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The other white meat: October is Pork Month

Pork can be used with many sauces, rubs and marinades, including this herbed pepper rub. (SD Pork Producers photo)

The leaves have changed colors, and harvest is almost complete. The month of October is not only great for beautiful colors, tailgates and trick-or-treating, but it is a great opportunity for pig farmers to showcase their amazing product during October Pork Month.

Many consumers are in search of knowledge about the different cuts of pork and meat preparation.

So often you hear from a consumer that they feel pork is dry and tough, which is a result of being overcooked.

But there is good news. You can have a delicious, juicy, great-tasting pork experience if you follow the current FDA guidelines which recommend cooking fresh pork to 145 degrees Fahrenheit with a three minute rest period.

Cooking to medium doneness for chops, tenderloins and roasts means just a blush of pink in the center. Cooking low and slow for ribs, loins and pork shoulder for classic fallof-the-bone ribs and perfect pulled pork is a must.

Pork is so versatile it works with many flavors. No matter what time of the year it is, it is easy to adapt sauces, rubs and marinades to create a dynamic meal that will turn "blah" into "ahh."

Over the last 30 years, pork has become leaner and contains less saturated fat. Pork tenderloin, the healthiest cut of pork, is actually just as lean as a skinless chicken breast. Pork has received the American Heart Association's Heart Healthy Checkmark, which means it can be marked and promoted as a heart-healthy product.

Pork is also a great source of protein, thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorus and niacin, as well as a very good source of potassium, riboflavin and zinc.

Stacey Sorlien is program and communications director for the South Dakota Pork Producers Council.

Random safety tip

If using a microwave to thaw pork, cook immediately after thawing.


Boneless Pork Loin Roast with Herbed Pepper Rub

Prep Time: 5 minutes, Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients: (1) 3 pound boneless pork loin roast

Herbed Pepper Rub:

2 tablespoons black pepper, cracked

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons dried rosemary

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cooking Directions:

Pat pork dry with paper towel. In small bowl, combine all rub ingredients well, and apply to all surfaces of the pork roast.

Place roast in a shallow pan and roast in a 350 degrees F oven for 1 hour (20 minutes per pound), until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees F.

Remove roast from oven; let rest about 10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Serves 6-8, with leftovers.

Nutrition values:

Calories: 200 calories

Protein: 25 grams

Fat: 10 grams

Sodium: 115 milligrams

Cholesterol: 75 milligrams

Saturated Fat: 4 grams

Carbohydrates: 1 grams

Fiber: 1 grams