Unless you’re cooking for a large group, making a pork shoulder often results in plenty of leftovers. This might leave you wondering, can you freeze pulled pork? Let me show you the right way to freeze pulled pork so you can continue to enjoy your hard work for weeks or even months! When frozen properly, the meat remains tender, succulent, and oh-so-delicious. You’ll love having this ready-to-go meal waiting in your freezer!
Can You Freeze Pulled Pork?
Yes, you can absolutely freeze pulled pork. It’s important to freeze the meat to retain as much moisture as possible, so it doesn’t become dry when thawed.
What is Pulled Pork?
Pulled pork refers to tender, shredded pork that is often mixed with barbeque sauce and served in a sandwich or on its own. It’s wonderfully tender and savory when cooked properly. Pulled pork is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes, such as carnitas, burgers, sandwiches, and salads.
How to Freeze Pulled Pork
Freezing pulled pork is a great way to store leftovers. The secret to freezing pulled pork is to retain as much moisture as possible, maintaining its melt-in-your-mouth texture after freezing and reheating. If you plan to freeze a portion, you can shred what you want to eat right away but leave the rest of the pork butt whole. Alternatively, shred the meat but allow it to cool fully to retain its juices.
Once the meat reaches room temperature, store it in a large resealable freezer bag or airtight container. You can also portion the meat and store it in smaller bags for future use. Ensure you remove as much air as possible to prevent the risk of freezer burn. Another option is to use a vacuum sealer for packaging frozen pulled pork. Properly sealed pulled pork can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to Reheat Pulled Pork
To warm up your leftover pork without drying it out, there are several methods to choose from. Before reheating, thaw the pork first either at room temperature for a few hours or in the refrigerator overnight. Use a splash of liquid, such as reserved cooking juices, apple juice, broth, or water, to keep the meat tender. Make sure the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
This low-and-slow Crock Pot method is almost fool-proof. Add the pork to the slow cooker and top with barbeque sauce or a splash of liquid. Set the heat to warm and let it sit for 2-3 hours. For a quicker option, cook on low for 1-2 hours. Stir occasionally and check the internal temperature. Once it reaches 165°F, it’s ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 225°F. Place the pork in a roasting pan and add your chosen liquid. Cover with aluminum foil and roast until the meat is heated through. Optionally, add barbeque sauce for the last 5 minutes. This method takes about 30-45 minutes.
Preheat the grill on low. Place the pork in a disposable aluminum pan with your chosen liquid. Set the pan on the grill rack, close the lid, and cook for 30-45 minutes until the meat is heated through. Add BBQ sauce for the last 5 minutes if desired.
Add the pork and liquid to a large saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10-20 minutes until the meat is hot all the way through. Add more liquid as necessary to prevent the meat from drying out.
An electric pressure cooker keeps pulled pork nice and tender. Add enough liquid to the bottom of the Instant Pot to allow it to come to pressure. Place a trivet inside the pot, then place the pork in a heat-safe dish on top of the trivet. Close the Instant Pot, turn the valve to sealing, and set the cooker to steam for 5 minutes. Release the pressure naturally or perform a quick release.
When in a hurry, the microwave is a quick and easy option. Place the pork in a microwave-safe dish, add a splash of liquid or barbecue sauce, and cover. Heat on high for about 2 minutes until the meat is hot.
Ensure the pork is in a Sous-Vide-safe plastic bag. Use the Sous Vide to bring a pot of water to 165°F. Place the sealed bag of pork in the pot and allow the meat to reheat for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Can You Freeze Pulled Pork with BBQ Sauce?
While it’s easier to freeze pulled pork without sauce, you can certainly freeze pork with sauce as long as the sauce you’re using is freezer-safe.
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How do you like to use your pork leftovers? Let me know in the comments below.