Put It On Ice: Can You Freeze Pulled Pork?

September 11, 2023

Yes, you can freeze this prepared pork dish, although you need to know the proper process.

My family is known for smoking way too much meat so we had to answer the question, can you freeze pulled pork rather early on. The good news is that I am not a pro at doing it!

In this post I will show you how to freeze pulled pork, defrost it, and so much more! Let’s get started.

can you freeze pulled pork

How Do You Store Leftover Pulled Pork?

There are two main ways for you to store fresh pulled pork so that it can be used at a later date. The most common method is refrigeration. You should be aware that this is a short-term storage option.

If you aren’t planning on eating your pulled pork any time soon, freezing is a good long-term storage option for you.

How Long Does Pulled Pork Last in the Fridge?

According to the USDA food safety guidelines, pulled pork can be kept in the refrigerator for no more than 3 or 4 days. If it isn’t used up by then, you should throw it out. After this period, there is an increased risk of bacterial growth and, as such, food poisoning.

How Well Does Pulled Pork Freeze?

For the most part, pulled pork freezes rather well.

pulled pork bbq

Now, most cooked meat items can be frozen for an extender period of time, often up to 6 months. However, I would advise you to freeze pulled pork for no longer than 2 to 3 months. After this point, it will begin to lose taste and texture.

Needless to say, there is little use in keeping or reheating pulled pork that won’t be as nice.

Related Reading

How to Freeze Pulled Pork?

Here is a step by step guide to freezing pulled pork:

Cool the Pulled Pork Completely

Always make sure that the pulled pork is completely cooled before you place it in the freezer. Placing hot food in the freezer causing the surrounding temperatures to drop. In turn, this can cause the other food in the freezer to thaw out.

Although this may not be enough to cause spoilage, you may end up changing the taste and consistency of these foods. There is also the fact that you will trap steam and moisture inside which can cause crystals once the food freezes.

If you want to cool down your pulled pork quickly, place it in a wide container and put in the fridge without covering it.

Section Into Freezer Bags

Technically, you can freeze all of the pulled pork together in a single bag, but I would advise against it unless you are planning on reheating all of the meat together. If you only want to use a small portion at a time, it makes more sense to scoop individual batches into a freezer bag.

I like to label my bags with the dish and the date that it was frozen. Not only does this make it easier to find what I’m looking for, it also lets me know how long I have until I need to use up the meat.

Always use bags or containers that are specifically meant for freezing. Otherwise, the material may end up being too thin and this can compromise the quality of the meat.

Don’t Add Barbecue Sauce

There are two main ways to make this dish, depending on your pulled pork recipe – smoked or via a slow cooker. Now, if you prepared your pulled pork in a smoker, then there is a good chance that you serve the sauce alongside the meat – you don’t mix it in while making the pork.

If this is the case, avoid adding the BBQ sauce to the meat when freezing. The sauce can cause the strands to clump together. It can also mess with the quality of the meat. Due to this, I prefer to freeze them separately. You can freeze the sauce in an ice cube tray.

Of course, if you slow cooked it in a crock pot, then you can add all the components together.

Seal the Bag Well

The best way to prevent freezer burn is to seal the bag really tightly. The first step is choose a freezer bag that is the right size for the batch that you are freezing. This reduces the risk of air being trapped inside.

Next, squeeze all the air out of the bags. Press down to remove as much air as you can. If you want an even more effective method, go for a vacuum sealer. Otherwise, just squeeze the excess air and seal the bags tightly.

Place in the freezer.

How to Maintain Quality and Flavor During the Freezing Process?

As you are well aware, when you freeze pulled pork, you run the risk of altering the flavor and the general quality of the dish. If you want to make sure that it is as good as new, then here are some of the tips to follow:

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Freeze the Whole Chunk

If you don’t think that you will be eating all the pulled pork at one meal, it is a good idea to only shred as you go. Don’t shred any more meat than you have to.

This way, you can freeze the whole pork shoulder. In doing so, you can preserve the natural juices and consistency of the meat. This will make for a far more delicious result.

Save the Cooking Juices

If you are smoking your pulled pork, then you have to let it rest – often up to an hour. As you do this, you will notice liquid pooling around the pork in the roasting pan. Don’t discard these juices. Instead, save them and freeze them.

You can them add them to the meat when you reheat the pulled pork, infusing far better flavors.

How to Thaw Frozen Pulled Pork?

I always prefer to defrost pulled pork before reheating it. This way, it heats up more evenly.

If you wish, you can defrost the pulled pork in the fridge. This is a safe way of doing so but can take several hours. Thus, you will need to plan your meal ahead of time.

The other option is to place the pulled pork still tightly wrapped in plastic in cold water. Make sure it is submerged but that no water is entering the packaging. This will take a much shorter period of time.

If you want to quickly defrost the frozen pulled pork, then you can use the defrost setting on the microwave. However, I dont like this method as it can unevenly heat the food and even cook it further if you aren’t careful. You should also remember to take the pork out of its packaging and place it in a microwave safe container before heating.

Related Reading

How Do You Reheat Frozen Pulled Pork?

The next step involves heating up your thawed pulled pork. Once again, there are a few different avenues for you.

Remember that regardless of which method that you use that you need to heat the meat all the way through. It needs to register an internal temperature of 145 degrees for at least 15 seconds for it to be safe to eat.

My favorite method of reheating pulled pork is on the stovetop. Heat up the pan, place the pork, and add the saved juices. If you don’t have this liquid, then you can add some water or stock for moisture.

Another option is the slow cooker. Add the pork, add barbecue sauce and cook until you reach the desired level of doneness. Then served with buns for pork sandwiches.

Finally, you can use the oven to reheat pulled pork. Simply preheat the oven and place the meat in a heatproof. You can add BBQ sauce, water, or stock depending on how you will be using the pulled pork. Heat until done.

Here is your answer to can you freeze pulled pork. Not only do you now know how to go about doing this to perfection. The next time you have leftovers, you know exactly what to do!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. CatHead's BBQ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon (.com, .co.uk, .ca etc) and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
More like this ...
Hungry Yet? Lets Grill Some!
Copyright 2023 CatHead's BBQ, all rights reserved.