Kick off grilling season with S.D. pork

South Dakota pork experts offer tips to master grillers

Chili-rubbed grilled pork chops. (Courtesy of South Dakota Pork Producers Council)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — With Memorial Day behind us, we can look forward to the official kick off to warmer weather, summer picnics and grilling season. “South Dakota pork is an ideal partner for the grill, thanks to its versatile flavor and easy preparation,” said Stacey Sorlien, Program and Communications Director for the South Dakota Pork Producers Council (SDPPC).  “By mastering a few simple techniques and experimenting with new flavor-boosting recipes, rookies and home chefs alike will be well on their way to becoming VIPs on the grilling scene,” Sorlien said. For a sizzling season that’s full of perfect pork on the grill, the South Dakota pork experts offer master grillers the following grilling tips:

  • Marinate for flavor. Marinades typically consist of three key ingredients: an acid (such as vinegar or fruit juice), an oil (such as olive oil or Italian dressing) and herbs and spices. Shoppers can choose from store-bought selections or create their own at home, such as the one used in Make-It-Mine Kabobs (recipe below). For even distribution, place chops and marinade in a re-sealable plastic bag or covered container and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 12 hours before grilling.
  • Rub it in. Without any liquid, the punch packed into a rub stays with the meat.  The flavors of a few crushed spices rubbed over the meat will unite in just 30 minutes and cook to a tasty crust on pork cuts.
  • Watch your tail. When grilling with pork tenderloin, one end will be thinner than the other –almost like a tail.  To keep the tail from overcooking, fold the end over and tie it with some household string.  Many cooks also cut it off for use in soup or stews, or place the thin end over a “cooler” part of the grill.
  • Cook to Medium. For juicy and tender grilled pork, cook to medium doneness over direct heat. Use a meat thermometer to judge doneness – 145 degrees F with a 3-minute rest time. For perfect, slightly pink-on-the-inside pork. For exact cooking times, please visit

In addition to pork’s flavor versatility, Sorlien said it is also a nutritious mealtime option. Pork contains many of the nutrients recommended by health organizations to build and maintain a healthy body, including six essential vitamins, four important minerals, protein and energy. Pork’s lean meat serves as an excellent source of thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorus and niacin, and a good source of riboflavin, potassium and zinc.    Additionally, a study released in 2006 by the USDA reveals seven common cuts of fresh pork are leaner today than they were 15 years ago – on average about 16 percent lower in total fat and 27 percent lower in saturated fat. The pork loin offers several options for delicious pork recipes. Keep in mind when visiting the meat case, make sure to look for the lean cuts of pork with the word “loin” on the label, such as pork tenderloin or loin roast. Any pork chop is also a lean choice. “LOIN” = Lean! From ribs to chops to roast, pick your favorite! Keep in mind, prominently price per pound in the meat case your best value is to pick a whole loin and slice it the way you like it!   Eating healthier just got easier with the addition to the pork tenderloin another one of pork’s cut was added to the list of Heart-Check Certified products by the American Heart Association. The Pork Checkoff is working with the American Heart Association to highlight the heart-healthy benefits of the pork sirloin roast. As a Heart-Check Certified cut of meat, pork sirloin adheres to the American Heart Association’s requirements allowing its label as a “heart-healthy food.” The pork sirloin roast joins the pork tenderloin with this designation as an extra lean cut of meat certified by the Heart-Check Food Certification Program.   Just because you want to eat healthier doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste because pork is so delicious anyway you cook it! USDA recommends that pork can safely be cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a three-minute rest time, resulting in pork that is more tender, juicy and flavorful! Ground pork, like all ground meat, should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.   For nutritional information and pork recipes or for information about modern pork production, please visit   The South Dakota Pork Producers Council (SDPPC) was created in 1954 to responsibly serve, support and enhance the success of the South Dakota pork production industry.  Along with managing industry issues and improving the image of the pork industry, the South Dakota Pork Producers Council works to insure a safe, wholesome product for the consumer’s confident consumption.   South Dakota’s pork producers have 170,000 sows and they produce 5 million baby pigs per year. South Dakota is ranked #11 in pork production and ranks #2 in pigs per sow. South Dakota ranks 9th nationally in number of pigs born in the state.  South Dakota’s pork industry contributes $2.1 billion overall economic impact of SD’s Swine Industry. Also, South Dakota pork industry contributes $17.4 million in total tax revenue. 

Cook Time: 10
Servings: 4   FOR ROASTS, CHOPS and TENDERLOINS Cook to 145 F with 3-minute rest time   Ingredients 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes ½ cup fresh lime juice ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground       CHILI RUB 3 jalapeno chili, seeded, very finely minced, about ¼ cup 2 table spoons sesame oil 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1/8 tablespoon sugar  Cooking Directions For rub and marinade: stir together jalapeno, sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar together in small bowl. Wearing disposable gloves, rub mixture over all the surfaces of the chops. Place chop in single layer in shallow dish. In large measuring cup, stir together all marinade ingredients; pour over chops, set aside for 20-30 minutes. Chop preparation: prepare a medium-hot fire in grill. Remove chops from marinade, discarding marinade. Grill chops over direct heat, turning once, to medium doneness, about 3-4 minutes per side, until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a 3-minute rest time.   Serving SuggestionsServe with Avacado-Corn Salsa Nutrition Information Calories: 264 calories Protein: 37 grams Fat: 11 grams Sodium: 440 milligrams Cholesterol: 106 milligrams Saturated Fat: 3 grams Carbohydrates: 3 grams Fiber: 0 grams Random Safety Tip Do not use the same surface for cutting uncooked meat and vegetables. Use different cutting board for uncooked meat. For more great summertime grilling recipes visit

— South Dakota Pork Producers Council

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