The Key To Properly Freezing And Thawing Pulled Pork

Pulled pork comfortably resides in the absolute top tier of barbecued foods. With its succulent natural flavor that can be enhanced by a nice sauce, or even a simple dry rub, this prized dish is also a one-way ticket to some of the best sandwiches, lettuce cups, and nachos you'll ever have. But in order to enjoy its savory splendor after longer-term storage, ensuring that your next bite after reheating is just as good as the first bite when it was fresh, you must be freezing and thawing your leftovers properly. Thankfully, with the help of freezer-safe zip-top bags, storing pulled pork couldn't be easier.

Though "leftover pulled pork" might be a foreign concept to you, you might someday find yourself with an abundance of the good stuff, and the inability to eat another bite. Perhaps your party couldn't finish it all, or you simply prepared a large batch early to save you time later. When that day rolls around, you'll want to keep a few considerations in mind to preserve every ounce of deliciousness, keeping your pulled pork fresh and safe to eat in the long term.

A few extra steps make a big difference

To freeze your pulled pork, first, wait until the leftovers have cooled before tossing in your freezer-safe zip-top bag. Freezing hot foods can increase the temperature of your freezer and cause other frozen foods to start defrosting. This creates a potentially dangerous situation that can result in bacteria growth and foodborne illness. The best way to cool down your pork is to pop it in the fridge (yes, refrigerating hot food is totally safe) to avoid letting it sit at room temperature for too long. Once it's cooled, grab your freezer-safe bags or storage containers and fill them up. Additionally, try to keep excess air out of these containers because oxygen exposure encourages freezer burn. According to the USDA, you should only freeze cooked meats for up to two to three months to help maintain their quality.

When it's time to thaw the meat, you can opt for a traditional method like defrosting in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can go a more creative route like using your rolling pin, or setting your freezer bag in a pot of water with a sous vide cooker attached. Be sure to avoid the microwave, however, because it unevenly heats the meat and leaves it vulnerable to the spread of bacteria.

With these tips in mind, your pulled pork will be ready to use whenever the craving strikes. Be sure to check out our creative uses for leftover pulled pork to inspire your next delicious meal!