You may be a little confused at this point about how long to cook pork. In the past, we were warned to cook it to well done (that is, 170 F) in order to take care of any trichinae parasites, which are killed at 137 F.
These days, however, modern advances in pork production have all but eliminated trichinosis in this country. In fact, the few cases reported here in recent years have been traced to either wild game (bears, especially) or privately raised pigs. You no longer need to overcook pork in order to feel good about eating it.
That said, pork shoulder has enough fat and connective tissue that you can still cook it well done, and it will still be delicious. Other cuts taste best cooked medium-rare, or a bit past that — 145 to 150 F — so that the pork is still a little pink in the interior.
We also recommend that you get yourself an instant-read thermometer, which allows you to gauge the internal temperature of the pork as it cooks. (Judging doneness by look and feel is a good thing too, but using a thermometer will help train your hands and eyes.) Remember that the internal temperature will rise five to 10 degrees after you take the pork off the heat. So, for perfectly cooked pork, cook it until it's still a bit underdone and then let it rest 10 to 15 minutes before eating.
**The following table shows Food Network Kitchen's preferred internal temperatures for beef and pork. These temperatures are based on taste and texture. Please note that out of a concern for safety, the USDA recommends higher temperatures than we do. We have included the USDA recommendations; you'll have to make your own decisions. Our rule of thumb is that if we know and trust where our meat comes from, we're okay sticking a fork in it before the USDA says it's done.
|Whole||165||165 breast 165-175 thigh|
|Parts||165||same as above|