If you enjoy cooking the most delicious meal, making pulled pork often ends up as part of the menu. It is a delicious food you can serve as a starter, along with the main meal, or add to the best sandwiches you can imagine.
However, when you make BBQ pulled pork, you’ll often make large batches by default; thus, you’ll have too much to use in one go. So, regardless of whether you have pork shoulder or Boston Butt (pork butt), barbecue enthusiasts will want to know how to keep it to stop it from going off.
In our guide, you can find the answer to “Can I freeze Pulled Pork?” By the end, you’ll see how to store your pork in the proper food storage manner, how you can find pulled pork good for meal prep, and how to reheat frozen pulled pork for some quick and delicious pork recipes. (Read Does Tequila Freeze)
What Is Pulled Pork
Pulled pork starts as raw meat and is cooked until tender and shredded. The meat is frequently combined with barbecue sauce before being served on its own or in a sandwich. When prepared correctly, it is very tender and savory!
Although pulled pork is most frequently used in barbecue, it is a versatile ingredient that works well with various taste profiles. You can use it to top burgers, throw Cubano sandwiches, serve it as carnitas in tacos, top salads with it, and so much more.
Pork shoulder and pork butt commonly referred to as Boston butt, are the most frequently used meat parts. Although they are comparable and frequently used interchangeably, there is a tiny distinction between them.
Both originate from the animal’s front, so the “butt” has nothing to do with the back end of the creature. The pork shoulder wraps across the pig’s underside, whereas the pork butt extends from the region between the shoulder blades to the spine.
How To Freeze Leftover Pulled Pork
Can you freeze pulled pork is asked and answered quickly? It can and is a blessing for ready-to-go ingredients for quick and easy freezer meals and family dinners. Now you know can you freeze pulled pork, here are some tips on how to freeze pulled pork to get the best from your meat.
Freezing leftover pulled pork is a fantastic way to keep it fresh. However, preserving as much moisture as possible when freezing pulled pork is essential. The meat will maintain its melt-in-your-mouth feel even after freezing and reheating by avoiding drying out!
If you already know you’re going to freeze a sizable piece, you can always shred the portion of the pork butt you will eat right away or store leftover pulled pork whole and keep it in an airtight container.
The meat will hold most of its juices if you let it cool completely before shredding. Once the meat has warmed to room temperature, place it in a large airtight container or a large resealable freezer bag, and expel as much air as possible.
The meat could also be divided into chunks and kept in smaller bags or wrapped tightly in plastic so no air can get to the meat. The latter is preferable if you only intend to thaw one or two servings at a period in the future.
Next, ensure that all the air has been removed, which can help prevent the risk of freezer burn. While more costly than freezer bags and plastic wrap, packaging frozen pulled pork using a vacuum sealer means you can easily keep pulled pork frozen for six months compared to other methods where up to three months is possible. (Read Can You Freeze A Cream Sauce)
How To Reheat Pulled Pork
You have a wide range of options for rewarming your leftover pork. With each, the challenge will be to thoroughly roast the meat without drying it out. You must have thawed pulled pork for each procedure, either at room temperature for a few hours or in your refrigerator overnight.
A little liquid should also be added to keep the meat soft. This might be water, chicken stock, apple juice, or even the cooking juices you saved from when you cooked the pork.
It’s crucial to make the meat reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
1. Slow Cooker
Nearly foolproof, the low-and-slow Crock Pot approach. Place the pork in the slow cooker, then add some liquid or barbecue sauce. It is advisable to let it sit for a couple of hours with the heat set to warm. You may also cook it on low for 1-2 hours if you’re in a rush.
Just remember to check on the meat occasionally and stir it. It is ready for serving when cooked pulled pork has an internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Another great option to heat your thawed pork is this; it only needs 30 to 45 minutes. Place the pork in a roasting pan, add chicken stock or your preferred liquid, and preheat the oven to 225°F.
Roast the meat until thoroughly heated, then cover with aluminum foil. For the final five minutes, add barbecue sauce if you’d like.
Set the grill to low heat. The pork will be added to a disposable aluminum pan with your preferred liquid, much like an oven. Close the lid and cook the meat for 30 to 45 minutes, or until thoroughly heated, after placing the pan on the grill rack. Once more, if you like, you can add BBQ sauce for the final five minutes.
Turn the meat to medium-low after adding the liquid and pork to a large pot or skillet. The meat should be heated after 10 to 20 minutes of constant stirring. Keep a close watch on the liquid level and add additional as needed to prevent the meat from drying.
5. Instant Pot
An electric pressure cooker is a great way to maintain pulled pork’s tenderness! You must first pour enough liquid into the bottom of the Instant Pot for it to reach pressure. The trivet should then be placed inside the pot. Last, lay the pork on top of the trivet in a heat-safe dish.
The cooker must be sealed, the valve set to sealing, and the timer set to steam for five minutes. You have two options for the pressure release when the cooking period is over: fast release or natural pressure release.
The microwave is always the quickest and simplest option when you’re in a rush. Put the pork in a dish that can be heated in the microwave, drizzle on some liquid or barbecue sauce, and cover. The meat needs around 2 minutes on high to get heated.
How To Store Leftover Pulled Pork?
You can preserve fresh pulled pork in one of two ways so that you can use it at a later date. Refrigeration is the method used most frequently. This is a temporary storage option, so you should know that.
Freezing is an excellent long-term storage option if you won’t be eating your pulled pork soon.
How Long Will Pulled Pork Last in the Fridge?
According to USDA food safety regulations, pulled pork should not be kept in the refrigerator for longer than 3 or 4 days. If it hasn’t been consumed by then, you should throw it. Following this time frame, there is a higher chance of bacterial growth and food poisoning. (Learn How Long Can You Keep A Dead Pet In The Freezer)
How Well Does Pulled Pork Freeze?
Incredibly nicely, pulled pork freezes. Nowadays, most prepared meat products may be frozen for a long time—often up to 6 months. To freeze pulled pork, it is recommended to freeze for only two to three months as the meat can lose flavor and texture.
How to Freeze Pulled Pork?
Here’s a how-to for freezing pulled pork step by step:
Cool Your Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork
Before putting pulled pork in the freezer, ensure it has cooled. Placing hot food in the freezer raises the temperature, and other food in the freezer can defrost. Even while it might not be enough to spoil the food, you might wind up altering the flavor and consistency of the cuisine. The food will be sealed inside, trapping moisture and steam that can cause crystals once the food freezes.
Put the pulled pork in a wide container and store it in the refrigerator without a lid if you want it to cool rapidly.
Use Freezer Bags
The pulled pork can technically be frozen in a single bag, but it isn’t suggested to freeze the meat all at once. Scooping a small portion into a freezer bag makes more sense if you only want to use a tiny amount at once.
Always use freezer-safe bags or containers when freezing food. If not, the material can become too thin, lowering the meat’s quality.
Don’t Add Barbecue Sauce
Depending on the recipe, there are two significant ways to make pulled pork: smoked or in a slow cooker. If you made your pulled pork in a smoker instead of mixing the sauce into the meat itself, there is a good chance that you will serve the sauce separately.
If so, do not season the cooked meat with BBQ sauce before freezing. The sauce may cause the strands to group together. It might also affect the meat’s quality. Therefore freeze them one at a time. You can freeze the sauce in an ice cube tray.
Of course, you could incorporate all the ingredients for your pulled pork recipe when reheating pulled pork in your crock pot.
Seal Your Bags
Sealing the bag tightly is the best way to prevent freezer burn. Selecting a freezer bag that is the size for the amount of food you are freezing is the first step. Air being trapped inside is less likely as a result.
Squeeze out all the excess air from your bags tightly. Use a vacuum sealer as these get out as much air as possible for an even more efficient approach. If not, compress the extra air and firmly close the bags.
Add to the freezer.
How to Maintain Quality and Flavor In The Freezing Process?
Freezing pulled pork can cause the flavor and overall quality of the dish to change. So, how long does pulled pork last before it doesn’t taste as good?
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind if you want to make sure that it is in like-new condition:
Freeze the Whole Chunk
It is a good idea to shred as you go if you don’t anticipate eating all the pulled pork in one sitting. Limit the amount of meat you shred. You can freeze the entire pork shoulder in this way. Doing this may keep the meat’s natural fluids and consistency. This will make a far more delectable outcome.
Save Your Cooking Juices
You must let the pulled pork rest if you are smoking it, typically for up to an hour. As you go, you will see liquid gathering around the pork in the roasting pan. Don’t throw these liquids away. Save and freeze them as an alternative.
When you reheat the pulled pork, you can add them to the meat to infuse much richer flavors.
How to Thaw Frozen Pulled Pork?
You’ll need to defrost pulled pork before heating. Your pulled pork can be defrosted in the refrigerator. Although it can take several hours, this is a safe way to accomplish it, and you’ll need to plan your supper.
The alternative is to submerge the pulled pork in cold water while still securely wrapped in plastic. Make sure the package is submerged but not filled with water. It will take significantly less time to complete this. (Read Can You Freeze Cotija Cheese)
Use the microwave’s defrost option if you want the frozen pulled pork to defrost rapidly. However, it can cook the food more quickly and unevenly if you’re not careful. Don’t forget to remove the pork from its package and put it in a microwave-safe container before heating it.
Recipes using pulled pork leftovers:
- Pork Tacos
- BBQ pork sandwiches
- Nachos with Pulled Pork
- Leftover Pork and Vegetable Soup