Cooking Pork

Partial Cooking

Never brown or partially cook pork, then refrigerate and finish cooking later, because any bacteria present wouldn't have been destroyed. It is safe to partially pre-cook or microwave pork immediately before transferring it to the hot grill to finish cooking.



Safe Cooking

For safety, the USDA recommends cooking ground pork patties and ground pork mixtures such as meat loaf to 160 °F. Whole muscle meats such as chops and roasts should be cooked to 160 °F.


For approximate cooking times for use in meal planning, see the attached chart compiled from various resources. Times are based on pork at refrigerator temperature (40 °F). Remember that appliances and outdoor grills can vary in heat. Use a meat thermometer to check for safe cooking and doneness of pork.



Can Safely Cooked Pork Be Pink?

Cooked muscle meats can be pink even when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature. If fresh pork has reached 160 °F throughout, even though it may still be pink in the center, it should be safe. The pink color can be due to the cooking method or added ingredients.



Microwave Directions

  • When microwaving unequal size pieces of pork, arrange in dish or on rack so thick parts are toward the outside of dish and thin parts are in the center, and cook on medium-high or medium power.
  • Place a roast in an oven cooking bag or in a covered pot.
  • Refer to the manufacturer's directions that accompany the microwave oven for suggested cooking times.
  • Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness in several places to be sure temperatures listed above have been reached.



Cooking or Reheating Hams

Both whole or half, cooked, vacuum-packaged hams packaged in federally inspected plants and canned hams can be eaten cold just as they come from their packaging.


However, if you want to reheat these cooked hams, set the oven no lower than 325 °F and heat to an internal temperature of 140 °F as measured with a food thermometer.


Unpackaged, cooked ham is potentially contaminated with pathogens. For cooked hams that have been repackaged in any other location outside the plant or for leftover cooked ham, heat to 165 °F.


Spiral-cut cooked hams are also safe to eat cold. The unique slicing method, invented in 1957, solves any carving difficulties. These hams are best served cold because heating sliced whole or half hams can dry out the meat and cause the glaze to melt and run off the meat. However, if reheating is desired, hams that were packaged in plants under USDA inspection must be heated to 140 °F as measured with a food thermometer (165 °F for leftover spiral-cut hams or ham that has been repackaged in any other location outside the plant). To reheat a spiral-sliced ham in a conventional oven, cover the entire ham or portion with heavy aluminum foil and heat at 325 °F for about 10 minutes per pound. Individual slices may also be warmed in a skillet or microwave.


Cook-before-eating hams or fresh hams must reach 160 °F to be safely cooked before serving. Cook in an oven set no lower than 325 °F. Hams can also be safely cooked in a microwave oven, other countertop appliances and on the stove. Consult a cookbook for specific methods and timing.


Country hams can be soaked 4 to 12 hours or longer in the refrigerator to reduce the salt content before cooking. Then they can be cooked by boiling or baking. Follow the manufacturer's cooking instructions.



Timetable for cooking Ham

Set oven temperature to 325 °F. Both cook-before-eating cured and fresh hams should be cooked to 160 °F. Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 °F and all others to 165 °F.


Cut Weight/lbs Minutes/lb
HAM, cooked
Whole, bone in 10 to 14 15 to 18
Half, bone in 5 to 7 18 to 24
Arm Picnic Shoulder,
5 to 8 25 to 30
Canned ham, boneless 3 to 10 15 to 20
Vacuum packed,
6 to 12 10 to 15
Spiral cut, whole
or half
7 to 9 10 to 18
HAM, uncooked
Whole leg, bone
12 to 16 22 to 26
Whole leg, boneless 10 to 14 24 to 28
Half, bone in 5 to 8 35 to 40

For questions, call 513-251-6991. © 2009 Schad Meats, Inc.