Oh, I know. I know. I’m going to get a whole bunch of traffic from porn sites and lonely middle-aged men. I can’t wait for the comments to come in. But last night I was sauteing some pork tenderloin and I thought about how I test for doneness. I learned it a long time ago and it has worked every time. If you do this, your family will think you’re Bobby Flay or Julia Child. Heck, you’ll think you’re Julia Child. At least for a few minutes.

Let’s just say you’re cooking pork tenderloin, because that’s what I had in the pan. You take the two loins (they always come two to a bag) and trim off the silverskin. Then you rub it with your favorite BBQ rub or other spice mixture. Lay it on fairly thick. I used some chipotle cinnamon rub I got a free sample of at a BBQ contest last summer that I forgot was in the cabinet.

You put some oil in a heavy pan, heat it up until it shimmers and plop in the meat. Saute it on all sides until it’s the color you like. Keep a lid on it so the pork starts to cook through.

NOW. Here’s the important part. You start touching the pork in the thickest part with your finger. It will feel squishy. Not done. You want it to feel like what the fleshy palm of your hand feels like when you touch your thumb with your middle finger. Try it. Kind of like a tennis ball that’s starting to lose its air. Do I have to draw you a picture? O.K., here it is. Just keep cooking the meat, lowering the temperature if it’s getting too brown, until you get that feel.

Once you get that tennis ball feel, stop. Take the meat off and let it rest for 10 minutes under some foil. The pork should be rosy in the center. No, you will not get worms. This is 2010 and that’s the proper way to cook pork.

This also works with steak. If you do this each and every time, you will always get medium rare steak. I obviously got this photo off the internet because I don’t have enough money to cook pork tenderloin and steak in the same night. But this is what it looks like.

This does not work with chicken. Obviously. But you probably already knew that. I have to go watch Grey’s Anatomy now. It’s the first new episode in almost three months. I know. Pathetic. Have a good evening.


  1. Terrell Jones
    Terrell JonesReply
    January 16, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    My grandson worked in the one and only restaurant here in our thriving city. They have boiled potatoes with parsley. He said the butter that you put on top was creamy. I fixed them for lunch today and could not figurer out how to make the butter creamy. Any suggestions? He said theirs came in a can already mixed.

    • the south in my mouth
      the south in my mouthReply
      January 16, 2010 at 9:59 pm

      Terrell, I cannot think of what that might be.

  2. Alan B
    Alan BReply
    January 18, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Got to your blog via your old friend Andy Cassell
    who was just eating my short rib pastrami yesterday here in Yonkers. I have been testing meat with my forefinger since you were in diapers. It never fails once you get the hang of it. And you can get a good sense of the doneess of chicken breasts in the same manner.

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