Planned or not, pulled pork leftovers sure are good to have when you need a quick meal! So how do you store them? Can you freeze pulled pork? The short answer is yes! And if you do it properly, you’ll have some delicious freezer meals that can save the day when you’re short on time!
A grilled pork shoulder is quite large, and I’m usually happy to save the extra portions for later. There are plenty of delicious pulled pork leftover recipes and we never seem to get bored with this versatile meat.
When kept in an airtight container or vacuum sealed bag, pulled pork can last up to 5 days in the fridge.
Freezing it is the best option when you have a large quantity of leftover pulled pork, or you’d rather eat it at a later time.
Can You Freeze Pulled Pork?
You can definitely freeze pulled pork! When done correctly, it should be good for about 3 months.
To ensure the pulled pork remains moist and tender when reheating, don’t forget to add the juices and fat to the freezer packages.
You can even prepare pulled pork in different ways before freezing it. For example, you can add BBQ sauce before freezing, keep it whole, or even shred it.
I’m a big fan of meal planning and for pulled pork, it’s a good idea to actually calculate those leftovers.
Once you calculate how much pulled pork you need per person, you can buy the perfect cut of meat and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the leftovers quantity you’ll end up with.
How To Freeze Pulled Pork
I would like to elaborate on the initial question. Can you freeze pulled pork and will it still taste just as good?
You sure can! It’s not difficult either. You simply need to do it right, and whoever gets to taste your reheated pulled pork won’t know it’s not freshly cooked unless you tell them.
Now let’s get to work!
Follow the step-by-step instructions below to freeze pulled pork correctly and prevent common issues like spoilage and freezer burns.
- Let the pulled pork cool completely.
- Portion the meat. It can be individual servings, or the number of your family members…..you’re the one in charge of planning the meals. For maximum moisture I don’t recommend shredding the meat before freezing. If you keep the meat whole, all the juices will remain trapped inside.
- Prepare freezer or vacuum bags depending on the number of portions you have. You can also use airtight containers. I still recommend wrapping the meat in clingfilm before placing it in the containers to prevent freezer burns.
- Place pulled pork in the bags. If you’re using vacuum bags, this will let you perfectly take out all the air for optimal storage. For freezer bags, you’ll need to manually squeeze out the air. We even double bag ours to ensure that if one bag leaks a bit the second bag is there for the insurance.
- Label the bags. This way you’ll know what’s in them, the quantity, and the date they were frozen.
- Freeze. Nothing left to do than place your portioned pulled pork in the freezer until it’s ready to use!
Tip: If you’re freezing pulled pork in whole pieces, you should also freeze its leftover juices separately. They’ll be very useful when reheating!
How To Reheat Pulled Pork
To reheat pulled pork, you can use several methods depending on the appliances you have and your personal preference.
We have a full guide on how to reheat pulled pork that includes step-by-step instructions for reheating in the microwave, in the oven, on the stovetop, in the slow cooker, and on the grill!
Depending on the method you choose, you might need to thaw your pulled pork. This can be done overnight in the fridge, or by leaving the sealed bags of frozen pulled pork in cold water until they’re fully thawed.
The stovetop method is perfect if you’ve frozen the pulled pork in vacuum bags. You’ll be placing the bag in hot water and allow it to reheat gently.
Whatever reheating technique you choose, your pulled pork will turn out better if it has a bit of liquid. It can be leftover juices, broth, or apple juice. Any of these will hydrate the meat, keeping it tender.
Last, but not least, keep in mind the target temperature for safe to eat pork is 165°F, as per USDA’s recommendations. The easiest way to measure the internal temperature of any meat, is by using a digital meat thermometer.
Pulled Pork Cooking & Serving Tips
Pulled pork can turn out amazing regardless if it was grilled or smoked, cooked in the oven, a slow cooker, or an instant pot.
Pork shoulder, picnic roast, and Boston butt are the most popular cuts used for pulled pork and once you know how they’re different, you can choose the one you like most.
Testing different dry rubs, the liquid you add in before you cook the meat, and what you use the pulled pork for afterwards can bring you different and exciting results.
To simplify the process, we made a free printable Pulled Pork Temperature Chart, with step-by-step instructions for all the above cooking methods and pork cuts.
Another way to turn this juicy, shreddable meat into an interesting culinary experience is the impressive number of pulled pork sides you can choose from.
As a general rule, pulled pork will pair well with most BBQ sides.
Depending on what you choose to pair it with, pulled pork can be a nutritious, light meal, or a comforting dish perfect for a feast!
Ideally, pulled pork should be frozen in pieces, in vacuum sealed bags. This method ensures the meat remains moist, and doesn’t get freezer burns.
If you use regular freezer bags, you’ll need to manually push out as much air as possible before sealing the bags.
Yes, you can! The BBQ sauce could separate after thawing depending on the ingredients, so it’s a good idea to freeze a small amount of sauce and see how it behaves, before using it for pulled pork.
If your pulled pork changed its color, has an unusual or off-putting smell, it’s been in the fridge for over 5 days, or at room temperature for over 2 hours, it’s not safe to eat anymore and should be discarded.
It’s best to shred pork while it’s still warm. The meat will be soft and easy to work with.
If you stored the cooked pork in the fridge, it’s best to reheat it before shredding.
Can you freeze pulled pork and keep it just as tasty as the day you cooked it? With a bit of TLC, success is guaranteed!
You’ll have valuable pulled pork leftovers for quick meals like sheet pan pulled pork nachos, or loaded cast iron pan pulled pork nachos!
From all the pulled pork leftover recipes, the classic pulled pork sandwiches still hold a special place in my heart.
You can try it with all the best buns for pulled pork and it will be a little different every time!