Trichanosis in Pastured Pork?

cannondMarch 4, 2014

I can't seem to find an answer to this question. These days, with confinement pigs being sold at the store, we don't have to cook pork to such high temperatures. But does the same hold true for pastured pork?

I have a pastured pig in the freezer, raised for me by a friend. I'd prefer not to cook the chops and tenderloin so long, but...

Does anyone know?


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Well, nothing is certain, of course, but I wouldn't overcook the pork.

About 5 cases per year are reported to the CDC, from wild game (including bear) which is undercooked, and from pork. That's 5 cases total from all sources. Trichinosis is mainly spread via rodents and from allowing pigs to eat raw meat themselves.

So, if you are comfortable with the health of the animals raised and the environment they are kept in, that's one big step.

Another is that your pork is frozen. Freezing cuts of pork less than 6 inches thick for 20 days at 5 ðF (âÂÂ15 ðC) or three days at âÂÂ4 ðF (âÂÂ20 ðC) kills T. spiralis larval worms; but this will not kill other trichinosis larval worm species, such as T. nativa, if they have infested the pork food supply (which is unlikely).

So, the risk is small, but it's there. So is the risk of driving your car every day. Heck, for that matter you could get hit by lightning, it happens.

In the grand scheme of things, it's not something I'm going to worry about and I raise my own pigs. They don't eat dead rats or raw meat, so I'm pretty confident. But don't follow my example, I'm a risk taker. (grin) I eat my grassfed beef raw sometimes, and my eggs are always over easy. I cook my pork to about 150F, because 145 is the magic number and my thermometer might be off or a bone in the meat might compromise the even heating of the meat.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 11:33PM
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For most people that raise pork, they are more careful than the 'factory farms'. I would go ahead and buy pastured pork (If I could find some) and cook it right, any day versus buying factory pork with all the stuff that they eat.

I do have a gentleman to buy from, but I have to tell me I want a hog 2-3 years in advance, that's how many people are buying from him. I've seen where he raises them and have tasted pork steak of his. Wonderful, a bit fattier, but with TASTE.

I always cook to the appropriate temperatures or times, I was raised that way and continue.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 8:54AM
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>I always cook to the appropriate temperatures or times, I was raised that way and continue.Therein lies the problem. The appropriate temperatures have been altered based on confinement hogs.

I'm not so concerned about venison since deer are herbivores, but hogs will eat anything, including carrion.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 3:37PM
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What Annie said - USDA FAQ says if you freeze pork less than 6" thick for 20 days, it's safe. Not so for game, though - guess different species of worms infect wild animals.

If you think the pastured hogs might have eaten some carrion, and the loin is thicker than 6", you could cook it to 160 but chops should be OK if you've had them in freezer for a while.

I had some pork chops from my mom's freezer (cleared it out before they left for FL at New Years), she paid $4.69/lb for some kind of brined pork chops "always tender" and they were the toughest things we ever ate - even though the 2nd dinner I cooked them to 150, no higher, and in a covered casserole (first was browned in skillet and braised in cider - maybe for too long).

I don't know how these might have been baked on a broiler pan as I usually do ribs and thinner chops (these were thick and I wasn't sure they'd cook all the way). But I don't buy meat with water added and the only thing I'll spend more than $4/lb for is steak or a nice spoon roast (and used to be able to get that for less). Most pork I buy is in the $2 range.

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA FAQ trichinosis

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 4:48PM
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Ok, maybe I should have said, I overcook to today's standards, because we like tender meat and what you find in the grocery stores these days isn't tender, no matter how much you pay or what they do to it.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 6:17PM
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Funny, they say it's so lean it's "the other white meat" but I don't have braised chicken end up tough? Need a little more fat on these pigs.

My dad insists on cooking pork until there's no pink left (and he doesn't bother with a thermometer). In fact, he cooks all meat well-done. Very hard to get him to realize that meat will continue to cook after you take it off the heat (and that it needs to rest before you carve it), esp. fish!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 6:52PM
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>What Annie said - USDA FAQ says if you freeze pork less than 6" thick for 20 days, it's safe. Not so for game, though - guess different species of worms infect wild animals. I may have been under-cooking venison tenderloins and backstraps. I remove any fat and all the silverskin, then sear them at high temps, after which I promptly remove them from the pan and allow them to rest while I cook shallots, mushrooms and the like in the same pan. Then I add stock and reduce till syrupy. I add the meat back to the pan just long enough to warm the meat.

It's always tender, flavorful and pink inside. It seems like a sin to cook such meat well-done. I hadn't realized the risks.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 11:41PM
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>nice spoon roast By the way, what is a spoon roast?


    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 11:42PM
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Sounds like you're cooking medallions, not a tenderloin roast. Have you cut them before freezing? Is the loin >6" diameter if you are freezing whole?

145 may be a little pink - try a thermometer next time to see what you're actually cooking it to, the rest time is required if cooking to that low temp (see USDA page).

A spoon roast is a beef top sirloin roast - 2 ways to cook, 1 sear it first at 500 degrees and then lower the oven temp to 200 or higher (USDA says 300) to cook until done, or 2 (my preferred), bring the meat to room temperature, rub with oil, salt and cracked pepper, turn your oven to 200, once it's preheated stick the roast in with a remote thermometer, when it hits 10 degrees below the final temp you want the meat (we like it rare so I pull it out at 125) take it out, tent it with foil, crank the oven up to 500, put the meat back in until it's got a nice crust (but my smoke detectors go off when I pull it out).

1 is safer, b/c you're searing the outside of the roast to kill any bacteria right away, but results in more well-to-medium roast with maybe a tiny rare center (depending on when you pull it out). Number 2 results in deli-counter rare roast beef almost all the way to the outside, but you've got to be sure the meat has been handled properly, b/c you can be sure the bacteria is killed on the outside, but not anything interior (remember I'm only roasting to final temp of 135 and that's over more than 2 hours).

Oh, I've got a good recipe for balsamic-glazed pork loin if you're interested.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 10:06AM
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Sorry, just noticed you said "venison" tenderloin. I thought it was pork. Definitely check that temp - I don't know that I'd eat venison rare, medium seems to be OK, and at least the medallions are being seared. Of course there is less chance of bacteria with cuts like roasts and chops than with ground meat.

DD was saying last night how she loves smoked venison - my dad must have given her some from his brother, I don't know how recently. My uncle hunts on our land but I haven't gotten any meat from him in years. Smoked venison eaten cold worries me, b/c I don't know how it's been handled and it's still pink in the middle (though this link says that's normal). Of course, DD also says she likes cauliflower, I doubt that, her BFF is vegan and takes it to school but they're not allowed to share. I am going to try broccoli again this year (maybe better as a fall crop, if I can remember to start it in July) since she says she likes raw broccoli (she sure doesn't like it cooked - in fact, I don't think she likes any vegetables cooked - not that she likes vegetables that much anyway, which is why I told her she couldn't become a vegan/vegetarian).

Here is a link that might be useful: Cooking Venison UMN

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 10:18AM
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Yes, ajsmama, I would like your pork loin recipe!

That link was helpful. It said that on whole cuts of venison, like steaks, an internal temp of 145 is good for medium rare. I have a thermapen, so I'll use it to be certain.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 1:23PM
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Here it is - handwritten on a 10-yr old renewal offer from BJ's so who knows where I got it from (newspaper?).

1.5 lb pork tenderloin
1/2C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (I just do it to taste but that's what original recipe said)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp shallots (I often omit)
2 cloves garlic (DS likes more)
2/3C balsamic vinegar
1/2C chicken broth
1 Tbsp fresh sage (or 1 tsp dry - I use dry)
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary (we like rosemary so I use 2 tsp or more dry, and lots fresh if I happen to have it)
1 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp or so dry)

Coat the tenderloin with flour, salt and pepper. Shake off excess.

Heat the oil in a ovenproof skillet (I use a Dutch oven) and brown the meat on all sides.

Add shallots and garlic, cook 2 minutes.

Add vinegar and chicken broth, bring to simmer. Place pan in 350 degree oven, roast 20-25 minutes, basting often (I suppose if you have a Dutch oven with those spikes on the underside of the lid, it's self-basting, but I haven't tried this in a covered pan, and the one I have is rather small).

When pork has reached 145-150, remove from oven and sprinkle herbs on top. Baste.

Remove to heated platter and slice. Drizzle pan juices over the tenderloin and serve.

We like this with potatoes roasted with olive oil, rosemary, and sea salt - may be too much rosemary for some but one of DS's favorite meals. Some carrots thrown in, and steamed green beans with yet more garlic (for him) and butter (for me and DH) - yum!

I guess I should go through all my clippings and scribbled recipes like this and put them in a book before I lose them...

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 2:38PM
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This recipe looks lovely. Thank you.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 3:39PM
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