You boiled pork for a favorite dish, set it aside less than half an hour ago, and now getting ready to serve it notice the pork has turned a dingy brown color. Oh boy, it doesn’t look very appetizing. What happened?! Deep breathe. 🙂 This darkening of the meat is oxidation, a chemical reaction between the boiled pork and the air. The meat, once white, turns a disconcerting dull shade with the edges looking dry and discolored. First, there’s actually nothing wrong with the meat and it’s perfectly safe to eat. Second, oxidation is a very natural process and occurs with all cooked meats and foods. It’s just much more visible with boiled pork due to the contrasting shades.
Fortunately, there’s a quick fix for this common problem and you can keep boiled pork from turning brown with this easy 60 second trick as I show you below. Here’s a sneak peek: the pork in the back was left to oxidize. The one in the front uses the ice bath trick. Note how it’s whiter, brighter and more appetizing than the one in the back.
Making the Perfect Boiled Pork
Always use fresh cuts of pork. When bringing home from the grocery store, plan to use fresh pork within 1-2 days. Letting pork sit in the refrigerator for more than 2 days could cause the meat to oxidize. Fresh pork is rosy pink or even red. It should not have a brown, grey or green cast.
Boil pork using plenty of water. Use a large pot and fill with water making sure all pork pieces are completely submerged. Any meat not covered with water will oxidize during cooking.
The trick to stopping boiled pork from oxidizing is to chill it immediately after boiling. To do this: Once the pork is fully cooked, turn off the heat and let it remain in the pot. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with 3 cups ice and cold tap water.
Using tongs, quickly remove the boiled pork from the pot and transfer into the ice bath. Swirl the boiled pork in the ice bath for 60 seconds. As soon as you dunk the pork in the ice bath, you’ll notice its color brightening instantly. It’s pretty cool!
Transfer the gleaming boiled pork to a plate. If not serving right away, cover to prevent drying.
When ready to serve, slice up the beautiful pork and enjoy. Delish! By the way, this trick works on beef and organ meats as well. Give it a try!
Check out these yummy recipes, using boiled pork:
Pork and Shrimp Fresh Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon)
Pork and Shrimp Clear Noodle Soup (Hu Tieu)
Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup (Pho Bo)
Watch the video for instructions.
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Cool tip. I am proud to serve the great appealing white meat using your simple blanching in an ice bath. So smart!
Thanks Vi! I am glad you found the tip helpful. 🙂