If you have ever prepared a pulled pork recipe, you already know that it involves a large cut of meat. Unless you serve it to a big group of people, you’ll most likely end up with plenty of leftovers, leaving you wondering how you should store them. Can you freeze pulled pork?
Pulled pork can be easily frozen, provided you use a freezing method that will prevent the pork from becoming too dried out once it’s thawed and reheated. Pulled pork can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Let’s discuss how to freeze pulled pork along with the best methods to defrost and reheat this dish. I’ll also explain how long pulled pork stays fresh in the freezer and whether you can refreeze it or not.
Freezing Pulled Pork: Quick Method
If you know right from the start that you’ll need to freeze a good portion of your dish, just shred the meat that you’re planning to eat right away. Leave the rest of the pork shoulder or butt whole. However, this certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t freeze pulled pork if you’ve already shredded or chopped it.
In either case, let the fresh pulled pork cool down to reach room temperature and divide it into meal-size portions. Then, wrap each portion in plastic wrap to make it airtight.
After that, place all the wrapped packets in a large resealable freezer bag and remove as much air as possible before sealing it to prevent freezer burn. Next, label the freezer bag with the current date and store the pulled pork in the freezer.
How to Retain The Moisture Content of Pulled Pork
The secret behind freezing pulled pork is to make sure that the meat retains its moisture content as much as possible. It will allow you to enjoy juicy meat after reheating the frozen pork.
The best way to achieve that is to pour all the cooking juices from the pulled pork into a heatproof and airtight cup and let them cool down at room temperature. The juices will form a layer of fat on top as they cool down, and you’ll need to discard it by skimming it off.
Then, store the container of juices in the freezer. You’ll need to add these juices back to your pulled pork while reheating it to keep it from drying.
Can You Freeze Pulled Pork With Sauces?
You can freeze pulled pork with or without sauces such as barbecue sauce, gravy, or other sauces. However, I advise you to freeze this dish without any sauce if you have limited storage space. Skipping the sauce means that you’ll be able to add more meat per freezer bag.
If you want to freeze pulled pork with some sauce, make sure that the sauce you’re using is capable of freezing. Some sauces, like mayonnaise-based sauces and the ones that contain starch, don’t do well in the freezer.
They start to break down in the freezer as the fats separate from the other ingredients. Freezing pulled pork with such sauces will negatively affect the quality and taste of meat.
How to Thaw Frozen Pulled Pork
There are multiple methods that you can use to defrost frozen pulled pork but the most effective one is to place it in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure that you place the frozen bag in a dish or bowl in case it leaks.
If you don’t have enough time and want to defrost the pork quickly, consider placing it in a bowl of cool water. Depending on the amount of meat, it’ll take about 30 minutes to two hours to defrost the pulled pork.
How Do You Reheat Pulled Pork?
Unsurprisingly, using the oven or stove are the two most popular methods for reheating pulled pork. If you’re using an oven, you’ll need to preheat it to 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the defrosted pork for 20 to 30 minutes.
Make sure that you place the meat in a roasting pan and add barbecue sauce and the meat juices (that you stored). In addition, you’ll also need to cover the pan using aluminum foil to keep the meat from drying out.
If you’re using the stovetop, add thawed pulled pork to a large saucepan along with the juices. Set the stove’s burner to medium to low and cook the meat for 15 to 20 minutes while stirring regularly. You want to cook pulled pork until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
While using a stove and oven are the most popular methods, a slow crock pot generates the best results. Add the pulled pork, some BBQ sauce, and stored juices to your slow cooker.
Select warm settings and let the meat cook for two to three hours (one to two hours on low settings). Remove the reheated pulled pork once its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Long Does Pulled Pork Last in the Freezer?
Pulled pork will remain edible for up to six months in the freezer. But it will start to lose its original flavor and texture after three months. So, you should use it within two to three months for the best taste and maximum freshness.
If you’re planning to eat your leftover pulled pork within a couple of days, consider storing it in your refrigerator instead of the freezer.
Can You Refreeze Pulled Pork?
Yes, you can refreeze pulled pork if you have thawed it in the refrigerator. But you need to keep in mind that you won’t be able to enjoy the best taste after reheating the refrozen pulled pork.
Additionally, cooked pork that you defrosted using other methods like fresh water, microwave, or oven, must never be re-frozen. That’s because they may have a higher number of active bacteria that can cause health problems.
Can You Freeze Pulled Pork – Conclusion
You can freeze pulled pork and reheat it to enjoy a delicious meal but it’s only possible if you use the correct freezing technique and, ideally, freeze the juice from the original cooking.
Make sure that you freeze this delightful food in meal-size portions. It will allow you to remove only what you need, and you won’t need to defrost the entire batch at once.