinner, grilling in the backyard or planning the perfect holiday meal.

Many consumers are in search of knowledge about the different cuts of pork. This past year there has been a makeover at the meat case with NEW pork cut names. In order to ease confusion over the various names of pork cuts, the National Pork Board and The Beef Checkoff program joined forces to make the meat case more familiar for shoppers. Several pork chop names are now aligned with beef steaks, so consumers can easily identify their favorite cut. Consumers will now find Ribeye Pork Chop bone-in or boneless instead of the Rib Chop, along with the Porterhouse Pork Chop and New York Pork Chop.

Not only are consumers looking for the perfect cut, but have several questions on meat preparation. So often you hear from a consumer that they feel pork is dry and tough, which is a result of being over cooked. But there is good news! You can have a delicious, juicy, great-tasting pork experience if you follow the current FDA guidelines which recommend cooking fresh pork to 145 degrees Fahrenheit with a three minute rest period.

Cooking to medium doneness for chops, tenderloins and roasts means just a blush of pink in the center. Cooking low and slow for ribs, loins and pork shoulder for classic fall-of-the-bone ribs and perfect pulled pork is a must!

Pork is so versatile it works with many flavors! No matter what time of the year it is, it is easy to adapt sauces, rubs and marinades to create a dynamic meal that will turn Blah into Ahh!

Over the last thirty years, pork has become leaner and contains less saturated fat. Cuts of pork that come from the loin such as chops and roasts are the leanest cuts of pork; pork tenderloin, the healthiest cut of pork, ounce for ounce, it is just as lean as a skinless chicken breast. Pork has received the American Heart Association’s Heart Healthy Checkmark, which means it can be marked and promoted as a heart-healthy product.

Pork packs nutrients in every lean serving and is a “excellent” source of protein and a “good” source of thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorus and niacin, potassium, riboflavin and zinc.

For more healthy pork recipes and information contact Stacey Sorlien, program and communications director for the South Dakota Pork Producers Council at (605) 332-1600, or visit http://www.sdpork.org.

Cuban Pork Tenderloin

Prep Time: 5 minutes, cook time: 20 minutes, marinating time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6


1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed

1/4 cup orange juice, fresh

1/4 cup grapefruit juice, fresh

2 tablespoons cilantro , chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Using thin knife, trim silver skin from tenderloin. Mix orange juice, grapefruit juice, cilantro, cumin, oregano, garlic, salt, and hot pepper in gallon-sized zip-top plastic bag. Add pork, close, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Meanwhile, make Rice and Black Bean Salad.

Prepare outdoor grill for direct medium-hot grilling. For a gas grill, preheat grill on high. Adjust temperature to 400 F. For a charcoal grill, build fire and let burn until coals are covered with white ash. Spread coals and let burn for 15-20 minutes.

Lightly oil cooking grate. Remove pork from marinade, drain briefly, but do not scrape off solids. Place on grill and cover grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned and instant-read thermometer inserted in center of pork reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit, about 20-27 minutes. Transfer to carving board and let stand 3-5 minutes. Cut on slight diagonal and serve with rice and black bean salad.

Nutrition Information: Calories: 140 calories, Protein: 24 grams, Fat: 3 grams, Sodium: 220 milligrams, Cholesterol: 75 milligrams, Saturated Fat: 1 grams, Carbohydrates: 3 grams, Fiber: 0 grams

Random Safety Tip: If using a microwave to thaw your pork, cook immediately after thawing.

The South Dakota Pork Producers Council (SDPPC) was created in 1954 to responsibly serve, support and enhance the success of the South Dakota pork production industry. Along with managing industry issues and improving the image of the pork industry, the South Dakota Pork Producers Council works to insure a safe, wholesome product for the consumer’s confident consumption.

South Dakota’s pork producers have 170,000 sows and they produce 339,000 farrowings per year. South Dakota is ranked #11 in pork production and ranks #2 in pigs per sow. South Dakota ranks 9th nationally in number of pigs born in the state. South Dakota’s pork industry contributes $2.1 billion overall economic impact of SD’s Swine Industry. Also, South Dakota pork industry contributes $17.4 million in total tax revenue.