Make Ahead

Can I brown my fresh pork this morning, put it the refrigerator, and finish cooking it tonight? 

Never brown or partially cook any meat. 

What is the best way to get a slow cooker pork meal ready to cook when I have such busy mornings? 

Assemble the ingredients in the slow cooker crock the night before. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Then, simply remove the crock from the refrigerator in the morning, insert it into the slow cooker and begin cooking.  (Do not cook frozen pork in a slow cooker).


Is it safe to eat leftover food that was left out on the counter to cool at dinnertime, then forgotten until morning?

 No. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees F, some doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. Some types will produce toxins that are not destroyed by cooking. 
Pathogenic bacteria do not generally affect the taste, smell, or appearance of a food. In other words, one cannot tell that a food has been mishandled or is dangerous to eat. If a food has been left in the "Danger Zone" – between 40 and 140 degrees F – for more than 2 hours, discard it, even though it may look and smell good. Never taste a food to see if it is spoiled. It is always best to use the rule of “When in doubt, throw it out.” 

I have leftovers from a big roast, how long can I keep them? 

Leftovers should be placed in the refrigerator within 1 to 2 hours of serving.  Store cooked leftovers in the coldest part of the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Well-wrapped leftovers can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Food Safety

What about trichinosis? 

Because of modern feeding practices, trichinosis is a no longer a concern. Although trichina is virtually nonexistent in pork, if it were present, it would be killed at 137 degrees F. That's well below the recommended end cooking temperature for pork, which is 145 degrees F, followed by a 3-minute rest time.