Easy to make and popular to boot, pulled pork is almost a perfect meal. For this reason, pulled pork is great for feeding crowds, whether it’s a backyard barbeque or a family of five.
But huge batches usually translate to lots of leftovers. If that happens to you, don’t let all that food go to waste! There’s a way to enjoy that extra porky goodness for days or even months ahead by your freezing pulled pork.
Can You Freeze Pulled Pork?
The short answer is yes. Pulled pork freezes pretty well! Plus, it’s easy to maintain the original flavor and texture after reheating. It just takes a little planning ahead and a few supplies.
How Long Does Pulled Pork Last In The Freezer?
As long as it’s properly sealed in an airtight container, pulled pork can last up to six months in the freezer. Keeping it frozen longer than that can lead to freezer burn, which ultimately means your pork will be dry and tasteless when it’s reheated.
How To Freeze Pulled Pork
There’s nothing wrong with collecting your leftovers in a plastic bag, throwing them in the freezer, and calling it a night. As easy as this method is, it’s not the best way to freeze pulled pork and keep its quality intact.
The biggest threat to frozen pulled pork is freezer burn. Freezer burn happens when the food loses moisture during the freezing process, which causes ice crystals to form on the food’s surface. Don’t worry, though. As long as you know the right way to freeze pulled pork, you likely won’t have to deal with much freezer burn in your life.
What You Need
- Resealable freezer bag
- Plastic wrap
- Permanent marker
- Vacuum sealer (optional)
Step 1: Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap first
Wait until your pork has cooled to room temperature before packaging it for the freezer. Wrapping the meat in plastic wrap first will keep air off of the actual surface of the food and help protect against freezer burn.
Step 2: Place wrapped meat in a freezer bag
Once you’ve ensured the meat is securely wrapped, place it inside the resealable freezer bag. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer to remove excess air, simply push out as much as you can before sealing the bag.
Step 3: Mark bag with the day’s date
Use the permanent marker to label the bag before you put it away. That way, you can make sure to enjoy your leftovers within six months. Or, in the case of multiple leftovers, you’ll know which batch to heat up first!
How to Reheat Pulled Pork
Once the pulled pork is frozen, it’s just as important to defrost it the right way. Fortunately, pulled pork is one of the easier meats to freeze and reheat. For more information on how to do that, follow the steps below to ensure your leftovers stay juicy, tender, and flavorful.
What You Need
- Baking dish or foil roasting pan
- Meat thermometer
- Aluminum foil
Step 1: Thaw your food
The best way to do this is to transfer your food from the freezer to the fridge a day before you plan to reheat it. If you don’t have 24 hours, you can use your microwave’s defrost setting. Large batches can be thawed safely in cold water about four hours before reheating.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 225-250°F
Using the oven is probably the easiest way to reheat your frozen pulled pork. You probably have one. You can can do large batches at once.
Step 3: Place food in a pan with any excess juices/sauces
You a pan with high sides to hold in juices. If you don’t have saved juices from when you made the pulled pork, you can add a little vinegar, apple juice, broth, beer, or extra barbeque sauce to introduce extra moisture as your food bakes.
Step 4: Cover and bake until internal temperature reads 165°F
Topping your dish with a lid keeps all the moisture locked inside, protecting your food from drying out in the heat of the oven. Start checking the temperature after 30 minutes in the oven and keep checking until it reaches 165°F.
Step 5: Remove cover and bake for additional 10 minutes
This final step is optional, but it will give your pulled pork some crispy edges. Just a few extra minutes is all it takes to transform your leftovers into something special.
Like all good things, pulled pork is something worth waiting for. A lot of hours go into making a good batch, so any leftovers should be shown the same courtesy. As long as you know what to do ahead of time, you can freeze that perfect batch of meat to be enjoyed in future sandwiches, nachos, and more.