How Long Does Pulled Pork Last? Can It Go Bad?
One of the most delicious pork dishes is pulled pork. If you’ve never had the chance to taste it, you should try some. It is called pulled pork because it is pulled apart into strips after being cooked slowly in low heat.
It is often prepared in conjunction with barbecue sauce, making it one of the most flavorful dishes you can enjoy.
One interesting thing about this kind of pork is that it gets better in the few days after it is prepared. The seasonings get more time to seep into the meat and make it even more delicious.
However, you must be wondering how long after preparing some pulled pork, can you still eat it? Does the pork need to be eaten sooner than other meats, or can you get it to stay edible for a week or months if you refrigerate or freeze it?
Well, you’re in luck because we are about to find out.
All these are valid questions where the answers depend on how you store and reheat the pulled pork. It is not a complicated process, meaning that these simple instructions will be easy to follow when you want to reuse or reheat.
The leftovers are usually another thing to worry about, but we will cover all that.
You Will Probably Have to Save Some For Later
There are several cooking styles for pork all over the country. Some prefer to mix it with salsa and roll it up in a tortilla; others smoke their meats while others slather it in barbecue sauce and prepare it over an electric smoker.
At the end of it all, what you are looking for, is a way to keep the leftover pulled pork so that you can enjoy it later.
Out of one cut, you can get a lot of pulled pork, and unless you have many mouths to feed at the time, you will probably have some leftover, and you will need to store it properly for later.
If you do this correctly, the best part is the pork will stay fresh as it was when you cooked it for a considerable amount of time.
We will cover how to store the meats and how long they can stay in storage before they are no longer safe to eat.
How Long Can Pulled Pork Last When Stored?
We took some advice from the people who know more about this than we do. The Food Safety and Inspection Service says that cooked meat can be stored in the fridge and, specifically, the cooling compartment.
It will stay there for 3-4 days at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The thing is, the period is not the same for all kinds of meat. The fridge quality is a factor as well. Not all fridges have the same power or level of refrigeration.
If you have pulled pork that has been cooked by smoking, you will have a longer storage time, lasting for a few more days than what the Food Safety and Inspection Service says.
When the meat is smoked, it releases nitrates and nitrites, which can preserve the meat.
Let’s Examine The Storage of Pulled Pork Leftovers
There are many container types for you to choose from when it comes to storing leftover pulled pork. No matter what type of container you choose, there is one target you should always aim for.
The containers have to keep air out. They have to be airtight to make sure that nothing gets in. The air contains bacteria that can start to grow into the meat and ruin it in a shorter time. If you can keep the air out, the pulled pork will keep for longer.
The best choice for storing your leftover pulled pork has got to be a Ziploc bag. These kinds of bags have a zipper or sealing top that allow for airtight conditions. If there are plastic lunchboxes in your kitchen, you can use them too, as long as you know that they will not let air in.
You could go with plastic boxes, Ziploc bags, or aluminum foil. The foil is a great choice, but it has some shortcomings. However, it should not be used alone because it can create gaps and cause a mess if you do not wrap them properly.
Even with it, you should keep the wrapped meat inside another tighter container. So, you can start by wrapping the meat and then put it in a container.
If you plan to eat the leftovers two or three days in a row to finish them, it would be a good idea to put them in three separate containers, so you do not have to touch or expose the rest to the air.
So, you will only touch what you know, you can finish eating.
If you want to store the pulled pork even longer, consider using a vacuum sealer. This useful little machine will allow you to remove all of the air from the package before sealing it. The absence of air makes the meat stay fresh for longer.
How to Store Your Pulled Pork for Impeccable Results
Let’s take it from the top.
1. Please put it in bags.
Transfer your leftovers into a bag but do not fill them up to the top. Leave some room of about 1-2 inches. The food expands when frozen, and you do not want it to burst the bag.
Ensure that the bags are sealed completely to ensure no leakages. For even better monitoring of how long the pork can keep, write down the date you cooked the food on the side of the bags, or leave yourself a note stuck to the fridge.
2. Place the bags in the fridge.
Where you place the bags in the fridge will determine how long they will be fresh. You can put them in the cooling compartment or the other parts of the fridge. If you want even more longevity, put them in a freezer.
We will look at the exact times the pulled pork can stay in the paragraphs below.
As you place the bags in the freezer or fridge, ensure that you organize them properly. The best arrangement to go with is stacking them flatly on top of each other. It will save space.
Pro Tip: Depending on how well you store your meat, pulled pork can stay in a freezer for 3-4 months. Do not let it sit in there for that long. Eat it within a month or two to get it while the flavor is still there.
Reheating Leftover Pulled Pork
When you need to thaw out pork in a freezer, leave it inside a fridge overnight and then put it in cold water in the morning until it is unfrozen.
Pro Tip: Most of the time, when you are reheating leftover meat, ensure that you reheat it to about 165 degrees before eating it again.
If, after the thawing process, the meat is a little dry, feel free to simmer it in some broth or the original sauce you used to make it with. This process will not only make the meat juicy but also enhance the taste.
If you want to reheat the thawed pork quickly, you can put it in some of the sauce and then place it inside the oven. However, ovens do not heat things all too evenly. You will have to stir the pork to make sure that everything gets heated up.
This method is especially great for reaching temperatures of 250 degrees. The high temperature makes sure that the pork is properly cooked.
How Do You Know When The Pork Has Gone Bad?
The smell. It will be the first clue. Bad odors, no matter how faint, means that the meat has to go.
NOTE: Do not keep pork in your fridge for more than 2-3 days before you eat it, to be safe.
If you eat any spoiled pulled pork, it could poison you. In two to three days after eating the meat, you will have diarrhea, high fever, nausea, and digestive discomfort.
Sometimes, you can tell that it has gone bad just by looking at it. The visual examination is for things like mold. If you see even a tiny piece of mold, throw it away for the sake of your digestive health.
If you are thinking about cutting the moldy part and eating it anyway, abandon the thought. If the meat texture feels off, do not eat it. If you feel a slimy layer on the meat that wasn’t there before, that is a good indication the meat is spoiled.
Color changes are not good, either. If anything at all does not feel right, the pork needs to be put in the trash.
Does freezing pulled pork affect the flavor?
If the pork is left in the freezer too long, it could lose some taste, but it should be flavorful for a long time.
How long will frozen pork last?
We said you should eat pulled pork in less than three months of freezing. However, it can last 6-8 months in a freezer.
How long can pulled pork stay in the fridge?
3 to 4 days. You should eat it in less than three days, though, just to be safe.