Holiday Meal Safety Tips and Tricks

Are you serving up a good old-fashioned ham this holiday season? If you are cooking any sort of pork dishes, below are some helpful holiday meal tips for serving and storing your meals to keep your family safe.

Pork cooking temperature

The safe internal pork cooking temperature for pork is 145° F. Use a digital cooking thermometer to measure the temperature at the thickest part of the cut without touching the bone.

How to safely serve pork

  • Keep hot foods at 140° F or above and cold foods at 40° F or below
  • Use separate serving plates and utensils for raw and cooked meats

How long do I have to defrost pork in the refrigerator?

  • Small roast will take 3 to 5 hours per pound
  • Large roast will take 4 to 7 hours per pound
  • One-inch thick chop will take 12 to 14 hours
  • Estimate Ground pork by package thickness

How do I know if leftover food is safe to eat?

For peace of mind, a good practice to follow is to never leave cooked meat out at room temperature for more than two hours. If any food is left out in the “Danger Zone” – between 40 and 140° F – for too long, discard it. Bacteria grow very quickly in that temperature range.

How long can I keep fresh pork?

Sealed, pre-packaged fresh pork cuts can be kept in the refrigerator for two to four days; sealed ground pork will keep in the refrigerator for one to two days. Generally, well-wrapped fresh cuts of pork, like roasts, chops, and tenderloin will keep in the freezer for up to six months.

How long can I store ham or other smoked products?

You can store whole smoked ham and whole ham slices in the refrigerator for three to four days or the use-by date on the label. Store Smoked sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and other luncheon meats for up to one week in the fridge. For a big roast, store cooked leftovers in the coldest part of the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Any other well-wrapped leftovers will keep in the freezer for up to three months.

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