Microwaving Pork

Microwaving is a quick and convenient method of cooking pork. When cooked properly in the microwave, the results will be a juicy, tender cut of pork. Although the flavor of the meat will not be enhanced as it is with other cooking methods, such as frying, grilling, sautéing, stir-frying and roasting, pork has the ability to absorb flavors, so its taste can be enhanced by the use of many herbs, spices and other flavorings. Such flavorings as allspice berries, juniper berries, chili powder, ginger, paprika, rosemary, thyme, coriander, brown sugar, and maple syrup work well with pork. It can also be cooked with fruit, in wine or in fruit juices to infuse a unique flavor.

When microwaving pork it is best to follow the manufacturer's instruction manual because different varieties of microwaves vary in cooking times, depending on their size and wattage. Smaller boneless cuts of pork cook better in the microwave than larger cuts. If microwaving larger cuts, the bones should be removed because they can block the meat around them from being cooked thoroughly. Pork should be microwaved at a medium to low setting, with the larger cuts being cooked at a lower setting than the smaller cuts to allow the heat to penetrate into the center of the cut without overcooking the outer layers. Pork should not be cooked on high settings in the microwave because it causes the meat to become tough.

Place smaller pork cuts in a microwave safe dish and cover as instructed by the recipe. Cuts that are not uniform in size and shape should be arranged so that the larger, denser pieces are placed around the outer edge while placing the smaller pieces in the middle. Part way through the cooking time the pieces should be rearranged by turning and exchanging positions of pieces that are cooking faster with those that are cooking more slowly. This will assist in getting most of the pieces done at approximately the same time. Larger cuts, such as roasts will benefit from being placed in a cooking bag. The roast should be placed in the bag and then the bag should be placed in an uncovered microwave safe dish.

When cooking, follow the times stated in the recipe as closely as possible and make proper adjustments according to any variance in microwave sizes. The pork should be first cooked for the least amount of time suggested in a recipe because you can always cook it for additional time if not done, but you want to be sure that it does not overcook. It is important to observe the standing times stated in the recipes before testing for doneness because the meat will continue to cook through conduction after it is taken out of the microwave. After the proper standing time, test the meat for doneness with a meat thermometer in several locations to ensure that it has been cooked evenly throughout. Its final temperature should be 145°F. Pork should never be partially cooked in the microwave unless it is going to be transferred immediately to another heat source to finish cooking.

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