It can be quite frustrating if you’ve prepared a tasty batch of pulled pork but could only manage to eat a portion of it. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to reuse pulled pork. That said, you’ve got to store it properly, and it won’t last forever.
Store leftover pulled pork in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. You can also freeze pulled pork for 3–6 months, but the sooner you eat it, the better it’ll taste. Always smell the meat and check its color before consuming it to make sure it’s still good.
As long as you’re careful about storing your leftover pulled pork, you should be able to enjoy it at a later point without issue. Let’s take a closer look at how to store it, how to tell if it’s gone bad, and some of the best ways to use leftover pulled pork.
How Long Does Pulled Pork Last in the Fridge?
Once you’ve finished cooking your pulled pork and eating your fill, let it cool down before putting it into the fridge. Putting hot or warm food in the fridge can strain the appliance.
When the pulled pork is cool, it should be placed in the fridge so that it’ll last as long as possible.
Cooked Pulled Pork
After the pork has been cooked, it can last up to four days in the fridge. Always smell the pork before consuming it to ensure it’s safe to eat.
If you think you won’t be able to consume the meat within a few days, you can freeze it to enjoy at a later date. Just make sure to defrost it thoroughly before enjoying it.
How Long Can You Store Raw Pork in the Fridge Before Cooking It?
It’s safe to refrigerate or freeze raw pork. In the fridge, it lasts three to four days before going bad.
To distinguish good pork from bad pork, check its smell and color. The smell will be easy to distinguish, and pork should be pink or a pearly, mauve shade if it’s still good to eat. Brown and gray patches indicate that the pork is starting to go bad.
If you need clarification on the smell and color, doing a finger test is a good idea. Fresh and ready-to-eat pork should feel moist and cool to the touch. If the pork feels sticky when you run your finger across it, this shows it isn’t good to eat.
If you’ve frozen your raw pork, let it defrost for one or two days until all of the ice has gone.
How Long Does Pulled Pork Last in the Freezer?
Those that have frozen their cooked pulled pork in the freezer should be aware there’s still a time limit on how long you should wait before consuming it.
To effectively freeze your pulled pork, pour the juices into a separate container and discard the fat that rises to the top. After that, place the pulled pork into an appropriate container.
It’s best to defrost and consume the frozen pulled pork within three months. However, storing and consuming it safely for up to six months is possible.
The sooner you eat it, the better it will taste. If you leave the meat in the freezer for more than six months, the texture may start to change.
How Long Can Pulled Pork Sit Out at Room Temperature
Pulled pork should only sit out for a short time at room temperature. Letting it completely cool before storing it in the fridge or freezer is recommended.
Leaving pulled pork out for two hours is the maximum timeframe. If you leave it out for more than two hours, it risks becoming contaminated with bacteria.
Tips for Storing Pulled Pork
It’s essential to store pulled pork correctly so that it stays fresh and doesn’t develop bacteria. The best ways to store pulled pork include:
Using Air-Tight Containers
The best way to store pulled pork in the fridge or freezer is to use air-tight containers like these ones (on Amazon). They will prevent moisture loss, keeping the food fresh and delicious for as long as possible.
If you don’t have any containers to use, you can also use plastic wrap. Make sure to wrap the pulled pork tightly with multiple layers to retain the moisture.
Signs Your Pork Has Gone Bad
It is easy to tell if your pork has gone bad, especially in its raw form. Here are some ways to check:
- Look for color changes. If your pork changes from pink, mauve, or pearly shades to brown or gray, it sadly means it’s going or has gone bad. Avoid eating pork that’s changed color.
- Check the smell. A strange smell will indicate that your pork has gone bad. An unpleasant smell means it will be unpleasant to eat.
- Look for changes in texture. Running your finger along the pork will help you determine if it’s good or bad. The pork should be moist and smooth. Any sticky or slimy residue means it’s going bad and shouldn’t be consumed.
What Happens If You Accidentally Eat Bad Pork?
Eating bad pork should be avoided. It can lead to a stomach illness called trichinosis. Trichinosis comes from consuming trichinella spiralis larvae that can develop on rotten pork.
Symptoms of this illness include vomiting, muscle pain, diarrhea, stomach pains, and weakness. Trichinosis should be treated with anti-parasitic drugs to alleviate the bacteria from your body.
If the illness and symptoms are left untreated, it can be fatal. Hence, seek medical attention if you think you’ve consumed bad pork or identify the symptoms.
How to Reheat Pulled Pork
Reheating pulled pork correctly will ensure you can avoid illness. Incorrect reheating could result in illness.
There are various options regarding how to reheat pulled pork:
- From frozen: If you want to consume pulled pork from frozen, you must defrost it first. Then, you can add the separated juices to a saucepan over low heat until defrosted. You can go ahead and reheat the pulled pork in the oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. When cooked, you can shred and mix in the juices.
- From the fridge: Those wanting to consume the pulled pork from the fridge can place it in a pan. Cover the pulled pork with aluminum foil to retain the heat and moisture. Cook it for around 30 minutes. A thermometer should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit to indicate it’s ready.
- Using a slow cooker: It is possible to reheat your pulled pork using a slow cooker. Set the cooker to ‘warm’ and cook the pulled pork for two to three hours.
- For faster reheating: Rest the pulled pork in a large saucepan and let it heat for 15 minutes over a low-medium setting for a quick reheating process.
- Speedy reheating: To reheat your pulled pork in the quickest time, you can use the microwave. Place the pulled pork meat and juices in the same microwavable container, add a loose cover, and reheat it one minute at a time for two to three minutes.
Ideas for Leftover Pulled Pork
As pulled pork is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes, there are many options to help you use your leftovers.
Pulled pork pairs excellently with tacos. Therefore, you could host a taco night and involve the entire family. If you have lots of pulled pork left over, this is the best option to eliminate it all.
Add the reheated pulled pork to soft or hard shell tacos, then follow with your favorite toppings.
Potato and Pork
Potato and pork is a great combination. You could make pulled pork and cheese fries, add pork to a baked potato, or enjoy it alongside roast potatoes.
Add your favorite sauces and toppings for a very tasty lunch or dinner.
Enhance Your Pasta Dishes
Adding pulled pork to pasta, macaroni, or penne is fantastic. If you love pasta and feel bored with your usual recipes, try using your leftover pulled pork.
Pork pairs well with cheese. Hence, if you enjoy cheesy pasta, use your pulled pork for these recipes as an alternative to your usual ingredient. Or, add it in for a bonus treat.
For a quick, tasty meal, add pulled pork to your sandwiches. If you live alone or make sandwiches for your family, everyone will be pleased with the newest sandwich filling.
You don’t need many ingredients to create an amazing sandwich when you add pulled pork. You’ll need a tasty sauce for a great texture and taste.
Alternatively, add the pulled pork as a replacement or addition to your burgers.
If you love making chili for the family, try using pulled pork instead of vegetarian or real meat. The flavor will be different — but very interesting and delicious nonetheless.
Combine the pulled pork with a delicious sauce, juice, beans, and vegetables. Serve it alongside rice for a filling and delicious meal. Chili is a family favorite, so it’s guaranteed to satisfy everyone.
Those who enjoy salads and feel bored with their usual tuna, chicken, or tofu mix could enhance their meal by switching out their usual protein for pulled pork.
Again, add the leftover juices and a sauce to create an incredibly irresistible flavor.
Rice is a great addition to salads for extra fullness, and it also pairs well with pork. Don’t hesitate to create homemade burrito bowls at home. You can take these to work or make them for dinner for an ultimate homely meal.