How Long Does Cooked Pork Usually Last In The Fridge?

It would be nice if that cooked pork you have in the fridge lasted forever. Leftovers are one of the greatest upsides to cooking. It's a joy to be getting ready to eat lunch, or packing it in the morning, only to realize you don't have to make another peanut butter sandwich because there is a container of pork chops from last night. You get all the goodness of a home-cooked meal in less time than a frozen dinner. So it feels extra disappointing when you open up that container only to get a whiff of bad meat. All that effort, and now the easy, delicious meal you were looking forward to goes to waste in the trash. Life just isn't fair sometimes.

It's inevitable that some leftovers will sit in the fridge for a while, no matter how good they are, but it would be nice to avoid this fate. Most people know the basics about how to tell if your fresh meat is spoiled, but once things get cooked, the lines start to blur a bit. There are obvious things like mold, but does no mold mean your two-week-old stew is still okay to eat? Doesn't cooking something kill the bacteria that could make it go bad? Unfortunately, it's not that simple, and even cooked pork can go bad if it sits in the fridge for too long. So how long do you have after you put that pork in the fridge before the sad and unthinkable happens?

Refrigerated cooked pork can last up to four days

Your results may vary, but cooked pork should be eaten in the first few days after it's been refrigerated. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), cooked pork is best within three to four days, after that, it may start to go bad and develop odors and off-tastes. While you may still be able to eat the pork and not get sick, a risk of illness does exist. The temperature danger zone for food is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but there are some bacteria that do well at cold temperatures too. Those bacteria are associated with bad smells and tastes, so if you have any concerns your pork is smelling funky, it is best not to take the risk.

In addition to temperature, the USDA states that light, oxygen, and humidity can all contribute to spoilage. That is why sealing off your cooked pork, or any other cooked meat is essential to extend that shelf life and make sure your food doesn't go to waste. Don't let your cooked pork sit out at room temperature too long after you cook it, and always make sure your food is stored in a separate, air-tight container. Making sure you follow proper storage protocol is a small step, but one that will save you time and again from the sad fate of lost pork.