Pork is a very popular meat. It may not surprise you to learn that it is the most eaten meat in the world. After all, not only can you buy joints of pork, pork chops, and pork ribs, but sausages and bacon are widely consumed.
However, what do you do if you cook a joint of pork for your Sunday lunch and have more leftovers than you can use in the few days it will last in the fridge? The answer is simple. Freeze it. In this article, we will be looking at the safest way to freeze cooked pork (see also Can You Freeze Black Pudding?) and how to defrost it.
How To Freeze Cooked Pork
It isn’t difficult to prepare your cooked pork ready for freezing (see also How To Freeze Bratwurst). However, it isn’t the same as freezing uncooked pork. Cooked pork doesn’t last for as long as uncooked pork in the freezer so as long as you are aware of this, you will be fine. Just follow these simple steps.
1. Cool the pork
It is important to cool down the pork before you put it in the freezer. If you don’t, you may bring up the temperature in the freezer and other food may start to defrost and this can increase the chance of bacteria developing. However, you mustn’t leave your pork to cool down for longer than two hours on your countertop as bacteria may start to develop and you will be at risk of food poisoning. The best thing to do is to take the pork out of the tin it was cooked in as it will be hot. A cool tin will help to cool the meat down quicker.
2. Portion out the meat
If you have a lot of meat to freeze, you may want to portion it out. If you freeze a large piece of meat, you will have to use it within a few days as this is as long as it will keep in the fridge. Instead, cut it into slices.
3. Bag up the pork
The best thing to do is to first wrap the pork slices in cling film. This will help stop air from getting to the meat (see also ‘Can You Freeze Pate?‘). Then put it into a freezer bag and again squeeze out all the air. If air gets to your pork, it will get freezer burn and will lose flavor and texture. Put a label on the bag so that you know what date you put it in the freezer. You don’t want to keep it in the freezer for longer than its use-by date. In addition, you might want to write the name of the meat on the label just in case you freeze lots of different meats. You might not be able to see the meat through the bag and cling film.
Tips For Freezing Cooked Pork
- Make sure that the pork is cold when you put it in the freezer.
- Ensure that there is no air in the freezer bag to stop freezer burn.
- Slice the pork before you freeze it so that you don’t defrost more pork than you need and end up wasting some.
- If you want to keep your pork in the freezer for up to six months, you can’t freeze cooked pork as it only lasts for three months. The best thing to do in this case is to cut your joint of pork before cooking and freezing what you don’t need.
- The taste will change a little when cooked pork is frozen so be aware that it might not be as tasty as when you first ate it. If you think that you can eat the cooked pork within a few days, then store it in the fridge. The taste will barely change.
- Remove any bones from the cooked pork. They may pierce the cling film and freezer bag and then air will get in and freezer burn may occur.
For How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Pork?
Cooked pork can be frozen for up to three months. If you want to keep pork in the freezer for longer, freeze raw pork. Meat is always a dodgy item of food to deal with when freezing and defrosting as bacteria can form if it is left at room temperature for longer than two hours so be careful.
How Do You Defrost Cooked Pork?
Don’t defrost cooked pork on your countertop at room temperature. The outside of your pork may look defrosted but the inside could still be frozen. You could be in danger of not cooking your meat thoroughly if you think that it is all defrosted. On the other hand, you might decide to check that the inside is defrosted and if it isn’t, leave it out for longer than you should. Then, of course, bacteria can develop. The safest method is to put the cooked pork in the fridge and leave it to defrost slowly overnight. It needs to defrost at a temperature of no more than 40F. Put it in a bowl on the bottom shelf of the fridge so that there aren’t any drips that can contaminate other food.
Can You Refreeze Cooked Pork?
If you haven’t recooked the cooked pork, you can refreeze it again. However, taste and texture can be compromised due to the loss of moisture by constant freezing and defrosting. However, be careful and check that there are no signs that the meat has gone off. If it looks a bit dodgy, it is safer to throw it away. This is a waste so we recommend that you freeze your cooked pork in meal-size servings.
Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Cooked Pork?
There isn’t a problem freezing cooked pork as long as you follow our guidelines. Just remember that it lasts for up to three months in the freezer. Label the bag so you remember when you put it in the freezer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Perhaps you would like to know more about freezing cooked pork. If so, we have answered a few questions here.
What dishes can I make with defrosted cooked pork?
If you don’t want to eat it as it is, make a pork stroganoff, a jambalaya, a pork and spaghetti casserole, a pork and potato hash, pork enchiladas, or pork chop suey.
Can you freeze any part of the pig?
Yes, any cut of pork will freeze equally well. If you have made gammon (see also article titled ‘Can You Freeze Gammon?‘), this will freeze as will pork shoulder, pork chops, and bacon. Just follow our instructions.
Can you freeze pork sausages?
If you have an unopened pack of sausages (See also article of freezing hot dogs), you can just put this straight in the freezer, but remember to put a label on with the date frozen. If you have cooked pork sausages (see also ‘Can you Freeze Sausages?‘) or uncooked pork sausages from a packet that has been opened, you can freeze them. They will need to be put in thick freezer bags with the air squeezed out to avoid freezer burn.