How to Tell when Pork Chops are Done: 3 Methods that Work

With and without thermometer – we explain how to tell when the pork chops are done
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Last updatedLast updated: May 31, 2021
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As the weather gets warmer, the odds are that you are dreaming of firing up your grill and making some delicious food. Of course, some meats are easier to grill than others. Take pork chops, for example. It is very hard to know how to tell when pork chops are done. Pork is a much leaner meat than steak or even chicken, which can make it a bit tougher to tell exactly when it is done completely.

Thankfully, there are lots of different ways that you can figure this out so that you can enjoy perfectly delicious pork chops every time you grill. After all, the last thing that you want to do is eat undercooked meat. We will guide you through the various methods of checking in on your chops in this article so that you can figure out the one that works best for your style of grilling.

How to measure internal pork temp

How to Tell when Pork Chops are Done: 3 Methods that Work

If you have a meat thermometer, like this one from ThermoPro TP-16, then you should definitely use it to check to see if your pork is done. To utilize a device like this, you simply place the prong through the side of the meat until it reaches the middle. You do not want to come in from the top of the meat since this could affect the temperature. The readout on the thermometer will let you know what the internal temperature of the meat is, which can then inform you whether it is done or not.

How to tell if the pork is done using a thermometer

Once you have a clear understanding of how to use your thermometer, it is an essential tool to check whether your pork chops are fully cooked or not. For pork, the USDA recommends that you cook it to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. That way, all of the food-borne pathogens and bacteria should be pretty well eliminated before you eat them. You can also cook the pork until it reaches 144 degrees Fahrenheit and allow it to sit off of the grill for 5 minutes until it is ready to consume.

How to tell if the pork is done by its color

Using the color to check to see if meat is done is a staple of the grilling world. Whether you are cooking steaks or chicken, it is a natural idea that most folks will utilize when they want to know if their meat is done. This is a bit trickier with pork since different cuts are going to appear different ways once they have been fully cooked. Once a pork chop reaches the correct temperature, most of them are going to be a pale pink color, though some might appear a darker pink. As such, this is an unreliable method and should not be used on its own. Instead, look at the color after you have observed the internal temperature so that you are sure it is done.

How to tell if the pork is done by its softness

Another method that you can use to check the doneness of your pork chops is by touching in the middle with your tongs. You want to make sure that you have a sturdy pair of tongs for this job, like the Weber 6610 Original Tongs. That way, you will be able to firmly press into the center of the chop to see if it feels like it is completely finished cooking. If the pork chop is done, it will feel firm but not hard. If it is still soft, it is not cooked enough yet and needs more time. If the pork chop is hard and leathery, then it is overcooked.

How to Tell when Pork Chops are Done: 3 Methods that Work

Why you shouldn’t eat undercooked pork

As is the case with any type of meat, you don’t want to eat it undercooked. The entire purpose of cooking meat is to make sure that there are not food-borne illnesses present. These bacteria live in meat, and unless they are destroyed through the cooking process, they will be ingested by you and your guests. They can cause a person to become violently ill with food poisoning, which is something that you definitely want to avoid at all costs.

Final thoughts

Cooking pork chops makes for a great meal. They are lean and healthy, as well as completely delicious. They are somewhat difficult, however, to cook correctly. No matter if you make them on a grill or in a skillet, you need to follow the same procedures to make sure that they are done correctly.

Knowing how to tell when pork chops are done should always start with a meat thermometer. That way, you can make sure that the internal temperature is at the required 145 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also check the firmness to see this, but the internal temperature is the best way to make sure you are ready to eat delicious and safe pork chops.

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