Can You Really Freeze Leftover Pulled Pork?

Whether you enjoy pulled pork on a bun slathered with barbecue sauce, in a taco shell, or just by itself, it is amazingly delicious. However, no matter how you cook pulled pork, how much you love to eat it, or how you intend to serve it, chances are good that you'll end up with leftovers unless you plan to feed a crowd. 

The good news? Yes, you really can freeze your leftover pulled pork safely (via USDA). Unlike some foods that can change in texture after freezing, such as cooked eggs, yogurt, fried foods, and potatoes — which are some items you might be storing in your freezer that you shouldn't – freezing leftover pulled pork doesn't result in any dramatic texture or flavor degradation. That said, you will want to follow a few tips for the best results. Freeze your pulled pork as soon as possible after cooking it. Better still, don't serve the meat you intend to save for later. Instead, cool it, package it up, and freeze it right after cooking. Pack up some of the drippings, too, as the extra moisture will keep reheated pulled pork from turning out overly dry. Consider portioning the pulled pork you intend to save into smaller quantities before freezing, as this will help the pork cool and freeze faster — and it will thaw more quickly once you're ready to use it, too.

How to use leftover frozen pulled pork

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, once your leftover pulled pork is frozen, you can keep it safely in the freezer for up to three months. This compares to the mere days you could keep those leftovers in the fridge, as the USDA only recommends keeping cooked pork leftovers in the refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder for three to four days maximum.

When you're ready to eat your leftover pulled pork again, thaw it just like you would any frozen meat, raw or cooked. Safe thawing practices are important to prevent food poisoning. The USDA recommends only doing this in the fridge so frozen food thaws slowly over 24 hours. Once your pulled pork is fully thawed, you can reheat and eat it in any of your favorite pulled pork recipes. Try adding pulled pork atop french fries with other yummy toppings for pork-loaded fries. You can also make traditional pulled pork tacos or barbecue sandwiches for a quick weeknight meal. Or, add pulled pork to your favorite canned meatless chili for an easy canned chili upgrade.