Leftover pulled pork, a savory delight born from slow cooked pork butt slathered in barbecue sauce (bbq sauce) is a southern culinary gem! Ensuring that it lasts a long time in the fridge demands proper storage techniques. Let me show you how long can leftover pulled pork last in the fridge from it’s initial preparation to the final reheat. Every step of the way influences it’s shelf life and your yummy tummy experience!
How Long Does Cooked Pork Last in the Fridge
Pork Butt – The shoulder of the matter
Pulled porks journey begins with the pork butt, a cut renowned for its succulence. The slow cooking process breaks down the tough tissues rendering the meat tender and flavorful. However, this also makes the pork more susceptible to bacterial growth. This makes storage even more important!
Barbecue Sauce – The best companion!
Barbecue sauce, Pork Butts best friend is known for it’s sweetness and tanginess but it also has an impact on shelf life. The sugar content in the sauce can increase bacterial growth making it crucial to store leftovers carefully!
Air – An enemy!
Air is the enemy of preserving freshness! Too much air can increase spoilage and accelerate unpleasant changes in flavor and texture. To tackle this, the way you store your leftover pulled pork is paramount!
Containers – Choosing the right one!
Opting for an airtight container is important in maintaining quality. Whether you choose a plastic container a resealable freezer bag or a vacuum sealed pouch, ensuring a tight seal prevents air (the enemy) from compromising the leftover boston butt s integrity.
Room Temperature – a Risk
Leaving pulled pork at room temperature for extended periods creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. To avoid this danger zone, where bacteria multiply rapidly, refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly when they’ve cooled down.
Freezing Leftover Pork – A Wise Idea
Freezing pulled pork is one of the best ways to exend its shelf life. Whether you are using plastic wrap, freezer bags or a vacuum sealer, the key is to minimize air exposure. This ensures that after the pork freezes and thaws, it will retain it’s original flavors.
Shelf Life of Leftover pulled pork
The shelf life of leftover pulled pork varies depending on storage conditions. When refrigerated in an airtight container pulled pork can last up to 4 days. However, freezing can extend its lifespan greatly! It’s a great way to enjoy your favorite pork sandwich at a later date!
To increase shelf life, divide your leftover meat into smaller portions before freezing. This allows for quicker thawing and also reduces the risk of bacterial growth during reheating. Additonally, storing pulled pork with its cooking juices can enhance moisture retentioin.
Avoid Food Poisoning
Handling raw pork with care is essential. Care of the leftover meat is just as important. Always reheat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees to eliminate any potential bacteria. No matter the cooking methods you are using for your pork leftovers, microwave (in a microwave-safe dish) or conventional oven, heat to the usda guidelines required temp for food safety!
The Best Way to Reheat for Best Results
There are different ways to reheat pulled pork but our favorite ways are to reheat the cut of meat or leftover pulled pork in an aluminum roasting pan with a bit of chicken broth or apple juice to maintain moisture.
Vacuum sealing can be a game changer and can be considered the best option. By removing much of the air from the storage bag, a vacuum sealer significantly reduces the risk of freezer burn by maintaining meats quality over an extended period during the freezing process.
Look For Signs of Spoilage
Watch your leftovers for any signs of spoilage such as a bad smell, visible mold (white, yellow or green). If in doubt, throw it out!
Ways to Enjoy Leftover Pulled Pork
Leftover pulled pork opens the door to various culinary delights! By making pork tacos (mixing it with sour cream for a flavorful dip) or saving in individual portions for pulled pork sandwiches s is a great option for a delicious meal! In fact, you can use this meat in many leftover pork recipe s!
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- zip lock style
- Vacuum sealer and bags,
- Airtight container for the fridge
- Aluminum Foil
Here’s How You Do It
- Allow the pulled pork to come to room temperature.
- Place the pork and some of the excess fat and juices into the container
- Remove as much air from the zip type bag as possible OR cover the container with heavy duty aluminum foil and seal tightly.
- Place into the refrigerator and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
To Reheat the Pulled Pork
- Place the shredded pork and some of the solidified juices into a saucepan or into a microwave safe container.
- Heat on the stovetop over medium to medium high heat and add a bit of water to the saucepan. Heat until steaming. Alternatively, heat in the microwave on high heat in 30 second intervals until hot and heated through.
- Add extra bbq sauce as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Yes! Freeze in a freezer safe container, remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to 3 months.
Pulled pork will last about 5 days if kept covered in the fridge.
Tips and Tricks
- To thaw frozen pulled pork, place into the fridge the day before you plan to use or place the meat in the zip lock style bag into cool water in a large bowl.
- If you are using a large resealable freezer bag and there is extra room, be sure to remove any extra air from the bag by squeezing it out.
- Store your extra and leftover meat in a small portion so that you’ll have just the right amount of a pulled pork sandwich
Watch Me Make This Easy Pulled Pork
Can You Give Me a Hand
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Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork
- 5 lbs Pork Use Pork Shoulder or Boston Butt (check for other cuts using the same meat – country style ribs or butt steaks for example if you can't find shoulder/butt or if those are too big)
- 1 cup broth use water if you don't have broth or see notes below.
- 1 tsp kosher salt more for tasting at the end
- 1 tsp ground black pepper more for tasting at the end
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbs A-1 thick and hearty variety is best, but any will work
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke Optional
- 1 bottle Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce Optional
- Cut the pork into 2-3" even sized chunks and remove the meat from any bones that may be in the cut of meat.
- Place the meat and all of the other ingredients into the pressure cooker. (except bbq sauce, if you plan to add it)
- Place and secure the lid, set on high pressure and once the cooker reaches high pressure, cook for 25 minutes. Then allow a natural release.
- Remove the meat from the cooker and reserve the juices. Place the meat on a cutting board and shred with two forks. Put the meat into a serving dish and add back as much of the cooking liquids stirring it as you go. Add as much as it takes for the meat to be juicy.
- If you prefer pulled pork with a sauce, add the sauce while it is hot and stir. We like to add a bottle of sweet baby rays sauce at this point. Then add salt and pepper to taste.
- Although you remove the meat from the bones, add the bones into the pressure cooker because they add flavor to the meat as it cooks.
- Cut the meat into as even sized pieces as you can to allow for even cooking. I cut mine into chunks that fit in your hand.
- If you don’t have any broth but want that added pop of flavor, you can substitute a tsp of broth concentrate or a bouillon cube. If you do so, cut the salt in half and then taste at the end and add salt to taste.
- The fish sauce here is for umami (adds flavor), it doesn’t taste like fish and all you’ll notice is great flavor.
- If you prefer a chopped bbq instead of a shredded bbq, then chop instead of shredding at the end.
- You’ll want to serve your pressure cooker pulled pork with something with an acidic note like a good sharp coleslaw. It takes the edge off of the heavy meat.
- I don’t recommend using actual onions and garlic here and recommend the powder instead because it mixes in better and has a predictable taste per measurement.
- If your pressure cooker is larger than 5 quarts, add another 1/2 cup of water/broth.