Pork Pozole features two items I rarely use in the kitchen. The first is the slow cooker. I have a hard time finding slow cooker meals that offer both great taste and solid nutritional benefits. I usually have to dust off our crockpot each time I use it. The other item that makes a limited appearance in our kitchen is pork. Pork Pozole is the one and only pork dish I prepare regularly for my family.
I was a “pork-avoider” mostly for health reasons. Whenever I read about the types of red meat to avoid for heart and other health risks, generic “pork” was always on the list. I was curious If all pork fit into the red meat category.
Is Pork a Lean Meat?
Taking a look at nutritional data revealed to me that all pork cuts are not equal when it comes to healthy eating. There are many cuts of pork, which can be divided into “red meat” or “white meat” depending on the cut. Both pork tenderloin and pork chops meet the USDA criteria for a lean meat. The FDA considers “lean meat” to have less than 10g of total fat, and less than 4.5g saturated fat.
I was surprised to find out that both skinless chicken breast and pork tenderloin qualify for the “extra lean” FDA category of meat: less than 5g of total fat and less than 2g of saturated fat. Compare that to the same serving size (100g) of pork shoulder, a fattier cut: 21g of total fat, and 8g of saturated fat.
Using these numbers, it’s inaccurate to broadly categorize pork as a red meat. If you stick to pork tenderloin or pork chops, you’ve got a lean protein that compares nicely with chicken.
Pork Safety Update
Another reason I was hesitant about pork was the conventional advice to cook every last bit of pink out of pork, for fear of trichinosis. I remember my mom’s thoroughness when cooking pork. This made for some tough servings of meat and turned me off from this good source of protein.
Based on the latest research, the “safe minimum cooking temperatures” for pork put out by foodsafety.gov , is 145° with a 3 minute rest time. This is 15° less than it used to be before 2011, when 160° was the minimum temperature.
The USDA guidelines also recommend using a meat thermometer to guide your cooking, instead of trying to judge if every last bit of pink is cooked out of the meat. For more information about how to safely use a meat thermometer, see the USDA info page. Time for some tender, juicy pork!
Pork Pozole Fan Club
Pork Pozole always guarantees a wildly appreciative audience in our house. My most recent batch elicited this remark from my husband: “I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner!” June loves it too, especially with all the garnishes to decorate it and add pizzazz. The hominy makes it a comfort food, while the olives, cumin, cilantro and lime are a winning flavor combination. I hope you enjoy!