Can You Freeze Pulled Pork?

Can You Freeze Pulled Pork

Typically pulled pork is made in large quantities, so it’s no surprise that you will probably have leftover pulled pork. There’s no way to eat all of that leftover pulled pork in one sitting, so it’s only natural to wonder if you can freeze pulled pork.

Can You Freeze Pulled Pork

You can freeze just about food, including pulled pork. Leftover pulled pork will only last 3-4 days in the fridge. 

While leftover pulled pork will sound good on day 1 or 2, by day 3 or 4, you’ll be tired of eating pulled pork. Additionally, if you know you will not eat the pulled pork right away, you should freeze the leftover meat.

How To Freeze Pulled Pork

Many people discourage freezing pulled pork because the freezer can dry out foods, and to a certain extent, this is true. However, you can combat this issue by freezing the pulled pork along with any leftover cooking juices or rendered pork. The residual fat and cooking juices will help the pork maintain its moisture levels.

Therefore, after you remove the pulled pork from your propane smoker, remove the pork from the pan, pour the cooking juices that render in the pan into a freezer-safe container, and set it aside to cool.

As the cooking juices, a layer of fat will accumulate on top of the liquid. Remove the fat from the reserved cooking liquid and throw it away. Place the lid over the cooking liquid.

If you know you will freeze your pulled pork, do not shred all of it. Shred only as much pork shoulder or pork butt as you need. Leaving the pork shoulder in large pieces will help preserve the moisture inside the meat. Additionally, you can only freeze pulled pork once, so you may want to package the pulled pork in small portions.

Allow the pork to cool completely and place it into freezer-sage ziplock bags. You can also use a vacuum sealer for packaging the leftover pulled pork.

Either way, make sure you press the excess moisture from the pulled pork. If there is too much air in the bag, it increases the chances that the pulled pork will become freezer burned. 

Label the pulled pork and cooking liquid with today’s date and the name of the contents in the container and place it into the freezer. The pulled pork will last 6 months in the freezer if it is stored at 0°F.

How To Reheat Pulled Pork

You cannot freeze pulled pork without considering how to reheat pulled pork. In the same way, you can only freeze pulled pork once; you can only reheat pulled pork once. Freezing or reheating pilled pork multiple times can impact its texture and moisture levels resulting in dry, mushy pulled pork. 

In addition to this, when you remove the pulled pork from the freezer, remove its cooking juices. Place the meat and cooking juices in the fridge to thaw overnight before reheating them.

Stove Top

To reheat pulled pork, place it into a deep heavy skillet along with the reserved cooking liquid. Place the pork over medium-low heat and cook it for 10-15 minutes, stirring periodically, until the pork is nice and hot. If all the cooking liquid evaporates, you may have to add a few tablespoons of water, apple juice, or chicken broth.

Next, stir in BBQ sauce and continue reheating the pulled pork until it has a temperature of 165°F.

Grill

You can also use your natural gas grill to reheat pulled pork. It’s best to set up direct and indirect cooking zones when reheating pulled pork on the grill. 

Heat the natural gas grill to low. You use a charcoal grill and build a medium fire. Alternatively, if you are using a portable pellet grill, heat it to 225°F.

Shred the pork with two forks, then place it along with the reserved cooking liquid into a single-use aluminum pan and mix it well. Place the pork on the grill on the indirect heat side and close the dome.

Reheat the pulled pork for 20-30 minutes. Add BBQ sauce if desired, mix it in and cook the pulled pork for an additional 5 minutes until it is hot and has a temperature of 165°F.

Microwave

The microwave is not the best way to reheat pulled pork. The microwave will not reheat the pulled pork evenly. Nevertheless, you must wait for the pork to thaw completely before reheating it.

Place the defrosted pulled pork into a microwave-safe container. If your pork is not thawed, place it in the microwave and press the defrost setting. Heat the pork for 3-4 minutes, then rotate the container and heat it for an additional 3-4 minutes until it’s thawed.

Cover the pork and cook it on low power in 1-minute bursts until it has a temperature of 165°F. If the pork starts to dry out, add a few tablespoons of water, apple juice, or chicken stock to add some moisture to the meat. 

Next, add BBQ sauce if desired and mix it in before serving the pulled pork.

Oven

Turn your oven to 225°F. Place the thawed meat into an oven-safe roasting pan. You can shred the pork if it is in large chunks. Add the reserved cooking liquid on top of the pulled pork.

Cover the pork tightly with aluminum foil and heat it in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Next, mix in your favorite store-bought or homemade BBQ sauce with the pork and heat it in the oven for another 5 minutes. Once the pulled pork reaches a temperature of 165°F, stir it before serving it.

Final Thoughts

Freezing pulled pork is possible. Although people believe freezing pulled pork will ruin the texture of the meat, you can freeze pulled pork without any issues as long as you know what you are doing.

You can make a large batch of pulled pork, keep it in the freezer, and have it on hand any time you are in the mood for pulled pork.

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