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Pulled pork is always a great option for when you are hosting a party or hosting large quantities of people. It is an easy dish to make in great quantities.
However, life gets in the way and the day of a big event or party very rarely runs smoothly. Is there a way that you can make the day easier?
Can you make your pulled pork dish ahead of time and freeze it?
Allow your pork to sit in any cooking juices that are leftover before placing in the freezer. After allowing the pork to soak up the extra juices while cooling, you will need to separate the pork from the layer of fat that will form over the juices.
After picking out the pork, you need to place it in an air-tight container.
If you know ahead of time that you will be freezing the pulled pork, be sure to leave the pork together instead of shredding it. This will help the pork lock in more moisture.
If you plan on using a zip-lock freezer bag to store your meat in, be sure to squeeze out all the excess air. Since your pork is moist, it can run the risk of getting freezer burn if not stored properly.
Your pulled pork can remain in the freezer for up to six months.
To see the most popular freezer containers just click here.
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How Do You Reheat Pulled Pork?
Make-ahead dinners are a great way to save time in the evenings. You already have a delicious dinner waiting for you in the freezer. All you need to do is reheat your dinner and voilá, dinner is served.
Not all make-ahead meals are reheated the same. What is the best way to reheat pulled pork?
There are a few different ways you can reheat your pulled pork for dinner. You can put it in the oven, in the stovetop, or in the microwave.
Reheat Pulled Pork In The Oven
Preheat your oven to 225º. Place your defrosted pulled pork in a roasting pan, this will allow your pulled pork to reheat in its juices.
Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil. Place it in the oven and allow it to “recook” for 20-30 minutes.
Reheat Pulled Pork On The Stovetop
Place the pork and all its juices in a large pan. Stir on medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes.
You might need to add a few splashes of water or chicken stock to keep the pork moist. You can also place the bag of pork in a pot of water and bring it to a boil.
Allow the bag to sit in the boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the bag remain in the hot water for an additional 10 minutes.
Be sure that the bag is completely sealed, otherwise, the juices from the meat will seep out into the boiling water leaving your meat dry.
Reheat Pulled Pork In The Microwave
This reheating method is not the best option. The pork will not end up heating evenly and can end up leaving cold spots.
The best way to use the microwave for reheating is to slowly defrost the pork and rotate it halfway through.
With all three methods, make sure the internal temperature of the pork is at 165º before eating if you didn’t cook it completely before freezing. .
Can You Refreeze Meat?
When it comes to freezing, thawing, and refreezing meat, it can be tricky. Meat is, unfortunately, a great breeding ground for bacteria.
If meat is not handled properly, it can go from being an item on the dinner menu to something only acceptable for the trash. What are the rules for refreezing meat?
If you have used the cold water method or the microwave method for defrosting your meat, it cannot be refrozen. The only time it is okay to refreeze meat is if you have chosen to thaw it in the fridge.
The best way to freeze meat is to place it in the freezer immediately after purchase. You can, however, leave it in the fridge for a few days and then decide to place it in the freezer.
There are also a few different ways to defrost your meat when you are ready to use it.
Defrosting In Cold Water
You can defrost your meat by placing it in cold water. It is best to leave it in the packaging when defrosting.
All you need is a bowl of cold water and your defrosting process has begun. Defrosting meat is best when you change out the cold water every half hour.
You can also use hot water to defrost your meat, however, the hot water could end up raising the temperature of the meat. If your meat reaches 40º, you run the risk of bacteria getting to your dinner first.
Cold water works best for defrosting your meat quickly and safely.
Defrosting In The Refrigerator
Your refrigerator is a great, safe place for your meat to defrost. The only time refrigerator defrosting becomes an issue is when you forget to place the meat in the fridge the day before.
If you are looking for a quick way to defrost your meat, the refrigerator is not an option. Defrosting your meat in the fridge can take almost 24 hours.
It is always best to place your meat in the fridge a day before you plan on using it.
Defrosting In The Microwave
You can use the microwave to defrost your meat as well. The microwave is not one of the preferred methods for defrosting.
You run the risk of starting to cook the meat while in the defrosting process. If you plan on cooking the meat shortly after the defrosting process, then it might be okay.
You run the risk of bacteria on your meat when you use the microwave to defrost and don’t plan on cooking the meat immediately afterward.
Next time you are looking for a quick meal to make ahead, choose pulled pork. If you plan on freezing pulled pork ahead of time, it is best to freeze it without any sauce.
You can then choose to reheat your dinner on the stove or in the oven for best results.