On this week’s episode of The Meat Show, host and professional carnivore Nick Solares offers two morsels of meat-eating advice to the viewer: 1) to explore pork beyond the more traditional cuts, and 2) to embrace lower cooking temperatures for the other white meat. To check both items off his own to-do list, Solares follows one lesser-known cut from the butcher’s table to the dining room, ending with a plate full of “pig steak” — a slightly sweet and porky piece of meat cooked to a tender medium.
Pork steak features on the menu at Grindhaus, a small but colorful restaurant in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. Owner Erin Norris solicited local butcher shop Fleisher’s for a unique cut of pork and landed on succulent steak, a cut Solares characterizes as tasting like a cross between beef steak and ham.
Grindhaus’ pork steak success, Solares notes, is thanks in part to the restaurant’s willingness to cook it at a lower temperature. In 2011, the USDA revised its pork cooking guidelines, dropping the recommended internal temperature from 160 degrees Fahrenheit to 145 degrees. The adjustment applies to whole muscle cuts of pork like loins and chops, and means that the world of pork preparation for restaurants got significantly broader. While it might not be the kind of pork a diner is used to, Solares suggests sampling a cut cooked medium for a new level of tenderness and depth of flavor.
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