what is pulled pork

Can You Freeze Pulled Pork? Freezing & Reheating Tips

Considering that an average eats around 51 pounds of pork a year, it’s safe to say that this meat is one of the most popular types in the USA. However, there is one thing a lot of people that love this type of dish ask – “Can you freeze pulled pork?”.

There are literally hundreds of ways you can cook pork, but one of the most beloved and delicious ways is BBQ, more specifically – pulled pork. With this cooking method, you can make so many breathtaking meals – pulled pork tacos, nachos, and even pulled pork pizza!

Truth be told, as someone who also loves this type of BBQ that piqued our interest, since we never considered it. Usually, we just cook the meat and eat it right away. But true, there are instances when you need to freeze the pork to store it for later. 

But can you actually do it? That is a whole other issue we decided to investigate in more detail.

What Is Pulled Pork, and How to Make It?

The best and safest way to cook this pulled pork is to use an oven or a slow cooker. So for this type of meat you just have to throw a pork shoulder into either an oven or a cooker. While some people prefer the oven to a slow cooker, you might have to try them both out to see which one suits you best. 

Another important thing you need to remember is that it’s best to not season the meat before you cook it, especially if you plan to experiment with recipes. Just cook the pork and try it with any side dish or condiment of your choice. 

As for the safety and appropriate temperature, do keep in mind that according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, you must let your Pork rest for about 3 minutes once it gets to 145°F. Then you will have your meat all cooked and ready to be pulled. Moreover, you can use anything that works for you to pull your meat apart, but using forks is recommended.

How Long Is Pulled Pork Good for?

Before learning if can you freeze cooked pulled pork, you need to understand how long is it good for, overall.  Generally, cooked meat should be consumed within a day or two, even if it is refrigerated. However, the refrigerated product will last anywhere between 4 days to a week. And if frozen right, the product can easily last up to 6 months. Even if you keep taking the container out from time to time, if you ensure that the container is airtight before you put it back into the freezer, it will easily last 2 to 3 months.

Does Pull Pork Freeze Well?

A lot of people wonder – can pulled pork be frozen without ruining its taste? For that, you need to understand that any kind of food, if frozen right, stays that way indefinitely as long as it stays frozen. How you should freeze pulled pork depends on how you have cooked your meat.

And since the pork freezes really well in any form, you should have no problem freezing pulled pork too.

Guidelines to Freeze Pulled Pork

With that said, let’s figure out how can you freeze pulled pork the right way. Well first of all – choosing the right kind of packaging material goes a long way in keeping your meat safe. So you need to pick a package that is made of food-grade material and is airtight. Also, any kind of microwave-safe containers should do the trick. Thus, you can pack your food in the container once it has completely cooled and put it into the freezer.

Defrosting Frozen Pulled Pork

  • You can get your frozen pulled pork out and make yourself a quick sandwich or just use it as a pizza topping. However, do keep in mind that thawing your frozen product is important: and there are various ways you can defrost or thaw your pulled pork.
  • The easiest way to defrost your meat is to leave it overnight in the fridge. By the next morning, the meat will have thawed out and will be ready to cook. 
  • You could also get a chopping board and lay the meat in a thin layer on the board. However, it is very important to cook the meat immediately after.  
  • Using a non-stick pan to thaw out the meat is an even better option. You could add the sauce of your choice to the pan, and the meat will be thawed out and cooked in one go. However, make sure to start with low heat and switch to medium or high towards the end.
  • By far, the best defrosting option would be to use the oven. Add a couple of teaspoons of water and start the oven after you put the food in. Michigan State University Extension recommends using the defrost feature on the microwave and cooking the food immediately after thawing to kill the bacteria.

A Step by Step Guide to Reheating Pulled Pork

  • While you can go about reheating your pork in any of the usual heating ways, it is important to remove the fat layer and make sure that the pork is not too dry.
  • Remove the fat layer from the top of the thawed pork and put in a few teaspoons of water if the meat seems to be too dry.
  • Add a sauce or juice of your liking to the thawed meat.
  • You can now either Microwave the dish or transfer it to a pan and put it in an oven.

Where Can You Use Thawed Pulled Pork?

Cooked thawed pulled pork can then be used for several recipes. You can just about add pulled pork to make anything: sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, cutlets, or you could add an exotic sauce and savor the taste.

Final Word

So to all the people that wonder – “Can I freeze pulled pork?” the certain answer is – yes! However, you have to make sure to find the right container to store the meat in – airtight, moisture-proof, and resistant to changes in temperature. And while defrosting and thawing takes an equal amount of skill, if you make a small mistake while packing, all is lost. 

With that said, we hope that our guide on how to freeze pulled pork has answered all your questions regarding this topic! So best of luck enjoying this delicious meal, and don’t forget to share some of your favorite pulled pork recipes in the comments with fellow meat-lovers!


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