Discover the best ways to freeze pulled pork for lasting freshness. Learn key tips for freezing pork, thawing and reheating, plus ideas for leftover pork.
One question we’re often asked is, can you freeze pulled pork? Freezing pulled pork is not just a good idea; it’s a great way to preserve the hard work that goes into cooking up that tender, flavorful cut of meat.
Whether you’ve prepared a large batch using a pork butt or pork shoulder, or you’ve got some leftover pork from a recent party, this guide will show you the best way to freeze pork for later. Say goodbye to the risk of freezer burn and hello to delicious leftover pork!
Why you need these tips:
When I make pulled pork. I often cook two pork shoulders, partly because I’m often cooking for a crowd, but also because pork freezes well. Freezing pork in large batches is a smart move for busy households. It means you’ve got a delicious base for a meal ready at any time.
According to the USDA, cooked pulled pork only lasts in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. There are different ways to freeze pork and but we’ll show you the best option to prevent freezer burn.
Our Favorite Pulled Pork Recipes
To have leftover frozen pulled pork, you need to start with the best pork recipe! Try one of our favorites:
This is my preferred method and the easiest way to freeze leftover pork:
Let the leftover meat come down to room temperature before the freezing process. This step is crucial to prevent condensation inside the sealed bag. Too much moisture can lead to freezer burn.
Choose your portion size. You can freeze the pork in a big batch in a large resealable freezer bag, or a small portion each in their own airtight container. The smaller portions make it easier to thaw only what you’ll need.
Use a large Ziploc bag to freeze pulled pork. The freezer bags save space and protect against freezer burn. Remember to press out any excess air for the best results.
Double bag. This extra barrier offers more protection against freezer burn. Again, squeeze out as much air as possible. If you only have one bag, first wrap the pork in plastic wrap, then place the plastic wrapped pork in the zippered bag.
Label the bag. On the label, write how much pulled pork is in the bag, any seasonings that might be on it, and then the date that you froze it.
Opting for a Vacuum Sealer
If you have a vacuum sealer, you can preserving flavor and texture by using it to remove all the air. This will ensure your pork stays fresh.
How long can you freeze pulled pork?
According to the USDA, freeze properly wrapped pulled pork for 2-3 months. After that, it would be safe to eat, but you might lose quality in texture and flavor.
Thawing and Reheating
Thawing your pulled pork correctly is crucial in preserving its taste and texture. Letting the pork thaw in the refrigerator overnight is your best option. This method ensures that the pork thaws evenly and remains at a safe temperature, preventing any bacterial growth.
When you’re ready to reheat the pork, here are some options:
Oven Method. Preheating your oven to a low temperature, around 250°F (120°C), is a great option for reheating your pulled pork. Wrap the pork in aluminum foil, and consider adding a splash of apple juice or barbecue sauce to replenish moisture. Place it in an oven-safe dish, and heat until it reaches the ideal internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Stovetop Method. For those looking for a quicker option, the stove top is a great choice. Place the thawed pork in a pot with a cup of chicken broth, or better yet, its own cooking juices, and gently warm it over a medium heat. Stirring occasionally, adding additional flavors like BBQ sauce or a dash of apple juice if you’d like.
Microwave Method. If time is of the essence, using a microwave-safe dish is a suitable alternative. Cover the pork with a microwave-safe lid and reheat it on a medium setting. Make sure to pause and stir occasionally to ensure even heating. This option works perfectly for quick pork tacos or sandwich filling.
Sous Vide Method. If you’re familiar with sous vide, this method can provide excellent results. Seal the pork in a sous vide bag and submerge it in a water bath set to a temperature of 165°F (74°C). This cooking process slowly and evenly heats the pork, retaining its moisture and flavor.
How to Use Leftover Pulled Pork
Classic Pork Sandwiches: A classic choice. Pile high on a soft bun, top with coleslaw or your favorite BBQ sauce for a quick and satisfying meal.
Pork Tacos: Stuff soft tortillas with pulled pork, add some fresh salsa, a sprinkle of cheese, and a dash of lime for a tasty twist.
BBQ Pork Pizza: Spread BBQ sauce on your favorite pizza dough, add a layer of pulled pork, some red onion, and cheese for a delicious homemade pizza.
Baked Nachos: Layer tortilla chips with pulled pork, beans, cheese, and jalapeños. Bake until melty and serve with guacamole and sour cream.