The Real Reason You Should Never Rinse Pork

For plenty of meat lovers, pork products are considered to be one of life's greatest joys. Just consider a nice, juicy pork chop or a plate of perfectly cooked, crispy bacon – pork aficionados would be hard-pressed to ask for a more enticing set of options. You could, however, prep those meals incorrectly, by rinsing your pork before cooking and ending up with unwanted results.

There are multiple reasons to avoid rinsing pork, even if you are accustomed to the practice. For one thing, rinsing your pork can make it a bit more difficult to cook to perfection. According to Cookist, rinsing your meat first could prevent it from browning sufficiently when frying or grilling. Greatist concurs, explaining that water can prevent your meat from getting to appropriate temperatures to achieve the Maillard reaction — the actual browning of the meat — and deprive you of a deliciously flavorful crust.

Health concerns can arise

Of course, you could just pat the meat dry before cooking (in fact, you should do this even if you haven't rinsed it), but the real issue with rinsing your pork or any other raw meat concerns the health risks that it can pose. According to the USDA, rinsing any kind of meat or poultry runs a risk of cross-contamination. Water can splash from the rinse to the kitchen surface, kitchen utensils, and onto other nearby foods, all of which can spread and lead to food contamination and subsequently to a food-borne illness. 

Not only can rinsing meat spread harmful bacteria and viruses, but even if you clean the area following the rinsing process some harmful bacteria and viruses can remain. Rinsing meat is unnecessary because cooking completely to a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit is the most effective way of ensuring it's free of germs.

To truly ensure a nice tasty slab of pork on your plate and keep food-borne illnesses at bay, resist any urge to rinse your pork, and always be mindful of cross-contamination in the kitchen.